2012 Fatehpur violence

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2012 Fatehpur Violence refers to the attack on the minority Hindu community in the Fatehpur village under Kaliganj upazila in Satkhira District in South-western Bangladesh on the 31 March 2012.

Background[edit]

On 26 March 2012, on the occasion of the Independence Day the students of Fatehpur High School staged a play adapted from the short story 'Huzur Kebla' by eminent Bangladeshi politician and litterateur Abul Mansur Ahmed.[1] The text is included in the syllabus of Bengali in the university degree courses.[1] Three days later, on 29 March 2012, Dainik Drishtipat and Dainik Alor Parash, two Jamaat-e-Islami supported local newspapers reported that blasphemous remarks about the Prophet Muhammad were made in the drama. Though the news was proved to be false later on, tensions began to mount once the news spread.[2]

On 30 March, South Sripur Union Parishad member Abu Jafar Sanpui filed a case with Kaliganj police station accusing a dramatist, a headmaster and an assistant headmaster. Police arrested the headmaster and the assistant teacher and send them to jail.[3]

A group of Muslims and mullahs held noisy demonstrations after Jumma prayers on Friday, blocking roads for hours.[4]

Attacks[edit]

On Saturday, people from neighbouring areas began to gather in Fatehpur village under the banner of Touhidi Janata.[5] Hundreds of people from Krishnanagar and Bishnupur unions and other areas assembled outside the Fatehpur village of South Sripur union. At around 9 A.M. they attacked the Fatehpur High School and Fatehpur Government Primary School with sticks, iron rods and machetes. Then they attacked the houses of Shahinur Rahman and his three brothers and set them on fire. In the Banshtala market, they set fire to the shop of Abdul Hakim Sardar, a member of the administrative committee of Fatehpur High School.[6] Then as the sun set the Muslims burnt down the house of 7 Hindu families including Mita Rani Hazra. They also robbed valuable things from those houses.

On Sunday afternoon, rumour spread that Lalita Sardar, a Hindu housewife from Chakdaha village had made another blasphemous remark about Prophet Muhammad. People began to gather in the Sardar residence. In the evening, Firoz Kabir Kajal, the president of Nazimganj Bazar Committee arrived at their house along local Union Parishad members. They began to pressurize Lalita to publicly apologize for her blasphemous remarks. During this meeting about two hundred youths from nearby villages gathered near their house and threatened to kick the family and send them to India. At around 7 PM in the evening thousands of teenagers and youths were called to the spot from the different villages of Kaliganj Upazila. The outsiders gathered around the houses of the minority Hindus and began to pelt stones and brick bats in their houses. The Hindu men, women and children fearing for their lives, began to run towards safety. The attackers then broke open their houses and looted their valuables, including jewelry, garments, land deeds and other valuable documents. They also snatched the jewelry box from Lalita Sardar. After securing the loot in safe havens, the miscreants doused the houses in petrol and set them on fire. The houses of 10 Hindu families were looted and set on fire. The loot and arson took place in the presence of the police. The fire brigade was blocked from entering into the area until the houses were completely burnt. The District Magistrate, District Superintendent of Police, the Additional D.I.G. (Khulna Range) and RAB officers arrived at night and tried to bring things under control.[1]

Aftermath[edit]

A week after the attacks, the majority of the Hindu victims still remained terrorized. Members of many of the families haven't returned to their houses.[7]

On Wednesday, 11 April 2012 District Commissioner of Satkhira District canceled declaration of the daily drishtipat because of provocating the attack on Hindu families and failure to answer show cause order of the High Court.[7]

Protests[edit]

Main stream Bangladeshi media completely maintained a silence over this incident. Then as the Hindu Students of Jagannath Hall of Dhaka University protested against the persecution. Bangladeshi media highlighted this event. Students of Dhaka University Jagannath Hall staged demonstrations putting up barricades on Shahbag-Matsya Bhaban road on Thursday, 5 April 2012 morning. Nearly 500 students brought out a procession from their dormitory in the morning and later took position at Shahbagh around 10:30am. They demanded tougher actions against the people responsible for the incident. Earlier, on Wednesday night, the students blocked Elephant-Matsya Bhaban road for an hour on the same issue. Bangladesh Hindu Mohajot also protested against the incident.[8]

References[edit]