Left: Mr. Ananta Laskar is showing the tin wall of the house of Nirom Miah Hawlader. The wall was cut by sharp knif by the terrorists on October 2, 2001. Middle: Char Piarimohol, where a house of a Hindu family has been occupied by a Muslim family. We were escorted by two policemen - one in plain cloth with a walkie- talkie and another in dress with a rifle. Right: North Char Fashon : people informing about the oppression on the women there.
Affected people of North Fulkachia Kalirhat under Borhan Uddin Police Station. All these women were gang raped on October 2, 2001 by the looters.
The National Election held on October
2001 in Bangladesh has brought a milestone for the oppression
on the religious minorities especially on the Hindus and Christians.
The oppression on the Hindu community was very extensive and the
main target of this oppression was the women and female children.
This happened more or less all over the country. Numberless people
left the country for neighboring country, India.
Those who went for good, it is reported that they are residing with their relatives. Those who went for a temporary period began to return. But in the mean time in their absence their houses and properties are being occupied by the vested groups.
Mr. Brojendra Kumar Das's house. All these women were gang raped
and their houses looted. They lost everything after the election.
Mr. Brojendra K. Das (88) was severely
beaten by the BNP terrorists on Oct. 2, 2001.
The daughter of his neighbor at his right was raped by several men.
We heard and read very many reports about these atrocities from carious places in the dailies and some we watched on the TV screen. I (Rosaline Costa) had no opportunity to visit any such place. So when I got an invitation from Adv. Rabindra Ghosh, Coordinator of Human Rights Congress Bangladesh for Minorities (HRCBM) in Bangladesh I immediately agreed to accompany him. He planned to go to Bhola and visit the victims, bring some victims, if they are willing to be rehabilitated and to know the condition of the cases filed against the Hindus, see ourselves what is the condition of the returnees whether they get back their homes. We also heard from people that the Hindus are demanded big toll by the vested groups and the victims don't get adequate cooperation from the administration.
So we left for Bhola on January 23, 2002 for two days visit. We have seen the reality, the victims, actual and present condition of demand of toll from the Hindus, pressure on Hindus to withdraw the cases especially the rape and looting cases. It is beyond imagination what is going on in the spot. The inadequate number of police in those places is the main reason of the oppression on the minorities. We urge the government to increase the number of police in rural areas to protect the rights of the citizens especially the minorities.
It is to be mentioned here that the local administration was very cooperative and helpful to us. If we did not get such cooperation and help it would be impossible to bring three children victims with us to Dhaka for rehabilitation. We express our sincere thanks and gratefulness to the District Commissioner (DC), Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP), Officer in-Charges (OC), and everyone that collaborated us.
The elaborate report is as follows: 23-24 January 2002
On 23 January 2002 We, Advs. Rabindra Ghose, Jagadish Chandra Sarker, member of HRCBM in Bangladesh and myself, Rosaline Costa, Human Rights Coordinator, Hotline (HRs) Bangladesh left for Bhola by launch from Dhaka at 8:00 p.m. We reached in Bhola the next day early in the morning, took a room at K. Jahan Hotel in Bhola Twon, had our breakfast and went to the DC office at 9:30 a.m. DC was absent. We talked to the ADC and requested for a vehicle for moving fast from one place to another. We got positive response from the DC through the ADC. We then went to the Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) Mr. Rafiqul Islam who was informed by the IGP from Dhaka about our visit to Bhola.
We asked the opinion of the ASP if he could recommend us the places to visit. He recommended the places under the police station of Lalmohon, Lord Hardinj, Annada Prashad and Podda Monosha area under Borhan Uddin PS.
While talking to Mr. Rafiqul Islam the ASP, we were very much
impressed when he said that he was trying his level best to protect
the religious minorities in those places under his jurisdiction.
He said, "We are all Bangladeshi and Bengalees. We may have
different belief but we are all the citizens of this country."
He further said, 'when the terrorists and criminals attacked them
after the election and looted the houses, raped the women, why
did not the Hindus prevented them from doing so by hitting them
with knife or whatever they had in their homes? Why should not
they claim strongly that they had the same right like those of
other citizens such as Muslims?' He was rather depressed about
the whole situation.
