Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Friday expressed concern over the vandalism of temples during Durga Puja celebrations in Bangladesh, but said he remains confident that the government led by Sheikh Hasina will take action against the culprits. The Trinamool Congress and civil society bodies also said those who are involved in the violence should be brought to book and steps taken to protect the Hindu community in Bangladesh.
Speaking to reporters, Deb said, “Such incidents, no matter wherever they happen, are a matter of great sorrow. I have full confidence in the Bangladeshi government and PM Sheikh Hasina. I’m sure that she will take proper action against the people who are behind these incidents,” he said.
Meanwhile, a civil society led by former Tripura University vice-chancellor Professor Arunoday Saha Saturday met Bangladesh Assistant High Commissioner Md. Jobayed Hosen in Agartala and submitted a memorandum demanding protection for Hindu communities there.
A statement released by the civil society body read, “Though Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has given instructions for strict actions against communal hatemongers, increasing communal violence there is an attack on the consciousness and ideals of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. We condemn these incidents and demand that the government of Bangladesh take immediate steps for protection of faith, culture and property of religious minorities there.”
The Tripura Trinamool Congress committee also condemned the incidents of vandalism in Bangladesh but expressed dismay at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “silence” on the matter.
Speaking to reporters, Tripura TMC convener Subal Bhowmik said, “The Bangladesh government hasn’t been active in taking action against the culprits. And surprisingly, there wasn’t any statement from our Prime Minister. Had our Prime Minister taken up the matter immediately, they would have taken stern steps”.
Ganatantrik Oikya Mancha, another civil society body, also condemned the incidents of vandalism, stating, “We were not surprised but anguished at the incident in Comilla of Bangladesh. This is because such condemnable incidents will keep happening wherever religious fundamentalists will be there, anywhere, any time in the world. All people with goodwill should unite against religious fundamentalism, irrespective of party or ideology, corner them and reveal their true agenda in public.”
A Muslim religious leader based in Agartala also called for strong action against those who are behind the incidents of vandalism. “Whoever are behind these incidents don’t have the basic sense of humanity, let along being religious. I hope that the Bangladesh government will take strict and exemplary action there to save our Hindu brethren,” the leader said.
Tripura shares a 856km-long international border with Bangladesh and is surrounded by the neighbouring country on three sides. Akhaura, Brahmanbaria, Comilla, Feni and Sylhet are some of the major Bangaldeshi towns which are close to the border while Dhaka is just 120 km away from Agartala.
Tripura had sheltered many East Pakistani refugees during the 1971 Liberation War.