Finally, a Western newspaper reports on the recent violence against Hindus in Bangladesh

The London-based Financial Times says it was not easy to report this story, with few of those they interviewed wanting their names used, so great was the fear of reprisals from Jamaat-e-Islami.

They note that JI, using untraceable temporary mobile numbers, called all those guiding the reporters from FT, but refused to speak to the reporters themselves.

FT reported from the Sakhtira district in the southwest, on the border with India. The Hindu population is still at 25-30%, compared to 8% across Bangladesh as whole. But the Hindus were once in the majority.

I also learned from the article that many members of JI are landless refugees from India, or their descendants, dating back to the partition in 1947.

This is the sort of background that local press does not report, as it assumes the residents already know it.

Here is an excerpt, from one man who was willing to go on record (pictured above):

They came at 9.30am on December 13, about 60 or 70 of them, to sack his family home in the village of Jagannathpur and terrorise the occupants. The gang worked with brutal efficiency, petrol-bombing the house, burning the motorcycles outside, stealing jewellery and smashing with clubs every household appliance not consumed by the flames.

“When anything happens, Hindus are attacked,” says Subhash Ghosh, his eyes filling with tears as he stands outside the burnt shell of his house in the Bangladeshi countryside near the Indian border. “Everything is lost.”

He and another 21 members of his extended family have sought refuge in a nearby town and dare not stay the night on the farm their family has owned for more than a century.

The attack by militants of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), an Islamist party allied to the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, was one of thousands of violent incidents in the run-up to the general election of January 5. It occurred the day after the execution of Abdul Quader Mollah, a JI leader convicted of war crimes.

Local Hindus had nothing to do with the execution. But here in the southwest near the Ganges delta, members of the Hindu minority are particular targets of JI because of their religion and because they almost all support the Awami League, the nominally secular party which has run Muslim-dominated Bangladesh for the past five years and which won the election after a BNP boycott.

The historic region of Bengal has a history of bloody communalism. In nearby Chuknagar on May 20 1971, Pakistani troops massacred thousands of Hindus – about 15,000, the locals say – as they fought to keep what was then East Pakistan from seceding to become the independent nation of Bangladesh.

Related: Expat Hindus in New York, Los Angeles and Sacramento have been holding protest rallies.

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