Thousands of Christians, mostly of tribal and humble origins, are being persecuted in Bangladesh over land. In 2016 in Gaibandha, in the Diocese of Dinajpur, a land dispute sparked violence by Muslims against members of a tribal minority with police complicity. Four Christians, most of them ethnic Santal Catholics, were killed and some 30 people were wounded, including nine agents.
As reported by asianews.it, ,” Fr Samson Marandy, parish priest of Our Lady of Sorrow Church said that, “Last week I visited families in a Santal village whose houses were expropriated by government agents. In all about 1,500 Christians live in inhumane conditions. Some NGOs have provided them with metal sheeting to build makeshift shelters. Even though the victims formally complained about it and called on the government [to intervene], they have been abandoned and the administration has been silent. I do not know what’s behind it. I think they should protest more and file written complaints to get justice.”
There is a similar story in Dhaka, that of the Abraham Cruze, a 65-year-old Catholic who lost his small four-room house near the Catholic church in Tejgaon. A local Muslim named Md Saifulla occupied his land on 15 October 2015, escorted by fifty armed people. They broke into the house and evicted his family. When he speaks about what happened, he gets emotional. “For two years, I have been asking for help from important people such as the archbishop of Dhaka and other Christian leaders. But so far, all my efforts have been in vain,” he said. “I had a small house and now I am a homeless person; I live with some of my relatives,” added a teary Abraham. Fr Liton Hubert Gomes, coordinator of the Justice and Peace Commission for the Archdiocese of Dhaka, said that “in the Diocese of Mymensingh several thousand Catholics fear for their land. Bangladesh’s religious minorities, above all Christians, are victims of forced expropriations precisely because they are Christians. The government and the expropriators consider us weak.”