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  • » 11/11/2015, 00.00

    BANGLADESH

    Dinajpur, new attacks on Christians: family flees burning home

    Sumon Corraya

    A group of Muslims attempted to burn an entire Christian family, accused of witchcraft. A victim: "We lost everything, we live in absolute poverty. If we do not withdraw the complaint the consequences will be worse". In recent weeks many attacks on Christian-owned properties: the real intent is land expropriation.

    Panchagarh (AsiaNews) - A group of 6 or 7 Muslims attempted to burn members of a Christian family in their home in the village of Kamarpara, in the district of Panchagarh, in the north of the country accusing them of "witchcraft".

    The incident happened on November 5, in a house in the parish of Ruhea. Ramni Das, one of the victims, said: "It was midnight when we heard the noise of the fire and the smell of smoke. Luckily we managed to escape from the house. We lost everything, there is nothing left in our house, everything was burned. Now - he adds in tears - we are in absolute poverty”.

    It is not the first time that such incidents happen in Kamarpara. A year ago, an Islamist group accused Christians of carrying out magic rites and endangering people. This is why some Christian homes were attacked. According Ramni Das, the real reason for attacks against Christians is an attempt to take possession of their lands. In fact, in recent weeks, attacks on Christian families that have forced them to flee their homes have increased in Bangladesh.

    After the attack, says Ramni, "we asked for justice, but now we live in the police station, threatened because we made a complaint. Being a Christian leaves us weak and vulnerable". The complaint is against seven people, but the police have not made any arrests.

    Usually, the victims of the attacks are very poor families. "We live in fear - says the man - and we believe that unless we withdraw the charge of arson against the Muslims, we will face even more dire consequences. We want to sit down with the Muslims and find a peaceful solution".

    Fr. Anthony Sen, pastor of Ruhea, declares: "I am shocked by the brutal attack on peaceful people. The Muslims wanted to burn them! This is a serious offense. I would like a peaceful solution and security for my people".

    Abul Hossain, head of the local government, says he wants to "sit down with the two groups soon and I hope that the situation will return to normal." He added that he does not want to resolve the issue through trial, so that Christians, Muslims and even Hindus can live in peace in the future, without consequences.

    About 6 thousand Catholics live in the parish of Ruhea and 300 live in the village of Kamarpara.
    Bangladesh has a population of 152 million inhabitants and isMuslim majority (89.8%). The Christian community (0.2% of the population) and Hindu (9.1%) are subject to numerous attacks and to expropriation of land. Experts point out that the reason is not so much religious as economic.

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    See also

    26/10/2009 BANGLADESH
    Pressure on Catholic family to rob them of house and property
    Muslim groups have shot at the house and have built a wall to expropriate the land, while the police fails to intervene. "Allah Akbar" in place of the cross. Other Christian families have had to leave the area.

    17/04/2015 BANGLADESH
    Bishop of Sylhet: Protection for tribal Catholics, victims of expropriation and threats
    At Easter a village inhabited by Khasia suffered a heavy attack from a group of Muslims. The real aim of the aggression was to force the community to abandon the local tea plantation, of which it has legal usufruct. The pastor: "We live in fear."

    11/07/2014 BANGLADESH
    12 Muslims arrested from group that attacked the church of Boldipukur
    The robbers were after documents pertaining to land ownership. Not the first attempt to steal the deeds. The parishioners are mostly tribal, very poor and poorly educated and often Muslims try to take over their lands. During the attack, three PIME nuns suffered attempted rape.

    29/10/2009 INDONESIA
    Jakarta, more violence against students of Christian theology
    The police chased the students of Setia from the temporary seat set up in former town hall in West Jakarta. A group of students and teachers is under investigation, five arrested. In July 2008 a Muslim mob had attacked their school, forcing the students to flee. The Christian building wanted by a construction company.

    07/11/2014 BANGLADESH
    Bangladesh, Islamic extremists attack Protestant school: students and teachers injured
    The incident happened in the district of Gazipur. Muslim radical leaders spread rumors that the institution “forces” students to convert to Christianity.



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