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Under attack

In the wake of fresh attacks against the minority Hindu community in Bangladesh, New Delhi has raised serious concerns over their safety and security. External Affair Minister Sushma Swaraj reached out to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to convey India’s concerns. Reports indicate that unidentified miscreants set ablaze houses of some of them and damaged two temples in central Brahmanbarhia district a few days ago. This concerted effort towards intimidating the minority community came after a Facebook post deemed offensive to Islam sparked outrage in the country. 

As per local news publications, Bangladesh's National Human Rights Commission had said the attacks on several Hindu temples in Bangladesh were carried out under a well-orchestrated plan aimed at grabbing the lands of the minority community. This is a most unfortunate turn of events. It has angered both New Delhi and broad segments of the Indian liberal intelligentsia. Back in June, a Hindu ashram worker was hacked to death by unidentified assailants, while he was on his regular morning walk in Pabna district, Bangladesh. The ashram worker’s death was part of a string of attacks targeting religious minorities in the past year. The IS claimed responsibility for the priest’s murder. Some among the Indian liberal intelligentsia have accused the Sheikh Hasina’s secular government of pandering to Muslim communalism and anti-minority sentiment, instead of defending those most vulnerable. But the Bangladesh government has taken stringent action against Islamic terror groups and their affiliates. 

Authorities have also denied rumours that the Hindu community in central Brahmanbarhia district is now considering moving to India to save their lives. “The basic conflict in Bangladesh is between modernism and Islamism,” says Saeed Naqvi, a veteran Indian journalist. “Bunched together as Jamaat-e-Islami and BNP, the Islamists constitute about 30 percent of the country living in an 'Islamic' past, divorced from the magic of its syncretism.” There is an insidious intent behind these attacks on secular writers and bloggers, according to Naqvi. “Macabre attacks on soft targets in Bangladesh have multiple purposes: they discredit the Hasina government, intimidate liberals, the anti-Jamaat e Islami masses,” he said.
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