04/22/2014, 00.00
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Dhaka: arson razes home of Catholic family

by Sumon Corraya
No one was at home at the time of the fire. In 2008, the family left the village after a 14-year-old granddaughter was raped and murdered by a group of young Muslims. The owner of the house says he is "living in fear."

Gazipur (AsiaNews) - Last night, an arson attack destroyed the home of a Catholic family in the village of Bhajati South, in Gazipur District. The village is part of Tumilia Parish, in the Archdiocese of Dhaka.

The fire started at about half past midnight. Fortunately, no one was present. The house belongs to Albert D'Silva, a Catholic living in the United States who recently returned to Bangladesh.

He is now staying in the capital Dhaka. His brother is called Sydney D'Silva. And the family told AsiaNews that they were "living in fear."

"We do not know who it was," Albert said, "but we demand justice and protection. We are being targeted again."

In 2008, the D'Souza family was hit by a major tragedy, forcing its members to leave the country.

On 30 May of that year, a granddaughter of Albert, Bituny Asru, 14, was raped and poisoned by some young Muslims who killed her when she was in hospital.

On 1 March, another Catholic family lost their home to arson in the same diocese. After almost two months, the police have not yet identified the perpetrators.

According to Nirmol Rozario, general secretary of the Bangladesh Christian Association (BCA), "it is very sad that fire struck twice in the same year and in the same area. We want a proper investigation and exemplary punishment for the culprits."

Christians are a minority in Bangladesh. They are only 0.4 per cent in a population of more than 164 million people, mostly Muslim.

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