Then we said that since early 80s all the governments tried to break away the backbone of all the religious minorities especially in 1988 when autocratic Ershad amended the Constitution and made Islam the State Religion despite of protest from all corners of the country. This provision was misinterpreted by the illiterate people of the rural areas and gradually the religious minorities became second class citizens here. They have discriminated by the government, administration and in every sphere of life. He further said, the Hindus should have done the same way the Muslims did and kill or beat up the Muslim terrorists.
Then we spoke about one Swapan Kumar Das, a landlord who has been absconding from October 2, 2001 when he was attacked and his paddy taken away by the terrorists few days before the election and after the election. The ASP said he knew everything and has ordered the IO (Investigating Officer) to give the charge sheet as soon as possible. He also said that he would help Swapan to get out of this case (an acid throwing case). He also gave us a list of cases that the police filed at different PS.
We then took out the issue of present situation and said that even though the situation seems to be normal but our experience is that the atrocities against the minorities did not stop yet. It is continued in different forms such as toll collection for protection or compensation for bringing bad image of the Muslims when the Hindus left their homes, or money to be given just for amusements, etc. In this way the local terrorists and criminals are pressurizing and demanding from the Hindus big amount of money. They say, "money or women/girls" and this is happening many parts of the country. He said, it may happen in other place but not in any places under his jurisdiction and that has been conscious about this matter since he was transferred in Bhola in December. He said lack of confidence of the Hindus is the main reason behind all these atrocities in Bhola and also in Bangladesh. He said there are some facts about cutting and taking away the trees of the Hindus by the miscreants.
The ASP said that he knows a fact where a Hindu man was beaten
on his leg and arms just because he belonged to Hindu community
in Borhan Uddin and later he died from heart failure in Jessore
Hospital. He said, the death was not the result of beating so
it cannot be said that he died from oppression. "But this
of beating the man was unjust," he said. A case was filed
in this regard, he said.
When we asked about where there was any incident of breaking deities or temples he said, he did not hear anything about it in Bhola. 'Besides beating some people and rape, there has no other incidents and cases have been filed on these incidents," he said.
1. We went to Dakkhin (South) Fulkachia Kalir Hat High School under Borhan Uddin police station at 12:35 p.m. We came to know that the Headmaster of that school Mr. Bidhu Bhushan know many people especially women and girls who were raped and many house looted, men beaten up, Hindu people left their homes and many other information. As we got a vehicle from the DC we could move faster from one place to another. We found that in the School there were 270 students and 10 teachers there. The Headmaster said that there were incidents of toll collection by the terrorists from the Hindus but other oppression has not been so extensive in South Fulkachia. In fact he gave us a list of women who were raped after the Oct. 1st election in Char Annada Prasha and Char Fatimabad. The names were as follows:
1. Archana Rani Das Wife of Nitta Lal Das Char Annada Prashad
2. Babita Rani Das D/O. Suddhannya Kumar Das "
3. Nihari Rani Das W/O Milon Kundu Das "
4. Charubala Das " Umesh Chandra Das "
5. Sodhobha Rani Das " Becharam Das "
6. Usha Rani Das " Hira Lal Das "
7. Madhabi Bala Das " Mohin Chandra Das "
8. Madhuri Bala Das " Khetra Mohon Das "
9. Gita Rani Das " Samiran Das "
10. Pryanka Bala Das D/O Becharam Das "
11. Surodhoni Bala Das W/O Brojobashi Das "
12. Kushum Bala Das " Porimol Kuman Das "
13. Bishnu Rani Das " Ramani Kuman Das "
14. Sulata Rani Das " Jabov Chandra Das "
15. Sabita Rani Das " Shri Das Chandra Das "
16. Shephali Rani Das " Subhash Bhadra Das "
17. Rita Bala Das D/O Gafur Chandra Das "
Md. Nashu Hawlader of South Fulkachia informed us that his paddy from his field, goat robbed off and house looted by the local hoodlums just because he has been involved with Awami League. It happened after the election. He is the father of four sons and two daughters. he is a very poor man and after losing his said property, he became helpless.
