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Bangladesh: Hindu Households Ignited in Nasirnagar due to a Facebook Post that kindled Communal Tension

The unrest caused is a result of a Facebook post by a local youth, Rasraj Das, which was considered defamatory

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Bangladesh, November 5, 2016: Amidst the tension and chaos over the attacks on Hindu community, anonymous assailants incinerate five houses in Nasirnagar upazila of Brahmanbaria district in Bangladesh on Friday. The attacks took place around 3AM and then around 6:30PM.

The razed homes were in the villages of Banikpara, Jaynagar Pashchimpara and Hashpatalpara. The houses were lighted up around 3am but there were no casualties or injuries. The villagers from these neighboring villages said, the fire started in sheds and kitchens. The next attack was around 6:30pm in Chotipara under the Gukorno union.

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A respected resident, Manoranjan Banik told Dhaka Tribune about the close call he had with the fire in his household in Banikpara. He says that he has never felt such helplessness in his life. The attack happened a while after they had returned from a funeral, his daughter told Dhaka Tribune.

In Hashpatalpara, a son alerted his family after discovering a fire in the kitchen which was next to his room. He told Dhaka tribune that he woke up on smelling fire and then alerted everyone in the house.

On investigating the scenes, the Upazila Nirbahi Officer Chowdhury Md Moazzem Hossain said that although 11 homes were burnt, the crimes took place in 5 of them out of which one had a shrine.

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The unrest caused is a result of a Facebook post by a local youth, Rasraj Das, which was considered defamatory. The attacks occurred even after Das apologized and claimed that his account had been hacked. The assaults were incited by mosques which announced through megaphones in their areas telling the people how a Hindu had defamed the Holy Kaaba. The locals told the Dhaka Tribune that they heard declarations in several villages out of which Norpur, Asurain and Phulpur are home to Muslim radicals.

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The escalating violence has left the people distraught. They fear that the next wave of attacks might be a direct hit on their lives instead of their households or properties. Many families have relocated or crossed the border after the attacks. The ones who have not are caged inside their homes because of the terror of attacks. The Hindus who did not flee during the 1971 Liberation War after many of them were slaughtered now think it was their last chance to escape and save themselves.

– prepared by Shivam Thaker of NewsGram. Twitter: @Shivam_Thaker

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Triple Talaq Now Banned In India

While most Hindu personal laws have been overhauled and codified over the years, Muslim laws have been left to religious authorities and left largely untouched.

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India
Indian Muslim women talk while walking through a market in Ahmadabad, India. VOA

India’s government on Wednesday approved an ordinance to implement a top court ruling striking down the Muslim practice that allows men to instantly divorce.

The government decision came after it failed to get approval of Parliament a year after the court ruled that the practice of triple “talaq” violated the constitutional rights of Muslim women.

Most of the 170 million Muslims in India are Sunnis governed by the Muslim Personal Law for family matters and disputes. The laws include allowing men to divorce by simply uttering the Arabic word “talaq,” or divorce, three times — and not necessarily consecutively, but at any time, and by any medium, including telephone, text message or social media post.

Muslim
Triple Talaq continues to plague lives of  women, VOA News

The government will have another six months to get Parliament’s approval for the ordinance to become law. But in the meantime, suspects can be prosecuted using the ordinance.

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that nearly 22 countries, including neighboring Pakistan and Bangladesh, have banned the practice and appealed to the opposition to approve the Muslim Women Protection of Rights on Marriage Bill.

India’s Muslim Law Board had told the court that while they considered the practice wrong, they opposed any court intervention and asked that the matter be left to the community. But several progressive Muslim activists decried the law board’s position.

Muslim
Muslim women hold placards during a protest against a bill passed by India’s lower house of Parliament last week that aims at prosecuting Muslim men who divorce their wives through the “triple talaq,” or instant divorce. VOA

After the Supreme Court verdict, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government introduced a bill criminalizing the practice and it was approved in December by the lower house of Parliament, where his party commands a majority. But it couldn’t get the approval of the upper house, where the opposition controls the majority of seats.

The main opposition Congress party is opposing a three-year prison sentence for the offenders and wants a parliamentary committee to discuss the issue to reach a consensus. It favors a lesser sentence.

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In India, triple talaq has continued with the protection of laws that allow Muslim, Christian and Hindu communities to follow religious laws in matters like marriage, divorce, inheritance and adoption. While most Hindu personal laws have been overhauled and codified over the years, Muslim laws have been left to religious authorities and left largely untouched. (VOA)