Hindu girls in Bangladesh
In Bangladesh, attacks on Hindus continue unabated. The fanatic and cruel supporters of the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) have launched a jehad against the Hindus and victims of its atrocities are young, innocent Hindu girls. Rita Rani is a living example of the cruelties, inflicted by these religious fanatics and which have increased in the past three to four years.
In October 2001, Rita was an innocent eight-year old girl. On October 2, 2001, goons from the Jamaat-e-Islami attacked the Hindu occupants of Rita Rani'svillage?the menfolk were beaten brutally, their homes were looted and the women were raped. On seeing this, a trembling and apprehensive Rita along with her mother began to search for a corner to hide in. As soon as the attackers entered Rita'shouse, the other women and children rushed out but Rita and her mother couldn'trun fast enough to escape the clutches of Mohammad Salim. Salim pulled Rita away from her mother'sarms and both of them were dragged to separate spots. In the wheat fields, Salim did all that with Rita which was unbearable for her. A victim of rape, Rita fell unconscious at the spot. On regaining consciousness after three long hours, she got a fright on seeing blood. She did not realise that she had been raped, but all she could utter was that Salim and his accomplices had caused her immense harm.
Two years later, in 2003, came the same month of October. Two young girls of the same village fell prey to the atrocities of these terrorists. Twelve-year old Kanika Das and 13-year old Bala Das had come on a visit to the house of their relative. On October 2, the miscreants of Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Jamaat-e-Islami attacked the house of their relative. To escape from them, the two young girls went and hid in a dark hut closeby. But the miscreants searched them out and dragging them to the nearby fields, repeatedly raped them. Later both were recovered from separate fields in a state of unconsciousness.
?I pleaded with them to spare my mother but they continued to beat her and then dragged me out of the house. I tried my level best to save myself but they began to beat me then. I called out to my sister in a loud voice but they thrashed her too. What they did to me after that, I cannot relate.? Three hours later, Poornima was recovered in an unconsicous state from a field, a mile away.
Twelve-year old Poornima Sheel was raped not once, but frequently by different ruffians of the party. Even today, on remembering that night of October 2001, Poornima starts trembling, when more than 30 miscreants attacked her home in east Delna village. She said, ?I can recognise most of them; they were boys from Muslim families of our neighbourhood. They mercilessly beat up my mother. They kept thrashing her till she fainted. I pleaded with them to spare my mother but they continued to beat her and then dragged me out of the house. I tried my level best to save myself but they began to beat me then. I called out to my sister in a loud voice but they thrashed her too. What they did to me after that, I cannot relate.? Three hours later, Poornima was recovered in an unconsicous state from a field, a mile away.
Four persons from BNP and Jamaat-i-Islami were captured in connection with this crime, but later they were released without conducting any enquiry. BNP is the ruling party of Bangladesh and Jamaat-i-Islami is its ally in the government.
The misery of Poornima and her family did not end here. The goons of Jamaat-i-Islami and BNP looted their shop twice. Her elder brother was so brutally attacked that he lost his eyesight. On receving the threat of death, Poornima'sfamily left the village.
Many girls apart from Poornima who have been victims of rape are openly raising their voice in Bangladesh. Fourteen-year old Poornima says, ?I want justice, not money.? Hapless Poornima is begging for mercy.
On April 22, 2003, young Vibha Singh left her home to go to college that morning. She had reached only a short distance when some ruffians abducted her by pointing their guns on her. And for the next six days she was kept in three different houses of Khulna city where she was physically tortured and mass raped. Not only this, the perpetrators of crime crossed all limits when different parts of her body were incised with blades and knives. Her limbs were burned with cigarettes. Her head was repeatedly banged against the wall.
On April 29, her father managed to search her out. Since that day Vibha and her family are leading life like a sour dream. Traumatised by a feeling of insecurity, Vibha feels her life has reached an end. The rapists are freely moving about, threatening Vibha and her family.
On November 19, 2003, miscreants armed with weapons attacked Tejendra Lal Sheel'stwo-storeyed house in Chitta-gaon, situated on the Indo-Bangladesh border. The armed goons surrounded the ground floor, so the members of the family took refuge on the second floor. After this, the goons sprinkled an inflammable liquid on the steps before setting fire to it. In this episode, three women and five children were brunt alive to death. Among these was a young infant girl who had just taken birth. This four-day old infant was burned before she could even set eyes on the world. Fifteen-year old Anne Sheel and 11-year old Roomi Sheel breathed their last in the raging flames of fire.
According to sources, the miscreants, who attacked the Hindu minority, were followers of the ruling party and were Muslim fanatics of Bangladesh. But Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia is sitting with her eyes closed towards the atrocities perpetrated on the Hindus. This is the reason why victims have been kept deprived of justice.
The Human Rights Congress for Minorities in Bangladesh has appealed to the people to raise their voice against the injustice meted out to these victims. The organisation has also launched a worldwide campaign to seek justice for the Hindu girl-victims of rape.