04/11/2017, 18.11
BANGLADESH
Send to a friend

Hundreds of Santal Christians from Gaibandha still displaced after five months

by Sumon Corraya

On 6 April, thousands of Catholics marched in solidarity with tribal Santal. Last November, the latter were attacked by police and Muslims who set fire to their homes. At present, about 250 Christian families are still living in tents, in conditions of extreme need and in fear of attack.

Gaibandha (AsiaNews) – Five months after their land was taken, Santal Christians are still displaced, threatened by Muslims.

Speaking to AsiaNews, some note that back in November, they were chased off their land in Gaibandha district (north-western Bangladesh) after a clash with police.

"At least 250 families are living in tents,” said Fr Samson Marandy, a tribal parish priest in Mariampur. “The rains have arrived causing huge problems. Many are leaving for other places in search of work. The community is in a situation of extreme need."

Everything began on 6 November 2016, when police and local Muslims attacked Christians, mostly ethnic Santal Catholics, over a land dispute.

The clash resulted in the deaths of three Christians and the wounding of about 30 people, including nine police officers.

Witnesses said that police had arrest warrants for 300 Santal, who fled to avoid jail. Others tried to defend themselves with bows and arrows, injuring some agents. Their houses were ransacked and looted.

The clergyman reports that attack survivors are "living in extreme conditions, and are in need of legal support and a safe haven. Our people are determined to regain their land. I am on their side. "

Along with Santal, thousands of Catholics took to the streets on 6 April in a show of solidarity. They want an investigation into the attack.

"We see no improvement. Tribals are forced to live in the open,” said Mathies Marandy, general secretary of the Adabashi (Tribal) Federation.

Christians also complain that whilst they are not allowed to get back their legitimate possessions, those who incited the Muslims are still at large. After five months, even the policemen responsible for torching their homes have not been identified.

"We are afraid even to go out because the Bangladeshis are threatening us,” said Nirmol Murmu, one of the victims. “We dare not even go to the local market."

Send to a friend
Printable version
CLOSE X
See also
Card Ranjith tells the government not to exploit the Muthurajawela wetlands
09/11/2021 14:52
Muslims fire at Christians in Burewala to seize their lands
04/11/2021 17:17
Muslims level Christian graves with tractors in Sialkot
22/10/2021 15:00
Land mismanagement continues to produce hunger
19/10/2021 12:53
On Mindanao the Manobo remember Fr Tentorio 10 years after his murder
16/10/2021 14:11


Newsletter

Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”