Situation of Hindus following the 1 October 2001 election, particularly in the Moulvibazar district; government response to violence against Hindus (1 October 2001 - March 2002) [BGD38716.E]

Incidents of violence against Hindus in Bangladesh following the 1 October 2001 election have been reported in several sources (BBC 10 Oct. 2001; AI 1 Dec. 2001; Gulf News 12 Feb. 2002; Press Trust of India 20 Oct. 2001; Pax Christi 26 Nov. 2001; Country Reports 2001 2001, section 5). These incidents include "rape, torture, murder and looting" (ibid.), as well as setting fire to Hindu properties (Pax Christi 26 Nov. 2001; Gulf News 12 Feb. 2002). "Hundreds" of Hindus have reportedly fled the violence, crossing the border into India (AI 1 Dec. 2001; Gulf News 12 Feb. 2002). The Fair Election Monitoring Alliance (FEMA) reported that most of the violence was committed by BNP activists (New Nation 20 Oct. 2001).

The attacks against Hindus have occurred in numerous districts across Bangladesh (HRCBM 10 Oct. 2001; AI 1 Dec. 2001). An article in News From Bangladesh about Rajnogor upazila in the Moulvibazar district stated that the situation had "deteriorated alarmingly following the post-election violence" in different parts of the sub-district (10 Oct. 2001). Although the article stated that the attacks were directed at minorities and supporters of the Awami League and did not mention Hindus specifically (ibid.), a report released by FEMA stated that BNP activists attacked members of the Hindu community in various places in the Moulvibazar constituency (New Nation 20 Oct. 2001).

BBC News reported that in response to a petition by Ain-o-Salish Kendra, a legal rights group, the High Court of Bangladesh ordered the government to "explain why it doesn't do more to protect the country's Hindu minority" (26 Nov. 2001). The government, which reportedly initially dismissed the incidents of violence as "lies" (Gulf News 12 Feb. 2002) and "exaggeration" (ibid.; BBC 15 Oct. 2001), set up a special committee to investigate the alleged harassment of Hindus (Country Reports 2001 2002, section 5) and their reported "exodus" to India (AFP 9 Nov. 2001). No results of this investigation could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

Attempts to contact sources in Bangladesh were unsuccessful within the time constraints of this Response.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Agence France Presse (AFP). 9 November 2001. Golam Tahaboor. "Bangladesh to Investigate Reported Attacks on Hindu Minority." (NEXIS)

Amnesty International (AI). 1 December 2001. (AI Index: ASA 13/006/2001). "Bangladesh: Attacks on Members of the Hindu Minority." [Accessed 11 Mar. 2002]

BBC News. 26 November 2001. "Court Order on Bangladeshi Hindus." [Accessed 11 Mar. 2002]

_____. 15 October 2001. Waliur Rahman. "Bangladesh Hindu Attacks 'Exaggerated'." [Accessed 11 Mar. 2002]

_____. 10 October 2001. Waliur Rahman. "Bangladesh Hindus Seek Protection." [Accessed 11 Mar. 2002]

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2001. 4 March 2002. "Bangladesh." [Accessed 11 Mar. 2002]

Gulf News. 12 February 2002. Nazmul Ashraf. "Awami League Pans Convention on Rights Violation." (NEXIS)

Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities (HRCBM). 10 October 2001. "15 Thousands Minority Families Dislodged in Two Districts: Thousands of Homes Ablaze, Hundreds of Women Raped." [Accessed 11 Mar. 2002]

The New Nation [Dhaka]. 20 October 2001. "Crimes Being Committed By Winning Party Activists." [Accessed 12 Mar. 2002]

News From Bangladesh [Dhaka]. 10 October 2001. "Houses of AL Supporters Set on Fire." [Accessed 12 Mar. 2002]

Pax Christi. 26 November 2001. "Reports of Violence in the Aftermath of National Parliamentary Elections Oct. 1 in Bangladesh." [Accessed 11 Mar. 2002]

The Press Trust of India [New Delhi]. 20 October 2001. "Poll Observers Criticise Govt for Attack on Minorities." (NEXIS)

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB Databases

Ain-o-Salish Kendra (ASK)

Coordinating Council for Human Rights in Bangladesh (CCHRB)

US Department of State Report on International Religious Freedom 2001.



Internet sites including:

Human Rights Watch

The Independent

Institute for Global Engagement (IGE)

South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre