01/09/2014, 00.00
BANGLADESH

Bangladesh Islamists attack Catholics who "dared" to vote: several injured

Sumon Corraya
The Islamic extremists wanted to punish the community of the Diocese of Mymensigh who, despite the threats, went to the polls for the general election. The brother of Bishop Paul Ponen Kubi among the victims. The local Caritas gives medical and legal assistance to the assaulted .

Dhaka (AsiaNews ) - A group of Islamist fanatics has attacked the Catholic community in Jamalpur district, " guilty" of having voted in the parliamentary elections on 5 January. Eight people were injured in the attack: three are hospitalized in serious condition at the Dhaka Medical Institute. Among these was the older brother of Msgr. Paul Ponen Kubi , bishop of the Diocese of Mymensigh .

Theophilus Nokrek , regional director of the diocesan Caritas , told AsiaNews : " The attack was launched against the Adivasi of Garo ethnicity , who decided to vote despite the extremists threats. Their houses were set on fire and the assailants promised to return, burn what is left and take the lands of the tribe. Sonendra Kubi , the bishop's brother, is in a serious condition.  His wife was injured in the attack . "

At the moment, Caritas and the diocese are assisting the wounded: "We want to be assured that justice is done- concludes Nokrek - and for that we are also seeking legal help at least in the initial stages of the investigation. Please pray for the victims".

The extremists also attacked the parish of Baromari , in the district of Sherpur . The faithful of the area live in fear: five of them were injured, one was hospitalized for tests. Polas Rema , a young Catholic in the area, said: " The government needs to stop this terrorism against adivasi minorities and against religious minorities ." Xavier Sku adds: "The minorities are still victims in a political game. But the situation will get worse day after day, if we do not obtain justice."

The outgoing governing party the Awami League won the January 5th elections by a landslide majority. The result was a foregone conclusion, given that the opposition and the Bangladesh National Party had announced that it would boycott the polls. About 20% of the population participated in the vote, compared to 70 % in 2008. At least 25 people have died the violence unleashed during the vote.

 

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