04/11/2016, 16.37
BANGLADESH
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Wife of Protestant minister raped to seize their land

by Sumon Corraya

The victim was attacked in her own home. Her screams attracted the attention of her husband, who prevented her murder. The four rapists are local thugs, well-known land grabbers. Police refuse to file the case until after local elections (not scheduled for many months). For Catholic activist, "This is totally immoral.” For her, police “are working for the criminals and violating human rights.”

Khagrachhari (AsiaNews) – The wife of Rev Sushil Jibon Talukdar was raped by four known land grabbers. As a result of her screams, the clergyman was able to rush to the scene and prevent her murder.

The attack took place in the victim’s home in the village of Boronala, Khagrachhari district, a hilly area in ​​south-eastern Bangladesh. When her husband went to file a report at the Mahalchori police station, they “refused to register the case against the rapists,” he told AsiaNews. Instead, “They told us that they would do something only after the local government elections.*

The attack took place last Friday (8 April). The victim was alone at home when four men broke in and raped her.

Her husband, who was working in nearby fields with other people, said that he “arrived just in time. The four brutes were attacking my wife and trying to kill her. But we heard her cries and saved her. Her clothes were all torn up."

The couple are members of Immanuel Baptist Church (Protestant) in Boronala to which they converted in 2002.

"We just want justice for my beloved wife,” said the pastor, who informed local Church leaders and some activists. He and his wife have also received death threats.

Rosaline Costa, a Catholic activist, offered help to the victim. "I strongly condemn the attack and rape,” she told AsiaNews. “As members of a minority, they have become victims.”

“The police refused to file the complaint, saying that they would consult the victim after local elections, months from now. That is totally unethical.”

In so doing, they “are working for the criminals and violating human rights. I condemn the attitude of the local police".

Violence against Bangladesh’s Christian community has been increasing. In a country of 152 million people with a Muslim majority (89.8 per cent), Christians represent only 0.2 per cent of the population. Hindus are 9.1 per cent. Both have been the subject of various attacks and land grabs.

Experts point out that the reason is not so much religious as economic. Given the high cost of land, some resort to grabbing land by various means from minorities to avoid paying the full price.

* Union Councils (or Union Parishads) are the lowest rural administrative government level in Bangladesh.

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