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Rights group wants justice for villagers

Authorities 'dragging their feet' in dealing with attackers of a Christian village

Rights group wants justice for villagers
Protesters demand justice for an attack on Christians at Thakurgaon district court yesterday reporter, Thakurgaon

March 17, 2011

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A rights group says authorities are dragging their feet in meting out justice against perpetrators of an attack on a Christian village in northwestern Bangladesh. The Thakurgaon district wing of the Bangladesh Dalit Council (BDC), a rights group for downtrodden and tribal people, staged a rally yesterday outside the local district court in an attempt to kick-start some official action against several men accused of being behind the attack. Around 100 demonstrators at the protest demanded a proper investigation and appropriate punishment against attackers who torched seven houses in the village of Banglagar in Ranishonkoil sub-district earlier this month. They also handed over a memorandum outlining their demands to a high-ranking district officer who later promised the protesters to bring the attackers to justice. The attack triggered by a land dispute with Muslims seriously injured 10 people and left around 50, all Catholic Christians, without food or shelter. “We’ve starving, there’s no food and my children are falling sick because of the cold, said Shishu Hrishi, 35, who lost his home in the attack. So, far the only aid they have received has come from the local parish priest, Father Anthony Sen, who with the support of Caritas has distributed 40 kilos of rice and some blankets. The villagers say the accused are now threatening them to get the charges dropped. “Local authorities have not compensated the victims yet and are not doing enough to bring about justice,” said Thakurgaon BDC president Jacob Khalko. “It’s really painful to see these people living a miserable life. If our demands are not met we’ll organize bigger non-violent action, including strikes under the BDC banner across the country,” the tribal Oraon Catholic added. Related reports Muslims torch Christians’ houses Rights activists have to fight for justice Catholics fight dowry demands and land grabs Catholics join fight against land grabbers BA13671.1645

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