Saturday, May 3, 2014

Investigative Report Bangladesh Minority Watch by Advocate Rabindra Ghosh

Zemira Eli Natan
Executive Director
International Unity for Freedom and Equality

-----IUFE UPDATE-----

IUFE Thanks Advocate Rabindra Ghosh for this update on issues occurring in Bangladesh. His expereince speaks for itself and we congratulate him on very successful meetings in Europe.  Advocate Rabindra Ghosh has advised IUFE that the meetings were very production as to bringing awareness of the very serious issuse that are currently confronting the Hindu communities in Bangladesh. We are seeing an increasing number of very serious Temple Destruction and community destruction occurring in Bangladesh.  This is becoming too widespread for  us to ignore!  Action is demanded by all Human Rights Organizations and Governments responsible for these abhorrent acts against Hindu communities!    We can no longer accept these atrocities occurring!

Dear Friends and Colleagues,  

Fact Finding/investigation conducted by Bangladesh Minority Watch (BDMW) on 30th of April,2014 at Bag Sitarampur Homna Upazila of Comilla District in Bangladesh relating to attacks, looting, assaulting on Hindu Minorities on 27.04.2014 on the allegation of face-book postings by Hindus defaming Islam.

Country: Bangladesh
Type of Violation: Right to Religious freedom, Right to Personal Property, Right to Life
Acts: Looting of houses and temples; Physical assault; (about 35 Hindu houses and one temples belonging to Hindus were attacked and at least)
Date of investigation: 30th April, 2014
Date of Submission to GHRD: 2ndth May, 2014
GHRD Contact: Elena Atzeni and Nazli Tuncay
Investigation conducted by: Adv. Rabindra Ghosh, Md. Firoz Hossain and Sidhu Bosu (BDMW)
1. Identity of the victim(s):
Name: 1.Sawpan Chandra Das 2. Harilal Das, 3. Prahlad Das, 4. Chand Mohan Das, 5. Shepal chandra Das, 6. Nihar Chandra Das, 7. Anil Chandra Das, 8. Dr. Durgapada Das, 9. Akhil chandra Das, 10. Ajit Chandra Das, 11. Haradhan Das, 12. Ranjit Chandra Das, 13. Niranjan Chandra Das, 14. Sreenath Das, 15. Birendra Chandra Das, 16. Priyanath Das, 17. Thakur Das, 18. Tapan Das, 19. Joydeb Das, 20. Paban Chandra Das, 21. Uttam Das, 22. Gopal Chandra Das, 23. Biswassar Chandra Das, 24. Shymol Chandra Das, 25. Banamali Das, 26. Parimal Das, 27. Nirmal Das, 28. Hari Kamal Das, 29. Amar Chandra Das, 30. Haripada Goswami, 31.Sreenath Chandra Das,32. Ranjit Das,33. Haradhan Chandra Das,                 34.Tufani Chandra Das, 35. Ram chandra Das, and others.
Age at time of event:
Under 18:                          Multiple 10 to 80 years
Citizenship:                         Bangladesh
Religion:                               Hindu
Ethnicity:                           Religous Minority
Home address:                 Village :  Bag Sitarampur of Homna Upazila within Comilla District in Bangladesh.
Consent given:    Yes       
2. Date and place of event:
Date:                     26th April, 2014
Location:              Bag Sitarampur village of Homna Sub-district in Comilla District
3. Alleged perpetrator(s):
1Nazrul Islam (22) son of Zahangir
2. Quium (22) son of Giasuddin,
3. Mufti Nuruzzaman (55) son of not known,
4. Moulana Hedayetullah (55) son of late Sirajul Islam,
5. Moulana Shah Alam (50) son of not known,
6. Abdul Barik Master (55) son of not known,
7. Moulana Habibullah (40) son of late Mofizul,
8. Motaleb Khan Principal (55) son of not known,
9. Ebadul Mollah (50) son of Safad Ali,
10. Md. Shafi Uddin (25) son of Saidul Islam,
11. Mohammad Hanif (24) son of Younus Meah,
12. Robiullah (27) son of Abul Hashem,
13. Al-Ameen (22), son of Amir Hossain,
