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Six Years from Bomb Attack on Church in Bangladesh and No Justice

You are free to disseminate the following news. We request that you reference ICC (International Christian Concern) and include our web address Contact Jeremy Sewall, Policy Analyst, 1-800-ICC (422)-5441, [email protected].

(August 27, 2007) The Washington , DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that the victims of a jihad attack 6 years ago in Bangladesh have still not received justice from the government.

450 people held a candlelight vigil on June 3, 2007 to mark the sixth anniversary of a tragic bomb attack at the Roman Catholic Church of Baniarchar in Bangladesh that killed 10 people. While the church has remembered this tragedy, it appears that the government has all but forgotten what happened, as no criminal investigation has made any progress since the incident was first reported.

In 2001, unidentified Muslim extremists who are still at large orchestrated a terrible bomb attack during Mass in a Catholic Church in Baniarchar of Gopalgonj district. There were approximately 500 Catholics in attendance at church the morning of June 3, 2001, when the bomb planted by Muslim extremists ripped through the service, killing 10 people and wounding many more.

A case was submitted to the local police station regarding this incident and then sent to the Criminal Investigation Department of Police, but neither office has submitted an investigative report – six years later.

In contrast, the parishioners of the church, which has since been repaired, continue to remember what happened and pray for justice. During the evening of June 3, 2007, a group of Christians gathered at the graveyard of the martyrs and prayed together by candlelight. An ICC representative who attended the service remarked that the whole evening was full of mourning and the sound of the weeping of the martyrs’ relatives.

The names of the martyrs who were killed are: Sanjiban Baroi, Peter Saha, Michael Mollik, Rodrix Jethra, Binod Das, Monnoth Sikdar, Amar Biswas, Jatish Biswas, Jhintu Mondol and Sumon Halder.

The families of these victims have been financially broken since they lost their loved ones, because six of the ten people killed were the only son in the family who could support their family with income. So the victims’ families have been longing for justice from the Government for their murders. At the same time, they are afraid to speak up because they fear that they will make themselves targets for more Jihadist attacks.

Jeremy Sewall, ICC Policy Analyst, said, “The tragedy of this senseless attack is only compounded by the blatant indifference of the Bangladeshi government. Such negligence is simply a way for the authorities to say to religious minorities – ‘You are not welcome here.’ In the midst of Bangladesh ’s current crisis, a good first step towards preserving democracy would be for the government to prove that it will protect minorities by taking action to apprehend and prosecute the Muslim extremists who are behind the tragedy of Baniarchar.”

ICC is requesting concerned individuals to call the Bangladeshi embassy in your country and politely ask them to pursue justice for the families who lost their loved ones in the bomb attack on the Roman Catholic Church in Baniarchar on June 3, 2001?

Bangladesh Embassy in Washington DC
3510 International Drive NW
Washington , DC 20008, USA

Phone: (202)-244-0183

Fax: (202)-244-2771 / 7830

[email protected]

High Commission for Bangladesh , Canada

275 Bank Street, Suite 302

Ottawa , Ontario K2P 2L6
Tel: (613)-236-0138

Fax: (613)-567-3213

[email protected]

High Commission of Bangladesh , London

28 Queen’s Gate

London , SW7 5JA
Tel: 020-7584-0081

Fax: 020-7225-2130