What happened in Cumilla is disgraceful for a country like Bangladesh which earned independence with the participation of all communities – the Hindus, the Muslims, the Christians and Buddhists. We took part in the bloody nine months struggle on the basis of Bengali nationalism. We did not think about the religious barrier. Rather all of us maintained communal harmony as human being and as Bengali irrespective of cast and creed. We have been living for thousand years on the Delta with amity and understanding. During the War of Liberation, all of us forgot that we are separate community. Rather as Bengalis, we got united on six-point programme of Bangabandhu. It was Bangabandhu who got us united as Bengalis to fight for emancipation from Pakistani suppression and oppression. It was presumed that Bangladesh would be a land of peace and harmony for those who live here. Unfortunately that did not happen. Those who were against our nationality did not reconcile to the birth of Bangladesh. Those who opposed the war of liberation i.e., religious fundamentalist and the forces of reaction created disturbance so many times in independent Bangladesh on the plea of religion. They resorted to communalism and did mischief to our nationhood. What happened at Ramu was really painful. The government did all that was necessary for Ramu people. But the result of the event is still there at Ramu. Now what happened in Cumilla is more painful. Durga Puja, the biggest festival of Hindus community was going on with festive mood. When the Hindu community left the puja mandap at Nanuar Dighirpar at 2pm at night Holly Quran of Muslims was kept there. Fayez Uddin, a local person posted a video in the morning on the social media inviting people to attack puja mandap has been arrested. From CCTV footage, police have identified the person who placed the Holy Quran at Nanua Dighir Par puja mandap in Cumilla city. The man has been identified as Iqbal Hossain (30), son of Nur Ahmed Alam, resident of Second Muradpur-Laskarpukur area of Ward-37.
Such incidents cannot take place without the patronization and
connivance of the vested quarters who are desperately trying to destabilize
the country for political gain. The government must unearth the motive behind the incidents of violence
It is quite natural to think that the social unrest that has been created out of keeping the Holy Quran on idol at the puja mandap and the attack on the temple by the Muslims is just a conspiracy for agitating both the communities simultaneously. They have become successful. The events that occurred for one week since October 13 following the Cumilla incident have set a bad example. A few persons have been killed and several hundreds were injured with temples and houses damaging by the communal bandits. The country seems to be stunned by the incidents took place in different areas of the country. In the past we see the political leaders had been rushing to the trouble spots and played vital role to maintain communal harmony. But this time what we see is unacceptable to us. Both BNP and ruling parties are engaged in blame game instead of going to the place of communal violence. During those days, the members of the Hindu community were helpless, but unfortunately they did not get any help from the political leaders. If they stood by the helpless Hindu community the situation could been otherwise. It’s a sheer negligence of duty of the political leaders who sought votes from them and committed to ensure their security. It has now become inevitable to expedite the rehabilitation of those whose houses were burnt and have been displaced. They are living under the open sky and in inhuman condition. The ministers and local representatives should stand by them.
However, Police finally arrested Iqbal Hossai from Cox’s Bazar. From there he was brought to Cumilla on Friday afternoon and handed to Cumilla police lines. Iqbal is being interrogated by the police. The eminent citizens and cross section of people have demanded to unearth the blue print behind the communal violence.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the last week cabinet meeting directed the home ministry to take stern action against people involved in the recent violence against the Hindu community. “Islam advises peaceful performance of rituals of all religions. Our Prophet (PBUH) also advised us not to do excesses with religion. We want no one to do excesses with religion,” she said.
The nature of the communal violence speak that there is a blue print behind it. Such incidents cannot take place without the patronization and connivance of the vested quarters who are desperately trying to destabilize the country for political gain. The government must unearth the motive behind the incidents of violence.
There are countrywide protests and demonstrations against communal violence. The anti-liberation and the forces of reaction have been trying to desperately to tarnish the image of the government internationally. They have been trying to create countrywide disturbances. The idea is to perplex the government.
The incidents of Cumilla and elsewhere in the country have proved that communality is rooted in the minds of a section of people who belongs to majority group. These incidents also have shown the failure of the political leaders. Communalism cannot be eradicated without the combined efforts of political, social and cultural forces. They have to take initiative to make people aware and chalk out mosque and madrasha centric program to spread the message that Islam is a religion of peace. It (Islam) advises peaceful performance of rituals of all religion. Side by side they must take initiative to remove fear from the minds of the Hindu community. They must communicate with the people of Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Buddhists. Bangladesh is a land of peace and harmony. No particular community liberated the country. Rather all communities participated in the War of Liberation and Bangladesh emerged as an independent country at the cost of blood of 3 million people who are Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and Christians.
Dr S A Malek is the former Political Adviser to the Prime Minister, Member of Parliament, Secretary General of Bangabandhu Parishad and Columnist.