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2001 Post-election Violence In Barisal

2001 Post-election Violence In Barisal

Author: Rafiqul Islam, Barisal
Publication: The Daily Star
Date: May 13, 2009
URL: http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=88025

Govt orders reinvestigation

The Hindu community in the Barisal region have not forgotten the horrible night before the eighth parliamentary election in 2001.

The cadres of former BNP lawmakers swooped on them with lethal weapons, assaulted women and forced them to stay inside their residences because the Hindu community are considered the vote bank of Awami League.

Home Ministry has recently ordered police to reinvestigate the allegations about the violence on that night and post-election violence in October 2001.

Police has also started investigating into the incidents accordingly, sources said.

The home ministry has also sought information about the role of police officials of concerned police stations, DIG and district police office, sources said.

The letters would be sent to other police stations gradually after scrutinising the allegations and information about leaving the area or country by the affected minority people would also be checked, they said.

The people of minority community in Barisal are usually not allowed to cast their votes for long as they are considered the vote bank of Awami League.

There is no official estimate how many Hindu voters are in the district.

But related sources say 45 percent of the voters in Barisal-1, 30 percent in Barisal-2, and about 5 percent each in Barisal 3, 4, and 6 constituencies are Hindus.

Another source says there are around 30,000 Hindu voters in Barisal-5.

The Hindus said those who dared to start for the polling centres were blocked on the way and beaten up irrespective of gender.

Anil Chandra Dey, a voter of Suktagar, who made it to the polling centre, was stripped off his clothes in a public gathering during a victory meeting of BNP the next day, they added.

One of the BNP cadres - Shahjahan Omar - was so cruel that even the poorest of the Hindus had to pay his cadres tolls before the wedding ceremony of their daughters to save them from being dragged away from the bridal stage.

Many of the Hindus at Agoiljhara, where the post election violence against minority people happened mostly, fled to other places and some even left the country.

Suktagar and Agoiljhara are not the only places where the Hindus were suppressed before or after the elections.

Sources said Galachipa Police Station in Patuakhali and Nalchhiti Police Station in Jhalakati have already received orders for reinvestigation of three cases of alleged post-election violence.

But Zakir Hossain, officer-in-charge of Agoiljhara Police Station, has not received any letter of reinvestigation.

GM Azizur Rahman, police super of Bhola district where many post-election violence took place, also said he had not received any letter of reinvestigation yet.

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