Mr. Nirob Kanti Roy (28), a science teacher of Dakkhin (South) Fulkachia Kalir Hat High School left for Dhaka on the next day of election and stayed there for 23 days. He escaped from his home because of communal problem in his area. After coming back he became the target and was mentally tortured by the local terrorists. He also did not give out the names of the terrorists through fear and said, "you will leave our area but we will have to survive here among them. If we give out their names and when they will attack us again, you will not protect us."
Mr. Sentu Majumdar (30) S/O. Dr. Jatindra Mohon Majumdar went to Kunjurhat Bazar on September 27, 2001 to buy medicine for his pharmacy where he sells medicine. While coming back home at around 11 a.m. when he reached at Bandharpul his medicine and all the money were taken away by one Shaheen (25) and his 8/9 associates. He was beaten up mercilessly. The terrorists were from the village Chokdash. Sentu went to the TNO of Borhan Uddin who suggested him to file a case against Shaheen and his associates. Mr. Sentu filed a case (No. 27/9/2001) and after the election, he was threatened to be killed if he did not withdraw the case. Then he left for South Tripura, India and stayed there 17 days and. During this period, his father Dr. Jatindra Mohon was pressurized to bring his son back from India otherwise, they said, he would be killed. Then Sentu came back on Dec. 7, 2001 and the terrorists forced him to withdraw the case. He did accordingly on the 7th day of his return just through fear of being killed.
Mr. Jitendra Majumder (54) S/O. Kalimohon Mojumder was beaten mercilessly by Noor Islam and his gang after the election in Gozaria. We have seen the cremation place of Jitendra and we spoke to his neighbors about how he died. The people of the locality informed that Jitendra's right arm and right leg were broken down at his home and then he was taken to Jessore District Hospital on November 26 where he died on Nov. 30. The doctor said that he died from heart failure. But the relatives said, he died from the beatings by Noor Islam and his gang. His right arm was broken and his others parts of his body severely injured. His death was due to beatings and not from hear failure, the eye-witnesses said. These information were given by Mr. Binod Kumar Das, the brother-in-law of the diseased Jitendra. Mr. Binod said when his brother Jitendra was in his bittel-nut's garden, 10/12 people attacked him and beat him severely. The terrorists wanted to kill him and pointed a pistol to his head. But later, instead of killing, they broke his arm and leg. He died on November 30, 2001. Noor Islam and his gang looted Jitendra's house, took away the rice, paddy, chicken, goats and cows and whatever they found. He did not file any case after he was beaten. After his death, his brother Binod filed a case on the beating/assault (Case No. 7, dated 11.12.2001). Noor Islam has been absconding from the time when Jitendra died. Police arrested Noor Islam's son to custody but later he was released. Jitendra's wife Shitoli Rani Majumdar also spoke with us and she was quite frightened when she was speaking. She was trying to escape us and was not willing to disclose the fact. But when all her neighbor and eye-witnesses told us the fact, Shitoli also joined them. Noor Islam is still absconding.
Kortarhat, Osmangonj under Char Fashon PS and Gozaria under Lalmohon Union
Amio Rani Das w/o Tikendra Chandra Das said one month after the election some miscreants wanted to enter her house at night. She has a daughter of class X named Shilpi Rani Das (15). They demanded Shilpi but before the election when atrocities on the minorities began, Amio Rani sent her daughter to her uncles' home at Dashkandi, far from her home. There she stayed for two months.
In the same compound there are seven families living close to each other and from all these families all the young school and college going girls were sent out of their village for protection. We spoke with Shilpi, Rekha, Suporna, and Momota, the SSC candidates of 2001 had to flee from their homes and could not appear for the SSC exams. They lost everything - books, papers - when the houses were looted. They want to continue their studies but their financial crisis is very bad. At the same time they all were scared till to date.
Sobha Rani Das (45) w/o Ranjan Kumar das and mother of Rekha said that around these places almost all the women were raped and all the houses were looted. She said, even a girl of 8 year old and 80 year old women could not escape the rapists.
Arati Bala Roy (35) w/o Sunil Kumar Roy said that Sobha Rani was taken out of the house one night after the election at around 3 a.m. and was gang raped by two men.
