Saturday 28 May 2022
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Iskcon of Bangladesh facing recurring Islamic attacks seeks help from India

The Vishva Hindu Parishad and Indresh Kumar of Muslim Rashtriya Manch of the RSS have thrown their weights behind the plea of Iskcon of Bangladesh

As Hindus in and around the Radhakanta temple in Dhaka are still apprehensive two days after a mob of over 500 radical Muslims attacked the shrine of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon) on the night of 17 March when devotees were preparing for Holi Purnima celebrations, the Bangladesh chapter of the organisation has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene in the matter and help them, adding that Bangladesh Prime Minister was already “trying to help” them.

“We are still scared. Through you, we request your (Indian) government to help us. Our (Bangladesh) prime minister is trying to help us too. We request both the prime ministers to help us,” Iskcon medical officer Rasmani Keshavdas told an Indian news agency today.

Islamists in Bangladesh had attacked Iskcon previously during Durga Puja 2021 too.

Keshavdas, who is also an eyewitness to the attack, said one Haji Shafiullah had been threatening them for years to leave the temple premises. “He had offered us money too. One of his men, Ishraf Sufi, had even given us life threats,” Keshavdas told news agency ANI, adding the two led the mob of 500-600 people on Thursday night and vandalised the boundary wall of the temple.

Iskcon says that the shrine is a ten-minute walk from their main temple in Dhaka. “The men tried to forcibly occupy a parcel of land owned by Iskcon Bangladesh, adjacent to the smaller temple on Lalmohan Saha Street. We were using the land for storage and plan to develop it in the future,” a report by the international society quoted Jagatguru Gaurangadasa, Iskcon co-regional secretary for Bangladesh.

Iskcon says that the men showed up with three large trucks and began looting the property. “Local police were called and showed up about 30 minutes later.”

Keshavdas said two Iskcon devotees were hit when they tried to stop the mob. “They continued vandalising the wall even after the police came. The goons are still threatening us with dire consequences if we meet someone for help,” said Keshavdas, alleging that the men had support from the local police who have not arrested anyone yet.

“The police do not want to listen to us. They have asked us to leave the temple premises but it is ours,” said the Iskcon member, adding they were given little security after the complaint two nights ago. “Right now, 10 police personnel are deployed here.”

The two injured were admitted to a hospital where their condition was reported to be “slightly better”.

VHP, RSS condemn Iskcon temple

Meanwhile, condemning the on the Iskcon temple in Dhaka, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has called on the Bangladeshi government to take measures to ensure the safety of the minority Hindus in the country. The VHP has also urged the Government of India to take cognisance of the incident.

“The on the Iskcon temple in Dhaka on the eve of Holi is very worrying, condemnable and exposes the true colours of the claims of human rights abuses and Islamophobia,” the VHP said in a tweet in Hindi, taking a dig at the United Nations Assembly adopting the resolution to mark 15 March as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia.

RSS national member and of Muslim Rashtriya Manch head Indresh Kumar today urged India to intervene in the matter, saying the Sheikh Hasina government has “completely failed” in protecting the minority Hindus there. He also appealed to the INC and all other opposition parties to condemn the incident rising above “politics of religion and caste” and join New in building pressure on Dhaka to stop attacks on Hindus, which he said continues to remain “unabated” in the neighbouring country.

Kumar, founder and chief patron of Muslim Rashtriya Manch, also called upon the “Muslim society” to condemn the attack.

The High Commission of India is in touch with the Bangladeshi authorities following the incident.

The temple on the eve of Holi took place months after a series of attacks on Durga Puja pandals and another Iskcon temple in Bangladesh last October.

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