» 03/03/2014, 00.00
Home of Catholic family torched in Bangladesh
The perpetrators are unknown, but the local community point to Islamic extremists. However, the attack could be the result of a general climate of insecurity that now exists in the country. Family safe: mother, two children and grandmother.
Dhaka (AsiaNews ) - An arson
attack has destroyed the home of a Catholic family in the village of
Goualliapara, belonging to the parish of Dharenda ( Diocese of Dhaka) . The incident
occurred on the night of March 1 last. The
four people present - including two children - were able to escape and get to
police have opened an investigation, but the culprits have not yet been
to residents of the area, they could be Islamic fundamentalists. However,
the motive of land issues, the source of conflict in many parts of Bangladesh,
has not been excluded.
house was home to Shipra Palma, her two children and mother-in-law. Her husband,
Ben Gomes, emigrated abroad in search of work. Her father died six months ago. "Three
days before the fire - the woman tells AsiaNews
- we saw some people unknown to us behind our house. They asked around if we
were Christians. We feel that this attack was premeditated by them. We have
lost in everything,
including our Bible and the crucifix. All we have left are the cloths on our
Rozario, general secretary of the Bangladesh
Christian Association , belongs to the same parish of the victims and immediately
went to the site as soon as he heard the news. He
told AsiaNews : "The two rooms
of the house were destroyed in less than eight minutes. The attackers may have
used gunpowder to light the fire. We demand an exemplary punishment for those
involved in this incident. We just want to live in peace".
Kamal Corraya , parish priest of St Joseph's Church in Dharenda , visited the
site along with a police officer. "We
are very shocked about what happened.
This is an attack against the minority, and could be the hands of
Islamic extremists. They are very powerful in the area".
several months now cases of theft, violence and vandalism of various kinds are a
daily occurrence in Bangladesh, which threaten
public safety and public order. In
this context the arson attack in Goualliapara could be the result of such a
climate, rather than a real attack on a religious basis. Further
proof of this is another conflict, which broke out in the village of
Shindurhata (Dinajpur) yesterday. Here
the Christian community is at the center of clashes with the Bengali Muslim
community, over land issues, a
long-standing problem in the country.
Fr. Ujjol Rozario, parish priest of the area, is trying to resolve the
situation in a peaceful manner, with the help of the police and local
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.
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