With Hindu girls getting abducted, boys killed, and temples attacked, the list of anti-Hindu atrocities in Bangladesh has grown significantly through August and September. While Islamic violence incessantly terrorizes Hindus in the Muslim-majority nation, it has also become regular and commonplace enough not to raise the eyebrows of those who are seated in the corridors of power, both inside and outside Bangladesh.
Of all their barbarities against the minority community, abducting their minor girls remains the favorite among some Muslims. Only a few girls are fortunate enough to be rescued after being abducted by a Muslim in Bangladesh; 17-year-old Snigdha Dutta Priya was one of them. A student of Balika Government College, Snigdha, was kidnapped from Batolli village under Anowara police Station in Chattogram district on July 19. Her family realized that she was missing when she didn’t return from college that day. After inquiring with her friends, the victim’s father approached the local police station to file a report. However, authorities remained indifferent to the complaint for days and took no action to find the girl. Disappointed with this inaction, the family approached local Hindu activists, who compelled the police to act. They then raided a residence at Hathazari and recovered the girl, twenty-one days after she went missing, and arrested her abductor, Sajjad Hossain.
Not just random miscreants like Sajjad Hossain, but even teachers have joined the bandwagon in kidnapping Hindu minors. Local police arrested 34-year-old Manjurul Islam from Chattagram for abducting 11-year-old Rupali (name changed) and rescuing the girl from a hotel with the accused teacher. “After receiving the complaint, we started to track the accused teacher. After a few hours, we tracked the teacher in a hotel in the Bandarban area. We raided the hotel and recovered the minor girl,” stated Jahidul Kabur, the officer in charge of Kotwali police station.
In another unabashed hate crime, reported on August 30, a madrassa student broke into a Hindu temple in Madhubagchala Union under the Madhapur police Station of Tangail district in Bangladesh. In one of our previous reports, we discussed how some Muslim minors compete with adults in hatred when attacking non-believers. This case further supports our study, as the accused is a minor who snuck into the temple with a stick, smashed the idols of the Hindu deities, and fled the scene. As soon as the news broke out, disappointed Hindus and temple committee members informed the police, who found the culprit after interrogating local shop owners, and arrested one Muhammad Maniruzzaman. Hindus have also complained that the police were reluctant to arrest the accused, and insisted that the Hindus forgive him. But the Hindus demanded exemplary punishment for the boy, and the police relented.
After receiving the news of their son’s arrest, Maniruzzaman’s parents reached the police station. Claiming that their son was mentally unstable, they demanded that he be released. “Mental illness” is a familiar excuse that parents and relatives of Muslim miscreants often employ after Muslims get caught executing a hate crime. During his interrogation, however, Maniruzzaman exhibited no signs of mental instability; instead, his responses were steeped in bigotry, establishing that it was nothing but an intense commitment to Islam that motivated him to vandalize the Hindu temple. “Worshipping Murtis is forbidden in Islam. So I’ve broken it,” he responded when asked why he had broken the idols.
While minor boys from Muslim backgrounds are tearing down Hindu temples, Hindu boys are killed for absurd reasons. It’s not just Hindu girls who become easy targets of Islamic violence; minor boys are not safe, either. Days after 13-year-old Adreep Ahan Sayan went missing, police found his body; as per reports, his Muslim female friend’s family members are suspected of the murder. Sayan’s father approached the local police station on August 29 after the seventh grader didn’t return home from school. Upon checking the CCTV footage of the path taken by Sayan, the police saw him walking along with a female schoolmate and a burka-clad woman. That was the last known information regarding his whereabouts. On August 31, police recovered his body from a nearby stream. Sayan’s family identified the body; he was in his school uniform at the time of death. While the victim’s family and locals allege that this was a preplanned murder, the police have not arrested anyone yet.
Emboldened by the indifference of authorities in power, the Muslim majority of Bangladesh continues to persecute Hindus in multiple ways. Only a few stories find their way into news reports; most go unreported, and their victims remain deprived of justice for years.