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    » 08/01/2014, 00.00


    Tensions high in Boldipukur: Mission threatened

    Nozrul Islam

    Unknown assailants warn the parish to withdraw the complaint filed after the attack on the church and the convent. The violence was not over money or an attack "in hatred of the faith." "It is likely - say local sources - that it was an attempt to intimidate nuns and priests and convince them to close a legal dispute over land ownership"

    Dhaka (AsiaNews) - There is still tension in Boldipukur (Dinajpur) after the attack on the Catholic church and convent, which took place on July 6. The mission, where there are also some Missionaries of the Immaculate (a congregation of women religious associated with PIME), has received threats to withdraw the complaint against unknown persons and against some people already arrested by the police.

    In the attack - which took place in the middle of the night - the attackers stole various items of value and deeds of land ownership. Three sisters were beaten and suffered an attempted rape.

    According to members of the local Church, the assault on the Boldipukur mission is not over money (theft), nor an attack "in hatred of the faith." Rather, it is an attempt to intimidate nuns and members of the parish, to persuade them to close an ongoing legal dispute relating to land next to St Mary's Primary School Adibashi, run by the Missionaries of the Immaculate Conception.

    The High Court had ruled in favor of the mission, but when in 2010 the parish tried to take possession of the land it result in a physical confrontation between Bengali Muslims and tribal Christians, which resulted in 50 injuries and new tensions in the area. This brought the case back to court.

    Recently, the parish had asked for permission to expand the school, and had even bought bricks. This may have caused the violent reaction took place on 6 July.

    The religious factor is thus not the main cause, but it is not entirely alien to it either. Local community members say it "fans the flames". Disputes that have occurred over the years have also involved a madrassa (Islamic school) and a mosque, and Muslims have often pointed to the fact that their opponents are "tribal Christians", accusing them of wanting them to dominate and endanger the community.


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    See also

    18/07/2014 BANGLADESH
    Dhaka: Christians, Muslims and Hindus together against the attack on Boldipukur church
    About 60 people attend event organized by two human rights associations. There were also some Missionaries of the Immaculate, who suffered an attempted rape in the assault. The Provincial Superior: "We want a peaceful solution and justice."

    12/04/2010 BANGLADESH
    Dhaka: Christian and Muslim volunteers helping street kids
    A local priest and an Italian missionary start a project to help poor street kids by training locals, including street kids. Muslim woman says Brother Lucio, a PIME missionary, is a “model for my daughter”. Catholic teacher says that working for the children is like “loving Christ”.

    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.

    04/05/2010 BANGLADESH
    Bengal the "white man's grave": the fruits of mission
    Evangelization in East Bengal by the missionaries of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions ongoing for more than 155 years. The Church of Bangladesh is a vibrant one in constant contact with tribal and Muslims, in the midst of poverty and overpopulation. The latest work of Fr Piero Gheddo.

    26/06/2009 BANGLADESH
    Fr. Paul Ballan, the dialogue of charity with Muslims
    The PIME missionary arrived in Dhaka in 2005. In his parish they operate a shelter for the poor and an elementary school. They are places of encounter and dialogue with the Muslim majority population, but also "a school of prayer and love for the parishioners."

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