12/10/2015, 00.00
BANGLADESH
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Dhaka, brutal attack on Catholic brothers leaves them fighting for life

by Sumon Corraya
Rajesh D 'Cruze is a banker and his brother Ranjan D' Cruze works at a private company. They were attacked by more than five unidentified thugs. The dynamics of the attack reminiscent of the one against Fr. Piero Parolari, with gun and knife. Christian leader: "We have been victim of attacks for too long. We demand justice and security from the government".

Dhaka (AsiaNews) - Today, two Catholic brothers were seriously injured in the capital of Bangladesh. Rajesh D 'Cruze, a banker, and Ranjan D' Cruze, an employee in a private company are currently being treated in Dhaka Medical College Hospital but their conditions are described as grave.

Nirmal Rozario, general secretary of the Bangladesh Christian Association (BCA), told AsiaNews: "We unreservedly condemn this heinous attack and demand immediate action against the culprits."

The dynamics of the attack is not yet clear, but closely resemble the attempted murder of Fr. Piero Parolari, the PIME missionary priest (Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions) attacked in recent weeks by still unidentified criminals. The two Catholics were in Arjotpara, in the Mohakhli, one of the most crowded areas of the capital home to offices, shops and institutional sites.

According to preliminary reports, they were approached at about 12 (local time) by more than five assailants, who savagely attacked them with guns and knives.

Some Christian leaders have visited them in the hospital and expressed total condemnation. Rozario adds: "Their health condition is critical. Please pray for them. "

The secretary of BCA reports that "this year there have been numerous incidents of violence against Christians. We want a just punishment for those who committed this crime. We also urge the government to ensure justice and security for all ".

In recent weeks several Christians have been threatened with death in a series of letters and text messages to targets, "guilty" of being foreign or "preachers of the Gospel in Bangladesh". The threats say the intended victims should "eat until they can", because soon they "will be killed."

Catholic sources tell AsiaNews that the tension is due to a power struggle going on between the ruling party and the opposition forces, particularly Islamic radicals.The country is governed by the Bangladesh Awami League [secular nationalist party - ed] led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Since being re-elected to lead the country in January 2014, Hasina is trying to boost economic growth and encourage a secular, democratic society. At the same time, several members of her party are under investigation for crimes of corruption and abuse of office.

Analysts also point to the attempt to marginalize the opposition, both the Bangladesh Nationalist Party that the most radical Islamic group, the Jamaat-e-Islami.

Recently, the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence for a high profile member of the opposition, accused of committing war crimes during the Indo-Pakistani conflict in 1971. The government supporters took to the streets to celebrate the verdict, but the opposition objected to the "political motives" for the execution.

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