Federal Member of Australian Parliament Jullian Leeser has called on the Bangladeshi Government to take more action to protect its citizens after the recent attacks on minority Hindus in the country.
Liberal MP Julian Leeser raised concerns about the persecution of Hindus in Bangladesh.
He said recent celebrations of the Hindu festival of Durga Puja had been overshadowed by the atrocities perpetrated by the violent extremists fuelled by social media misinformation.
“In recent days, there have been widespread reports of killings, sexual violence, arson against homes and businesses owned by Hindus in the desecration of temples. Human rights groups in Bangladesh have documented 3679 attacks against Hindus in Bangladesh since 2013. However, the Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council says that the number could be much higher than that,” said Mr Leeser.
Mobs attacked Hindus at several places in Bangladesh during the Durga Puja festivities after social media claimed desecration of the Quran at one of the Puja Pandals.
Hindus constitute less than 9% of the country’s 165 million population. The wave of violent attacks left at least six people, including two Hindu men, dead.
Taking swift action, Bangladesh police has arrested more than 650 people, including the key suspects Shaikat Mandal and Rabiul Islam.
Police has filed more than 70 cases accusing 24,000 suspects, most of whom were anonymous.
“Nobody will be spared. It doesn’t matter which religion they belong to. They will be hunted down and punished,” warned Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during a virtual interaction with members of the Hindu community to mark Durga Puja.
Many Human Rights organizations, students and civil society activists have rallied in support of Hindus. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League party also organized a rally in the capital Dhaka last week. Ruling Awami League plans a series of rallies over the next two weeks after one of the country’s worst bouts of religious violence.
South Asian Diaspora organisations have also condemned the violence against minorities in Bangladesh.
“We understand these attacks as part of a growing trend of violence against minorities across South Asia. From Afghanistan to Pakistan to India to Sri Lanka, we have seen how a rise in majoritarian politics and misinformation spread via social media is directly connected to increasing attacks on marginalised communities. Moreover, we know violence in these countries is mutually reinforcing; attacks on a minority in one country often trigger counter-attacks in another,” read a statement signed by 27 organisations, including Hindus for Human Rights and The Humanism Project in Australia.