South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

About 250 families of the Christian community in Chatmohar and Harirampur areas of Pabna district were subject to cruelty and torture of the wining party activists after the 8th parliamentary election in 2001.

The hooligans looted the belongings of the families, damaged properties and set fire on many of their houses forcing them to leave their paternal land.

Chairman of the inquiry commission formed by the government to probe into the post-election violence in 2001 and former district judge Sahabuddin told BSS yesterday after returning from Pabna.

The government formed the three-member commission at the beginning of this year and started its work on February 2.

The commission issued a notification requesting people to extend all out help to the commission in terms of providing necessary evidence and testimony.

Two other members of the committee are Additional DIG Meer Shahidul Islam and Deputy Secretary Monwar Hossain Akhand.

The commission visited Pabna on April 9 and recorded testimony of six witnesses about the incidents in which one person died and many others injured.

“There are many eyewitnesses of the incidents but none is interested to give any deposition in fear,” the chairman said adding, “however, we have recorded submission of six witnesses.”

“A group of terrorists came to our locality on September 30, 2001 and threatened us not to go to polling centre on October 1,” the chairman said quoting one eyewitness.

“Braving all fears and horrors we went to the polling centre to cast our votes which BNP and Jamaat workers did not take easily,” he said.

On October 3, 2001, several hundred BNP and Jamaat activists in broad daylight stormed into the houses of Christian community at Falaijana village with firearms and long sticks.

“Many people tried to escape, but none, even the children, elderly persons and women could not escape their attack. Hundreds of people witnessed the incident, but none dared to protest,” another witness said.

Later, a team of 10 European envoys and the than Leader of the Opposition and incumbent Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited the affected village and became stunned seeing the dreadful situation, the chairman said as recalling by a witness.

The inquiry commission will visit Bhola, Patuakhali, Jhalkathi, Pirojpur, Bagerhat and Gopalnganj to have deposition of the victims of the areas where minorities were mostly tortured and intimidated after 2001 election because of their political belief.


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