14. Abdul Halim (50) son of Talu Meah,
15. Moulana Sha Alam (35) son of not known,
16. Musa (34) son of Momen Meah,
17. Nurul Islam Mollah (35) son of late Abul Hashem,
18. Mohammad Kabir (35) son of Samad Meah,
19. Md. Omar Faruk (28) son of Mobarak Hossain,
20. Selim (26) son of late Alek Meah,
21. Mohammad Asik (21)  son of Md. Harun Meah,
22. Altaf (24) son of Zahed Ali,
23. Abil Meah (24) son of Abdus Samad,
24. Mufti Nazrul Islam (40) son of not known,
25. Moulana Abdul Quddus (42) son of late Nayeb Ali,
26. Abdur Rahman (38) son of Fazlul Rahman,
27. Jasim (22) son of Moslem Meah,
28. Sudan Meah (35) son of Musa,
29. Mohammad Faruk Meah Molla (40) son of Younus Momin,
30. Adil (25)  son of Rabi Meah,
31. Robi Meah (52) son of late Nayeb Ali,
32. Mohammad Giasuddin (53) son of late Mansur Ali,
33. Din Islam (25) son of Fazlul Karim,
34. Faisal (25) son of Tazul Islam,
35. Moulanna Musa (38) son of not known,
36. Md. Kabir (25) son of Venga Hossain,
37. Al-Ameen (22) son of Humayun
38. Md. Russel (22)  son of Zahed Ali,
39. Motaleb Huzur –Rampur Madrasha.
40. Faisal (25) son of Tazul Islam,
41. Saifuddin (25) son of not known.
42. Moulana Yousuf (36) son of not known.
43. Anis (30) son of Abdul Zabbar
44. Mosharaff (27) son of Abul Hashem,
45. Takkul (20) son of Motin Meah
46. Qumrul (25) son of not known.
47. Mohibul (24) son of Sahi Meah,
48. Sattar Meah son of Raham Ali,
49. Hossain Mollah (38) son of late Tara Meah.
50. Saha Alam Huzur (50) son of not known.
51. Shafique (25) son of not known,
52. Faruk (27) son of not known,
53. Mohammad Hanif (24) son of Younus Meah,
54. Helal (28) son of late Rahiam,
55. Mohammad Hanif (25) son of Raham Ali,
56. Habizul Meah (22) son of Mojibur Rahman,
57. Nazrul Islam (23) son of late Noaz Ali,
58. Yeamin (20) son of Bazlu Meah,
59. Jiban Meah (50) son of not known.
60. Rokib (35) son of late Monu Meah,
61. Farid Meah (56) son of late Abu Meah,
62. Soleman (25) son of Fazlu Karim,
63. Hamood (45) son of Hajee Mongal Meah,
64. Sadeque (28) son of Hossain Meah,
65. Ismail (25) son of Jabbar Meah
66. Kali Bhuiya (35) son of Monu Meah,
67. Imran (25) son of not known.
68. Mohammad Jalal (30) son of late Fazil Meah, and more so.
Fact of the Case:  Bag Sitarampur (Das Para) is a place within the border area of Murdnagar Upazila and Homna Upazila of Comilla District is remotest area 13 kilometres away from Homna Police station. 42 Hindu families live their home since long peacefully. On 26th April,2014 some Muslim detected a bad comment on the face-book of Uddob Chandra Das and Sreenibash Kumar Das against Prophet Hazarat Mohammad which triggered Muslim mob to agitate thousands of Muslims.On 27th April, 2014 at about 2.30 p.m. on hearing the news of alleged bad comment made by two Hindu student namely 1) Uddob Das and Sreenibash Das in the face book regarding Prophet (SM) Mohammad thousands of perpetrators belonging to Muslim from different areas assembled from different directions, armed with deadly weapons such as Ram Dao, axe, iron rod, strong hammer, cane etc appeared before Sree Sree Radha Krishna Temple of Das Para and they started throwing agitated slogans against Hindus and started to breaking, looting, arsoning, physically assulting Hindus, resulting 35 Hindus houses with a Temple demolished and desecrated within a twinkle of an eye. Due to abrupt attacks women and children belonging to Hindus fled away, some of them swimming in the “Titas” river, took shelter in the paddy fields, some took shelter nearest villages, Perpetrators demolished house, Hindu deities and looted belongings( gold ornaments, cash Taka   of Birendra Chandra Das amounting to Taka 4,00,000/-, Perpetrators