At least six people were killed and hundreds injured in communal violence that took place during the Durga Puja celebrations in Bangladesh last week. Although Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has promised to bring to justice the culprits, the attacks have not stopped.
Speaking to http://www.bengali.indianexpress.com, writer and human rights activist Shahriar Kabir explains as to what might have led to a spurt in such attacks. “The root of such conflicts dates back to the assassination of Mujibur Rehman. Since then, communal politics has raged across Bangladesh. There is a group in the country that wants Bangladesh to become a pro-Pakistan Muslim. Hence, it’s not only about vandalism at a Durga Puja pandal. They will keep spreading unrest in one way or another,” Kabir said.
He added, “Till the time there’s politics based on religion, there’ll also be attacks on minorities in its name. On one hand, we have the Awami League which has been infiltrated by right-wing members. On the other, there’s Jamaat-BNP which propagates this divide.”
When asked as to whether a political change in Bangladesh might make the situation better, Kabir said, “Many believe that Sheikh Hasina is an agent of India and want the government overthrown. There might be problems in the ruling Awami League, but I want to ask these people: Do you believe overthrowing the current government will solve all issues? I don’t think so.”
Commenting on the effect of the communal unrest on India’s politics, Kabir said that such conflicts always have an effect on the neighbouring countries. “Leaders of the BJP in Bengal have made various comments about the ongoing conflicts in Bangladesh. However, these are things that are dealt with by the country itself. Following the destruction of the Babri Masjid in India, about 3,600 temples were vandalized in Bangladesh. We don’t want a return to that stage. What people need to remember are the ideals of secularism on which Bangladesh was built following the Liberation War,” he added.