Jagatguru Gauranga das and Naru Gopal das
October 17, 2021
On 13th October 2021, radical extremists began strategic, coordinated attacks on Hindu minorities in Bangladesh. The attacks continued until October 15th, 2021, with innumerable homes, shops, puja pandals, and temples being looted, burned, and destroyed. There are currently 6 to 10 fatalities reported in various media outlets, while many more people have sustained injuries or been hospitalized.
It is with a heavy heart that we inform you that our ISKCON Sri Sri Radha Krishna, Gaura Nityananda Jew Temple in Choumoni was part of these attacks and that two devotees, Pranta Chandra das (whose dead body was found in a pond the next day) and Jatan Chandra Saha, were murdered during these attacks. Another devotee, Nimai Chandra das, remains hospitalized in a critical condition. All residential devotees were physically attacked and have sustained injuries.
The destruction began in Nanuyar Dighi, in the district of Cumilla, after false rumors of Hindus disrespecting the Holy Qur’an were used to instigate and recruit extremists, and continued to spread throughout 15 districts, namely: Comilla, Chandpur, Lakhipur, Gajipur, Kurigram, Moulabi Bazaar, Babijang, Sheylet, Bhalo, Noakhali, Chattagram, Coxs-Bazar, Chapainbabgang, Muncigang, and Fheni.
This is not the first time in Bangladesh where false rumours were spread and used to brutally attack or murder Hindu minorities.
On Thursday, 14th October 2021, the Honourable Prime Minister declared that the culprits would receive exemplary punishment. However, the Government did not visible steps to stop further destruction. The ISKCON Choumoni temple devotees had also pleaded with local police to provide protection, but these requests were ignored.
Seizing this gross neglect of duty from the authorities, approximately 500 Muslim radical extremists continued their attacks the following day.
The attack on our ISKCON Choumoni temple took place on 15th October 2021 around 3 PM in broad daylight. During this ruthless attack, which was conducted in two phases, the Ratha of Lord Jagannath, deities of Srila Prabhupada, spiritual books, vehicles, and other temple property/ paraphernalia were burned, destroyed, and looted.
On the same day, the Kali Mandir, Rama Thakur Mandir, Lokanath Mandir, GM Sen Hall of Chattagram, along with many other houses, shops, and institutions of Hindu minorities were also destroyed.
The culprits behind these attacks have shamelessly and openly declared their actions on social media, repeatedly carrying out such atrocities again and again. Therefore, the Government should take immediate steps to set exemplary, severe punishment and not permit Muslim radical extremists to perform such atrocities, which bring shame upon the respected society of Bangladesh in the eyes of the world.
We offer our sincere prayers and condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives and livelihoods in such violent and painful circumstances.
May 15, 2022
Sunanda Das, Temple of the Vedic Planetarium