05/01/2021, 14.13
BANGLADESH
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Some Muslims want the land of a Christian family, so they attack, loot property and destroy

by Sumon Corraya

The incident took place in Sarakdanga, a village near Naogaon. The victims’ home was destroyed, their food and valuables stolen, and both parents and children beaten. The attackers are from the same village and want to seize the Christians’ land. Despite a complaint, the police have not yet arrested anyone. The parish priest met with the victims and wanted to meet the attackers as well, but they fled.

Naogaon (AsiaNews) – A Christian family has been attacked and their home destroyed after a group of Muslims stormed it in order to seize their farmland.

The incident took place on 24 April in Sarakdanga, a village near Naogaon, and the family is now living in fear.

The attackers are from the same village which is home to only two Christian families. Everybody else is  Muslim. The two Christian families are members of Chandpukur parish.

Salina Baska, one of the victims (picture 1), filed a complaint against the attackers, but the police refused to help her. Instead, they asked the victims for money. So far no one has been arrested in connection with the incident.

“Muslims destroyed our mud house (picture 2),” said the 38-year-old ethnic Santal. “They stole our tin roof, took the rice, food, everything of value. They also beat me and my husband with a stick, even my children.”

Her family has been living on land that belonged to her ancestors. But the attackers bought land next to them and now want to take over their neighbours’ land.

“Being Christian and a minority is a problem,” she explained. “If Muslims want to, they can take over our land, occupy it quickly and easily. But let us not lose hope. We shall fight to keep our land.”

The attackers now have made threats against Salina Baska demanding she withdraw her complaint.

The parish priest of Chandpukur, Fr Belisario Ciro Montoya, a Colombian associated with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), told AsiaNews that his parishioners in Sarakdanga are terrified.

“There are only two Christian families in that village,” he said. “They have valid property documents, but those Muslims want to seize their land illegally. It's an injustice.”

“I asked local authorities that they be guaranteed safety and that their home be repaired and that they be given compensation for damages.”

The priest, who is putting together a file with information and documents, visited the family. He would have liked to have met the attackers as well, but they fled.

Catholics in Chandpukur are tribal people. Most of them are very poor. They are often victimised by  majority Muslims because of their faith and in connection with land disputes.

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