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Bangladesh riots evokes fear among West Bengal border villagers

South Dinajpur (West Bengal), Mar. 3 (ANI): Villagers in West Bengal’s South Dinajpur District have expressed fears about cross-border violence, after riots struck neighbouring Bangladesh.

Haripukru Village is one such village where these fears are being aired frequently.

“A civil war has started in their country. Violence can strike our village during night-time. We are very afraid of this. We are constantly worrying about this. We arte reading newspapers, watching news on television sets to know what is happening there,” said Nipendera Nath Mandal, a local.

Muslim residents said they were relying on the Border Security Force personnel to protect them in case of any skirmishes. However, they claimed that the cross-border violence had not hit the village yet.

“There are reports about violence in Bangladesh. Mosques and temples are being ruined. We are till present unaffected by these riots. But if anything occurs here, we will inform our border security personnel,” Ravi Islam, another local.

A Bangladeshi Islamist party leader, Delwar Hossain Sayedee, was sentenced to death on Thursday over abuses carried out during the country’s independence war, triggering riots that killed at least 30 people.

Sayedee, 73, vice-president of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, was found guilty by the Bangladesh War Crimes Tribunal of mass killing, rape, arson, looting and forcing minority Hindus to convert to Islam during the 1971 war of separation from Pakistan, lawyers and tribunal officials said.

After he was convicted and sentenced, police clashed with activists from Sayedee’s party and violence raged in more than a dozen areas around the country, police, witnesses and media reports said.

At least three policemen were among the dead and around 300 were wounded, they added.

Protesters, who said the verdict was politically motivated, set fire to a Hindu temple and several houses in southern Noakhali region, reporters said. In the southeastern region of Cox’s Bazar, they attacked a police camp, killing one.

Two policemen were killed when Islamists stormed a police station at Sundarganj in northern Gaibandha district, police said. “We have been virtually besieged. It’s a horrible situation,” station officer Manzur Rahman told Reuters.

Members of the religious party – known simply as Jamaat – called for a national strike on Sunday and Monday, raising fears of more violence. Sayedee was the third senior party member convicted by the tribunal. (ANI)