Sujola Rani Das (32) w/o. Abinash Kumar Das said that two parties came to their house. The Muslims around their village were there to protect them after the incident of looting and raping. The neighboring Muslims came rushing when they heard the Hindus crying. The first groups of people were the looters and they first looted the 'nakful' of the women. They went from room to room and house to house in search of nakfuls. They also took away the gold ornaments, chickens, ducks, goats, cow and whatever they found in the house. In fact when the Hindus realised that the miscreants were to attack their village, the women tried to hide in the garden and then to the paddy field. The miscreants normally attacked the village in the evening when it was dark. The women who went to the paddy field got bits of leeches and we could see the scars on the feet.
Sobha Rani (35) said the terrorists were demanding Tk 20,000 and said that that was 'reward for voting for Awami League' which they deserved. The terrorists said if not money, they will rape more women and girls. So if the Hindus wanted to stay in their homes they have to give this money to the terrorists, they said. But when the neighboring Muslims came, the terrorists fled away. The neighboring Muslims said that they will protect them and for several weeks the Muslims and Hindus guarded their villages at night.
Rita Rani Das (56) w/o Chitta Ranjon Das said on October 3, 2001 at around 7 p.m. about 30/35 people came to their village with arms and shouted demanding 20 thousand taka or anything they have in their houses. She, along with other women and girls went to the paddy field and stayed in the water for 5/6 hours until the terrorists were looting the houses.
On the second day after the election one Noor Islam (35) came during broad day light with some of his associates to that village and said " taka 10-30 thousand or 8-80 year old girls and women" should be supplied to him. He demanded chickens, ducks and goats. On that night he came back with the same group and looted everything and through fear of them the women fled away from their homes.
Sita Rani Das (32) said as soon as the Caretaker government came in power, there was a change among the Muslims in the neighboring areas. The behavior of some Muslims changed towards the women particularly. So they sent their daughters and young girls to far away villages.
Prokriti Das (34) w/o. Liton Kumar Das was gang raped by 10 men and beaten severely in front of her husband. She was then hospitalized.
North Char Fashon under Osmangonj Union (Ward No. 2)
Konika Das (24) w/o Boloram Das said, on October 3 her house was looted by a group of terrorists. They had local arms with them such as dao, long knife, sticks, etc. These miscreants visited the Hindu house almost everyday. They threatened the Hindus not to tell or report to the police or they will rape the women again. Konika said, the terrorists took away her nakful and demanded also the gold earrings. But she removed the earrings earlier for fear of these terrorists. She go severe beating and her husband too got beating.
Kollyani Das (30) w/o. Amar Chandra Das lost everything. The
looters entered her house and took away everything from the house
including rice, paddy and clothes, leaving nothing in the house.
The terrorists demanded her daughter who was sent out. Kollyani
informed the terrorists that her daughter got married. Then she
was brought out and raped in front of her husband and her husband
was beaten too.
Nirmola Das (30) w/o Bakul Chandra Das locked her house and fled both husband and wife. When the terrorists came they found no one in the house so they did no harm to them.
Shephali Rani Das (35) w/o. Sontosh Das said, on Oct. 3rd. some 20-25 people came to her house in the evening with a big torch and looted everything. They hid in the garden in the dark. When the looters left their house they came back. The looters again came at night and beat the husband and wife very severely with strong stick. Shephali showed her back where she was beaten and said, she still feel pain and cannot work normally. She said, not the same group came in the second time. It was a new group. She further said, the looters and terrorists who came were covered their mouths and body with clothes. So they could not identify who they were. They were in lungi and pants.
Brojendra Kumar Das (88), a very old man, cannot see neither hear properly, was attacked and beaten up very mercilessly on his back. We could see the scare when we visited him on 24 January 2002. He said while crying, "what did I do to these people who beat me so mercilessly? We have been living in this land for generations and we had never seen such atrocities what we saw this time. It was worse than in 1971. How can we live in this country? Other than this land where shall we go? This is our land where we were born and brought up..." he asked the criminals when they were beating him, "don't you have your father, mother or sister, daughter? Don't you have any heart? He said, the Hindus and the police were threatened by these terrorists not to file any case or receive any case from the Hindus. The police did nothing during that time against these terrorists, he said.
