Comemorating attack on Banirchor Church, Catholics demand justice
by Sumon Corraya

June 3 was the 20th anniversary of the bombing of the church of the Most Holy Redeemer which killed 10 and wounded over 50. "It's been 20 years, but we still have not obtained justice. We express anger, dissatisfaction and anxiety."

Gopalgonj (AsiaNews) - June 3 marks the 20th anniversary of the bombing of the Most Holy Redeemer Church in the parish of Baniarchor in Gopalgonj, in southern Bangladesh. Observing the anniversary, hundreds of Baniarchor faithful attended the commemoration and prayer service in the church. Twenty years ago, on that day, while Catholics were taking part in Sunday mass, a sudden explosion left 10 people dead and over 50 injured.

The police made it known that the Islamist group Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami Bangladesh had carried out the attack, but did not submit a report. Additionally, 22 detectives were changed in this lawsuit.

The Italian Xaverian missionary Fr. Mimmo Dominico Pietanza was the parish priest, his case was closed after he was killed. Local secular leader Peter Boiragi has filed a lawsuit.

Yesterday Fr Jerom Rinku Gomes, a local priest from the diocese of Barisal that covers the area, told AsiaNews that the police are not yet able to complete the investigation and provide charges on this matter. This creates concern for the faithful of the minority in this country that they will not obtain justice.

"We ask the government to judge quickly in this case," he said. Even secular leaders have called for justice in the worst attack on the Church in the country. "It has been 20 years, but we have not obtained justice. We express anger, dissatisfaction and anxiety. We strongly demand justice for the attack on the Banirchor church," said Nirmol Rozario.

The families of the victims have not forgotten and await a ruling to bring closure and justice for their loved ones. One of the Shuk, Ranjan Haldar, lost his young son Sumon Haldar. "On June 3, 2001, during mass, we heard the roar of the bomb; I went ahead and saw the bloodied body of my beloved son. He died instantly. I count the days for justice. I still have not obtained justice", Explained Shuk Ranjan Haldar.

Arup Biswas lost his father Sotis Biswas in the attack. Sadly he recalled: "When I was a child, I lost my father. Now I can't remember him. Without a father, I have grown up in poverty. I want no one to lose their parents in childhood like me." He also demanded justice for the killing of his father.

Bangladesh is a Muslim majority country with 166 million people, 0.4% are Christians. The minority is often the subject of persecution by the majority.