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Church \ Church in Asia

Bangladesh: Minorities fear even as the Premier resolves to control terror

Soldiers take their positions near the Holey Artisan restaurant after Islamist militants attacked the upscale cafe in Dhaka, Bangladesh, July 2, 2016 - REUTERS

Soldiers take their positions near the Holey Artisan restaurant after Islamist militants attacked the upscale cafe in Dhaka, Bangladesh, July 2, 2016 - REUTERS

02/07/2016 13:02

(Vatican Radio) "After the attack in Dhaka, we are very concerned about the growth of terrorism. These terrorist acts are damaging the country and its image abroad. The situation we are experiencing is really difficult": says to Agenzia Fides Fr. Dilip Costa, Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Bangladesh, commenting on the latest episode that has shaken the country.

Special forces put an end to the actions of a terrorist group that was holding several foreigners hostage in a restaurant in Dhaka. 20 foreigners have died and several wounded. "Most of (the hostages) were killed mercilessly by sharp weapons last night," Army Brigadier General Naim Asraf Chowdhury said, before the siege began on Saturday. Six of the attackers were killed by Bangladeshi forces, ending an over 10-hour standoff. A terrorist was caught alive, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced on Saturday.

"It is true that most Muslims condemn acts such as this and that radical groups are a minority. But there are dangers and we Christians can feel the dangers, because there have also been attacks on Christian sites and missionaries. the government says it will do its best, but apparently it is not enough to stop them. We do not know how direct and concrete the relationship of local violent radical groups is with the Islamic State in the Middle East, but certainly this is a risk we run", adds the Director of PMS.

Christian institutions are protected by the police, but "all minorities live in a state of fear and we do not know where this precarious situation will lead the nation. As Christians we pray and we continue our mission especially with social works", he concludes.

“Since the beginning of the year, almost 20 people have been killed,” a Catholic source, anonymous for security reasons, recently told AsiaNews. “No one is targeted in particular; however, extremists seem to want to destabilise the country.” In recent months, ordinary people as well as Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and the wife of the Chittagong police chief, have become the victims of violence.

The latest case occurred on Friday when unidentified attackers stabbed and critically wounded a Hindu priest in southwest Bangladesh today, just a day after a Hindu temple worker was hacked to death in an attack by suspected terrorists. Police said 48-year-old priest Bhabasindhu Roy of the Sri Sri Radha Gobinda Temple in Satkhira district was attacked inside the temple compound as he slept.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday, said she is determined to eradicate terrorism in Bangladesh. "It was an extremely heinous act. What kind of Muslims are these people? They don't have any religion," she said in a televised speech. "People must resist these terrorists. My government is determined to root out terrorism and militancy from Bangladesh," she reiterated. 

02/07/2016 13:02