Shrimoti Bala Das (70), the wife of Brojendra Kumar Das said, the terrorists claimed themselves the activists of BNP. She also got beating by the terrorists when she went to save her old helpless husband. Sobha Rani said that not even Shrimoti Bala could escape from the rapists. Shrimoti was raped by one Md. Zafar of the same village at 1 a.m. on October 2nd.
Kobira (35) s/o Zabalek and brother of Shanu Mistri (well known in the area for his criminal activities) and all his 4/5 brothers raped Shephali and others in that house. Kobira's other brothers are Noor Islam, Hafiz and others unknown.
We met the Municipality Chairman (MC) and the acting Union Council Chairman (UC) Md. Enayet Kabir and Binod Bihari Pal respectively at the government Guest House in the evening. We also met very briefly one of the ministers who went there to visit the area on that day. But we had very long discussion on the minority issues with the above two persons. The MC Md. Kabir said, the situation was never so bad but immediately after the election there was a very little trouble. He said, "there is no terrorism now anywhere and only in one day some vested group tried to create problem for the Hindus." He said, "recently I went to visit 30 families and gathered all 30 heads of the families in one place and talked to them." He said, the first arrested person was a son of a BNP leader. When we asked whether there would be any agitation when the local Muslims will celebrate the 'Babri Mosque' event in February, he said, there will not happen anything. We said the people were speaking about it and were afraid.
OC Abdul Quyium Sikdar, Borhan Uddin police station: We arrived
at this police station at 8:30 p.m. He was waiting for us and
was very cooperative. When Adv. Rabindra Ghosh spoke about some
specific cases we got from the ASP he showed us the list of cases
he has under his jurisdiction. There were some differences between
the numbers and sections we got from the ASP and his. We asked
about a specific case of one Mr. Jitendra Mohon Das, the OC said,
Jitendra and Noor Islam had long dispute over a land and on this
ground Jitendra might be harassed after the election.
At Borhan Uddin PS we found a case filed (Case No. 11, dated : 7.10.2001, Sect. 143, 448, 323, 379, 380) by Eka Rani w/o Sukhoranjan Das of Chokdosh under Borhan Uddin PS. There were 11 accused : (1-3) Md. Abu Taher, Awalad Hussain and Shahi Alam s/o. Mozammel Haq, (4 & 5) Md. Shakku and Md. Haris s/o Bazlur Rahma, (6) Sentu Sarder s/o Shajahan Sarder, (7) Md. Kasem s/o Wahab Ali, (8) Md. Alamgir s/o Deen Mohammad, (9) Md. Shongu s/o Dula Miah, (10 & 11) Abdur Razzak and Shajahan s/o Md. Kanchon Miah. The OC said, the investigation was going on and soon the charge sheets would be submitted.
North Char Fashon - Kortar Hat
We met and spoke with the following women at the Mahajan Bari
1. Prokriti Rani Das w/o Liton Das
2. Rikta Rani Das w/o Subrata Das
3. Shobha Rani Das w/o Niranjan Kumar Das
4. Shephali Rani Das w/o Sontosh Kumar Das
5. Jhorna Rani Das w/o Sunil Kumar Das
· At the Poddar Bari in Doshonath village under Aligao Mouza, Aslampur Union in Kortar Hat, there were decoity three times between October 2nd and November 11th.
6. Uzala Rani Das d/o Dulal Kormaker was raped and later committed suicide through shame and fear of further rape. She was from Char Tofazzal village under Dularhat Nurabad Union Char.
7. Shephali Das w/o Sudhir Chandra Das from Dashkandi village under Char Fashon PS, Jinnagar Union;
8. Pryobala Das, mother of Subir Chandra Das was killed by suffocation.
We finished for the day and went to the hotel at around 11 p.m.
January 25, 2002
Today Adv. Rabindra Ghosh and I went to Lalmohon leaving behind Adv. Jagadish Chandra Sarker in Bhola. We first went to the OC of Lalmohon Police Station (PS), Md. Fazlul Karim. He was informed on the previous day about our visit and was ready to meet us. He showed some cases of which he is the complainant because the victims (Hindus) did not file any case after the incident of oppression occurred. He showed two cases where he is the complainant. He did it after he joined on November 20, 2001. The previous OC filed 5 cases and he filed 2. One accused had been arrested and 2 charge-sheeted.