also demolished houses and looted the wealth of Sreenath Chandra Das amounting to Taka 3,00,000/-, Due to attacks Ranjit Chandra Das lost properties taka 2,50,000/-, Niranjan Chandra Das lost properties worth Taka 3,00,000/- including gold ornaments, Haradhan Chandra Das lost properties worth Taka 3,20,000/-, Sree Tufani Chandra Das lost properties due to attack worth Taka 1,50,000/-, Ram Chandra Das lost properties worth Taka 1,20,000/-    and other victims namely Tapan Chandra Das, Bonomali chandra Das, Ms Suniti Bala Goswami and more 25 family members lost properties approximate  amounting to 65 to 70 million of Taka.  
Investigation:  I, Adv. Rabindra Ghosh along with Md. Firoz Hossain, Sidhu Bosu of BDMW rushed to the spot on 30th of April, 2014 and reached Homna P.S. at about 2 p.m.  The officer in charge of Homna P.S. and Inspector of Police (Investigation) accompanied us at the spot by a taxi cab. But we had to reach the spot two kilometres by foot due to bad communication facilities at the spot. We found some police personnel were patrolling the affected area, but the minority victims mostly women and children are found in a panic environment. We also interrogated the local Member of Union Parishad Md. Nayeem Mollah who resides within a radius of 100 meters away from the place of occurrence. He said “I got information about the news of face-book posting on 26.04.2014 and there was a wide circulated sentiment amongst the Muslim communities, Muslim communities hurriedly assembled and started to agitate people from different mosques and Madrasha by using loud speakers by mike urging Muslim to come to fight for religion on the same day, but I tried to settle the matter within the same communities by an arbitration and as such a delay has been caused to report the matter to the law enforcing authority” and the U.P. Chairman – Md. Abul Bashar said “I was not aware about the face book news, I got news when the perpetrators attacked the village on 27.04.2014 at the evening. During the attack I was not at the spot, I was at Upazila Complex at Homna, I got information from U.P. Member Md. Nayeem Mollah over phone on 27.04.14 while U.P. Member failed to negotiate with agitated Muslims and I informed the matter at about 4 p.m. to local police station for taking necessary action. But before the police reaches at about 4.30 most of the houses belonging to Hindus have been demolished and properties looted, one Hindu temple desecrated, deities demolished. In the meantime perpetrators decamped.” I also wanted to know from U.P. Member Md. Nayeem Mollah why delay has been made to appraise the situation on the previous day i.e. on 26.04.2014 before unfortunate incident of attack took place, he could not answer. I also interrogated most of the victims at the spot who were crying for justice and security. They totally denied the allegations of such defamation against Hazarat Mohammad (SM) by two Hindu victims (who are now in Custody in connection with case number 16 dated 28.04.14 under section 57(2) of Information Technology Act,2006 lodged by Abdullah Al-Baki- S. I. of Police, Homna P.S, Comilla.
I also talked with Md. Tofazzal Hossain Meah- Deputy Commissioner of Comilla District (Cell number 01711182946 who gave me to understand that he visited the spot and necessary foods, utensils, cash money had been distributed amongst the victims, although the help is not adequate, he has every sympathy for those victims. Further he will try to help some more funds for their survival. We also corroborated the statements of facts with other witnesses available during fact finding which had been proved to be genuine.

