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US group asks Bangladesh to protect Hindu community

Washington: A US-based Hindu advocacy group has requested Bangladesh to take steps for protecting the minority community in view of two recent terrorist attacks targeting temples in the country.

Hindu American Foundation’s (HAF) request comes after two separate attacks targeting a religious congregation at the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) and a gathering of over 5,000 people at the historic Kantaji temple took place within a week in Bangladesh.

“We have directly called upon the government of Bangladesh to fully investigate these incidents and to protect the lives and properties of the Hindu community,” HAF’s director of Government Relations Jay Kansara said yesterday.

“The Foundation has also requested US Ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat and other US officials to visit the sites of the attacks in order to assure the Hindu minority of Bangladesh that the US stands with them in their time of need,” he said.

HAF said the attackers set-off bombs and fired at devotees at both temples, leaving several people injured.

Police suspect that the banned Islamic militant group Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh may have been responsible for the attack on the Kantaji temple, but it is unclear at this time if they were also involved in the incident at the ISKCON temple, it added.

Ten people were injured on December 5 when unidentified assailants hurled three crude bombs inside the premises of a temple in northern Bangladesh where over 5,000 people had gathered for a show to mark a Hindu festival.

On December 10, two people were injured when a Hindu religious congregation at the ISKON temple in Bangladesh was attacked by unidentified gunmen who hurled bombs and fired gunshots at the worshippers, the second such incident in the same area in less than a week.