He said, 5 out of 10 accused in the case of Shephali have been arrested and very soon charge-sheets will be submitted.
Four persons have been arrested in the case of Sujata Rani
Case (Case No. 12). He said one Bishnu Pryia and Sujata were gang
raped. The accused confessed, he said.
We asked him if he could recommend any place to visit. He said, it will be very useful and good if we could visit Fatemabad and Char Annada Prashad. He also said, one small girl was raped in Annada Prashad and it might be hard for us to move freely. So he arranged for two policemen (one in dress and with a rifle and the other in plain clothe with a walkie talkie). He said, "normally the Hindus don't want to say where their women and girls are and what had happened to them. They say their daughters are in India but in most cases the girls are in the next door. This they say just for their safety."
The OC Md. Fazlul admitted that :
- Chitta Ranjan's case from Fatemabad is a true case. It was a looting case and 9 persons were involved in this case. Five have been arrested;
- Anil Chandra Das of the same place lodged a looting case where 16 persons were accused and out of them 3 have been arrested;
- Shephali Bala Das from Annada Prashad lodged a rape case without naming any accused. But there were two suspected and both have been arrested.
- Another case on tresspass and looting (Case No. 18, Dated: November 20, 2001 and case No. 19, dated: November 28, 2001) was filed;
- Dr. Ram Krishna Majumder's house was broken and looted on October 2 and the OC of Nabagram Zahajmara was the complainant of this case. Two were suspected as accused but no name was given in the FIR by the victims. In this regard two persons have been arrested, he said.
- Another case was filed: Case No. 36 in Char Fashon. In this case two Hindu young men are the accused. The complainant said to the Hindus, "you are lodging case after case against us. We also will show you how feel.
The Fact : Char Piaramohon under Lalmohon PS. One Kohinur Begum was coming back from Char Fashon to Fatemabad on the evening of December 26 with Jalal and Liton. When they reached near a club at Aslampur, the club members Saiful and Shaheen took Kohinur in the club and raped her. Kohinur's uncle rescued her from the club on the same day and Jala and Liton were set free. Next day Saiful, Mizan and Babul stopped Prodip s/o Bhagirath and Putul Rani Das when he was coming back from Char Fashon. They demanded money from Prodip. But he could not give. He was first beaten up severely and then handed over to the police on allegation of raping Kohinur on the previous night. Prodip is in the jail now and he is still very sick from the beating he got. His parents were crying bitterly and asking to release their son Prodip. In fact Kohinur filed a rape case on the following day of her rape incident.
Mr. Bhagirath and Putul Rani informed us that the Muslims in Annada Prashad said, "the Hindus are lodging rape cases against the Muslims and we want to give them a lesson." Putul Rani claimed her son was falsely accused and a victims of revenge. He is innocent and requested us to help to releaseher son Prodip. She said, Mizan went to her house and asked for her husband. Putul asked the reason why he was searching for her husband Bhagirath. Mizan, instead of saying the reason said, if she does not tell about his whereabouts, he threatened to occupy her lands.
When we went to the Lalmohon OC, he also admitted that it might be a case of revenge and he said, he would try to see the matter carefully.
Sudarshan Kumar Das (70) was beaten in Annada Prashad. Swapan Kumar Das's land at Char Verimohon under Lord Hardinj used to be cultivated by one Rafiqul Islam s/o Ara Miah. Rafiqul used to take the land on contract for two years. This year also he did the contract and gave money to Swapan Das. He cultivated the land but after the election on October 1st. the people of Mr. Kabir, the Municipality chairman stopped Rafiqul to go to this land to collect his crops. They said that those lands were vested property and not of Swapan. Md. Kabir's people filed a case against Swapan in this regard and Swapan has been absconding from his home through fear of arrest.
We found a Hindu house allegedly illegally occupied a Muslim family. We went to ask the woman who was residing in that house who allotted them the house. She said, her name was Mohinur w/o Md. Siraj Miah and one Md. Aby Sayed and Md. Kalu Miah allowed them to stay here. Before coming to this house, she said, she used to stay in her father's house. Mohinur said, she did not know what to do.
In this regard Mohim Chandra Das informed us that this house belong to Aison Chandra Das who left the house and went to India just before the election through fear of attack and oppression. As soon as Aison left the house empty, Md Abu Sayed and Kalu Miah occupied tham and put their fives in this house. This statement also was justified by Mohinur, who was residing in the house on that day. Siraj was out to work. We did not get him in to have his statement. Mohinur said, Abu Sayed is the main person behind this matter and he told Siraj and Mohinur not to leave the house in any case.
When we asked Mr. Binod Bihari Pal at Annada Prashad he said that Mohim Chandra sold the land to Abu Sayed for Tk. 20 thousand and Sayed sold it to Siraj for Tk. 5,000. Mohinur did not mention about buying this land at all. rather she told us repeatedly that she and her family was allowed to stay in that house for a temporary period and when Siraj would be able to build his own house, he will leave this one.
Pushpa rani at char Verimohon lost her gold nakful. She said
one Kamrul, grandchild of Chawdhury came to her house in the evening
of October 2nd and took away the nakful. On this day 5/6 people
entered Pushpa's house in the evening headed by Kamrul and about
25/30 people were standing behind the house. Pushpa along was
in the house. She sent away the men and children especially the
young girls to another house crossing the canal. Kamrul demanded
taka five thousand. Pushpa said she did not have that much money.
So he took away the nakful. She was also raped by these men.
Dipali Rani Das w/o Brojendra Chandra Das in Annada Prashad said that a 7-year old girl was raped by the terrorists after the election.
Mr. Puban Chandra Das said that many women were raped in this
area. He mentioned Sabita, Rita, Shephali, Konika and many other.
We met with the Sub-Inspector Sayed Harun-Ur-Rashid at the Char Annada Prashad temporary police camp at Gunomoni Bazar. He was transferred to this camp one month ago. This camp was set up on October 6, 2001 when the situation was very tense.
Ashutosh Das, Uion Council Member said that there were extensive lootings and raping the women and girls went on including an 8-year old girl in that village following the election on Oct. 1st. He said, Rita Rani Das (8) d/o Gopal Krishna Das was gang raped led by Saleem.
We met Ananta Kumar Das (91) in Annada Prashas who said 10/12 people entered in his house on the next day of the election and kicked him on the floor, beat him mercilessly. He fell down and these people kicked him, beat him and hurt him badly. He showed his back where he was beaten. He said his house was looted four times by four different gangs. Now he is completely helpless and moneyless. He showed his right hand fingers which were chopped by some sharp knife.
There were many Muslim men standing and one of them said that the atrocities happened only one day and after that he distributed 150 sarees to the Hindu victim women and some lungi to the men. He claimed that all the victims got some help from him. But Ananta said that he did not get anything.
Char Annada Prashad
We found three children raped and gang raped. The scenario is very pathetic to see how the small child Rita was raped who does not even understand what had happened to her. What a trauma she got! She only knows that Saleem and his friends did "bad works" on her. She remembers that when she got back her sense after about three hours, she saw blood in her legs. She remembers that she was taken from the garden where she was with other women and children hiding there. But Saleem came leading a group of 15/16 people and snatched her away from among them, dragged her to a paddy field. Saleem removed her pant and laid her on the ground, put his penis into her and then she lost her sense. Rita Rani Das (8) d/o Pinku and Gauranga Kumar Das is a very smart and intelligent girl of class III.
Rita said she was hidden in a house at Bentar Bari with 30-40 women and girls that night. When the terror gang came all of them began to run away from that house and hide in the garden. But she and her mother were behind in the darkness. Saleem bahini caught her and her mother, separated them and took them to different places. She said Saleem (19) and another man caught her and took her to the paddy field. She said she bleeded for three days even when she was in the hospital.
Konika Das (12) d/o Nitai Chandra and Bashanti Rani Das, and Shikha Bala Das (13) d/o Khitish Chandra and Sumitra Devi Das were also gang raped on the night of October 2, 2001. They were at a relatives' house together but when the terrorists attacked that house they ran away from there to a garden in the dark. The rapists went in that garden and caught them and took them to a nearby paddy field, raped them. They were in different places.
