HAF Calls on Bangladesh to Protect Hindus in Wake of Terrorist Attacks at Two Temples
Washington, D.C. (December 15, 2015) - The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) called upon the government of Bangladesh to protect its Hindu community in the wake of recent terror attacks targeting Hindu temples in Dinajpur, Bangladesh. Two separate attacks, one at the historic Kantaji temple and a second at a gathering of over 2,000 people at the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) temple in Kaharol region of Dinajpur, took place within one week of each other, causing panic and fear among Hindus throughout Bangladesh.
“We have directly called upon the government of Bangladesh to fully investigate these incidents and to protect the lives and properties of the Hindu community,” said Jay Kansara, HAF’s Director of Government Relations. “The Foundation has also requested the U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh, Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat, and other U.S. officials to visit the sites of the attacks in order to assure the Hindu minority of Bangladesh that the United States stands with them in their time of need.”
The attackers set off bombs and fired at devotees at both temples, leaving several people injured. Police suspect that the banned Islamic militant group, Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), may have been responsible for the attack on the Kantaji temple, but it is unclear at this time if they were also involved in the incident at the ISKCON temple.
Hindu community organizations, such as Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council (BHBCUC), held demonstrations to protest the attacks at the Dhaka Press Club and in Dinajpur last Saturday and believe that these attacks were intended to intimidate Hindus into vacating their lands and properties and leaving Dinajpur.
Although Hindus comprise a majority in Dinajpur district, they only account for approximately nine percent of Bangladesh’s total population and have faced widespread violence, discrimination, and restrictions on their religious freedom, according to the HAF’s annual human rights report.