9 January 2018, Tue, 12:38

Communal violence fell in 2017, but murder on the rise

Incidents of violence targeting religious and ethnic minorities in Bangladesh fell by one-third in 2017 but there was a slight rise in the number of murders, a report from a human rights organization has revealed.

Bangladesh Hindu-Buddha-Christian Oikya Parishad said at a press briefing in Dhaka on Monday that there were at least 1,004 attacks on the country’s minorities in 2017 compared to at least 1,471 the year before.

In addition, the number of people from minorities punished for fabricated allegations of spreading religious hatred increased, from seven in 2016 to at least 13 in 2017.

The organization produced the figures after analyzing news reports.

“Incidents of communal violence came down a little in 2017 but there were still more than 1,000 incidents in which an estimated 30,000 people, families, and institutions were harmed,” the organization’s general secretary, Rana Dasgupta, said.

“(Also) the actual number of such incidents was much higher as the compilation only included the incidents reported in the media.”

Rana said that last year 82 people were killed while the bodies of 22 victims who died under unclear circumstances were recovered. Comparatively, 71 people were killed and 29 bodies recovered in 2016.

Another 325 people were victims of violent attacks and physical torture, while 18 others were abducted.

Forty-four incidents of rape and attempted rape were recorded and four of the victims were killed after being raped.

The report mentions 471 incidents of attacks, looting, and arson on land, houses, temples and business institutions.

Furthermore, there were 27 successful attempts to grab land belonging to cremation grounds in 2017, with 23 more having failed.

In addition, 228 idols were vandalized last year, compared to 259 in 2016. Despite the lower number of vandalized idols, 14 were stolen in 2017 whereas the number was 11 in 2016.

Leaders of the Oikya Parishad further said that almost 2,500 people, trade centres or institutions were victims of hatred in each month of last year.

Among the 2017 incidents, the attack on the indigenous people in Rangamati’s Langadu was the deadliest.