Shikha was hidden in a garden from where she was caught and taken to a paddy field and raped. She can remember one man raping her whose mouth was covered. She could not recognise the person. This man took her in the field, removed her pant, laid her on the ground and began to rape her. She could not say how long she was raped because she lost her sense. When she got back her sense, she found herself in blood. Her case was not reported to the police. When we went to the OC at Lalmohon, he admitted about the rape of Rita and not of the other two.
At this time one Abul Kashem Hazi (65) from Lord Hardinj came and reported that he has a house attached to the Lord Hardinj Bazar where he has been residing for the last 50 years or more. "This morning (25.1.02), he said, Motaleb Munshi, Abdul Mannan and Jalil cut down his trees from his court-yard, and were building a new house. His three sons were arrested by the police on the previous night. He requested us to help him. I told this to the acting member of the Union Council Mr. Binod Bihari Pal who was present there. But Mr. pal cited the illegal occupants and said that 50 years ago Mutaleb Munshi bought this land and now he wants to build his house there. It is his land. But I said, nobody buys a land and leave without occupying for 50 years in anywhere in Bangladesh. Not even for five years anybody would keep his land under the occupation of someone without any notification. Mr. Pal said that there is a case in the court and according to the court decision the ownership will be settled.
Shephali Rani Das (30) w/o Subash Chandra Das sent their two children (son and daughter) to India before the trouble started.
Shephali reported to us that Mahedul Haq (45) UP member of Burircahr came to her this morning (25.1.02) and asked for her husband's whereabouts. She said that he went to Bhuiyar Char Bazar and she wanted to know what was the reason for this search. Mahedul said that he wanted to know how three brothers could rape her (In fact she was raped by three brothers). Saiful (35) s/o Osman Gani, Saheen (25) s/o Rafiq, and his two other brothers raped Shephali on October 2. Mahedul demanded that the case should be withdrawn and release three brothers (3 sons of Rafiq). Subash Chandra filed a rape case against 8 persons including these three brothers.
Swapna rani Das (28) w/o Hori Das was raped by 4 persons : Moslem Uddin, father unknown, Salauddin father unknown, Khalil Miah s/o Abu Dorbesh from Fatemabagh under Lalmohon PS and one person unknown. On the election day Swapna and Hori went out of their home. On the way to home Swapna was snatched away from Hori and in front of Hori these people raped her. Neither Swapna nor Hori could file any case with the police through fear of further threat or death.
This morning (25.1.02) the criminals went to their house and threatened them not to tell anybody about this incident. "If disclosed they would be attacked again," warned the criminals. It is to be noted here that these criminals came to know about our visit to Bhola and they knew that our team was going to visit the victims. So these men and women were warned and threatened.
In fact there are still a lot of good people everywhere. Anil Chandra Das (80), an ex UP member of Lond Hardinj testified how extensive and grave the situation was there immediately after the election on October 1st. Another UP member Md. Mahamudul Haq also testified the fact.
Alo Rani Das (30) reported that all her property have been looted and now she has nothing in the house.
We also found several houses illegally occupied by the Muslims who claimed that they bought those house and lands. But in fact we feel that this was the opportunity for the vested group to occupy the land when the Hindus left their homes or lands and hid themselves due to communal oppression.
We brought with us Rita, Shikha and Konica for rehabilitation and education. They need to be cured from the trauma they got from the incident. Adv. Rabindra Ghosh arranged with some orphanage to keep them there and find some generous sponsors who could bear all their educations expenses. Keeping this matter of rehabilitation in our minds we asked the parents and the girls if they were willing to send their daughters to Dhaka they all agreed to send and the children agreed to come. Then we took them to the Lalmohon police station, reported to the OC that we were taking the three girls for rehabilitation to Dhaka. We gave him written and he said, "if they can be rehabilitated and educated, it will be a very good decision."
We three left for Dhaka with Rita, Konika and Shikha by launch the same night and now the three girls are under the custody of Adv. Rabindra Ghosh for rehabilitation.
Human Rights Coordinator
Hotline (Human Rights) Bangladesh
January 29, 2002