4. Legal status:
·         Case registered by one Ram Pada Das on behalf of other victims at the Local Homna police station being Homna P.S. case No15. 28.04.2014 u/s 6(2)12 of Anti- Terrorism Act, 2009.
·         Another case lodged by Abdullah Al-Baki – S.I of Police, Homna police station against two Minority persons Uddob Chandra Das(21) and Sreenibash Kumar Das for alleged posting of remarks against Hazrat (SM) in the face book being Homna P.S. case No.16 dated 28.04.2014 under section 57(2) of Information, Technology and Communication, Act,2006.
·         Homna Police arrested 18 perpetrators and police brought 9 perpetrators for remand till writing of this report including Uddob Chandra Das and Sreenibash Kumar Das in connection with those cases.  Both the cases are now under investigations by police.

5. Case Summary:
Houses/Temples belonging to Hindus minorities were attacked,  and vandalized over Face book posting rumours at Homna Upazila of Comilla district on 27 of April, 2014 ( Almost all newspapers from  Bangladesh dated 28th April, 14 reported the case). 

At least 35 houses and one Temples of Hindus were attacked by a group of agitated Muslim men of Bag Sitarampur village of Homna Upazila in Comilla on Sunday following rumours that two Hindu boy posted something in Facebook maligning Prophet Muhammad (SM) Locals and police said that the attacks were carried out in the evening following the rumour was spread by a group of people mostly youths and continued for several hours.

Mr. Tutul Chakravorty, S.P. at Comilla could not confirm whether the posting existed on the social media website, Face book.  He, however, told the reporters “We are investigating to find any such posting on the boy’s wall”. He claimed that the situation was now under control after day long trouble as additional law enforcers were deployed in the affected area.

Md. Aslam Sikdar-Officer in Charge of Homna P.S. said that some people at the local market showed some printout of the image of a Facebook group that allegedly demeaned Islam and the Prophet. He also handed over some printed papers where there is no date and time of those printed face-book papers.

Being instigated, thousand of attackers jumped over the houses of Uddob Das,  and  Sreenibash Chandra Das and adjoining houses belonging to other religious minority , looted valuables worth Taka 65 to 70 million  who are  reportedly not responsible for posting any bad remarks in the face book.

6.  Action taken:
BDMW observer investigated the incident at the spot of attacks on minorities. They urge international human rights organizations to unanimously come forward to protect the minorities in the country.
BDMW also recommends that:-
a)       All perpetrators should be arrested very soon; the instigators responsible for not informing the situation before the occurrence on 27th April,14 to the law enforcing agencies in the name of negotiation and arbitration should be brought to book as per law.
b)      The face book matter detected on 26th April,14 has not yet been investigated; but those two victims have been sent to jail custody by the police in connection with Case No.16 dated 28.04.2014 most probably over powering anger of Muslim mob.
c)       The agitation by the Muslim attackers on 26th April,2014 canvassing, assembling unlawful manner should have been tackled by the police and local administration at that relevant time, but that was not initiated due to obvious reasons.  
d)      The perpetrators whatsoever should be punished as per law.
e)      The lapses on the part of law enforcing agencies not according any protection to victims are responsible for such occurrence should be taken into consideration cautiously.
f)       The impunity to the perpetrators is responsible for repeated occurrence of religiously motivated attacks. 
g)      The victims should be rehabilitated so that they can get back their confidence to live peacefully at their home and hearth.
h)      The arrested minority victims Uddab Chandra Das and Sreenibash Kumar Das should be freed immediately as the police did not identify the actual posting of bad remarks in the face book.
We also came back from Comilla to Dhaka on the same night at about 1 a.m
Adv. Rabindra Ghosh
Founder President-Bangladesh Minority Watch (BDMW)
12-K.M. Das Lane, Tikatully-Wari P.S.,Dhaka, Bangladesh.

7. Case Documents:
·         Case file  by BDMW, copy of FIR, copy of paper clippings and photos.
·         News canning (The Daily Star, The New Age, The Janakantha dated 28.04.2014  The Protom Alo, dated 30.04.14 The Bangladesh Protidin dated 29.04.2014,  The Sangbad dated 29.04.2014,  and The Ittefaq dated 28.04.2014)

Document:                                                                         Date:

Case file                                                        
8. Clarification.

Advocate Rabindra Ghosh
Bangladesh Minority Watch

Zemira Eli Natan
Executive Director
International Unity for Freedom and Equality

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