ARTICLE 19, a UK-based human rights organisation has strongly condemned, as disrespectful, an incident in which the body of an infant belonging to the Ahmadiyya community was exhumed and dumped on a street in Brahmanbaria.
The organisation said, in a press release, that the exhumation of the three-day-old baby's dead body is a crude manifestation of a growing culture of intolerance and oppression towards minorities that exists in the country.
Such a crude act of local religious leaders – exhuming a newborn child's corpse and dumping it on the street, because the child belongs to a minority group – is a complete disregard for the rule of law and secular values of this country, the press release said.
ARTICLE 19 urged the authorities concerned to identify the perpetrators involved in the removal of the dead body from the grave and bring the individuals under the law.
Faruq Faisel, Regional Director for ARTICLE 19 of Bangladesh and South Asia said, "People of the Ahmadiyya community and their places of worship and homes have been the victims of attacks and social harassment in Bangladesh for the last few decades only because of their creed and beliefs."
"If the authorities had taken appropriate action according to the constitution of Bangladesh, these hate-driven religious attacks and torture would not have happened," he added.
According to media reports, a three-day old baby-girl of the Ahmadiyya community in Brahmanbaria died on July 9. The infant's family buried her at the local government cemetery in Ghatura village of Suhilpur union in Sadar Upazila, the press release reads.
Soon after the burial, some moulvis initiated a gathering of some anti-Ahmadiyya youths. They later exhumed the body and threw it on the road.
After learning of the incident, the police came to the spot but did not take any action against those involved in the incident. They instead just re-buried the body of the child at the designated graveyard for the Ahmadiyya community.
In this regard, Faruq Faisel further said, "ARTICLE 19 calls upon the concerned authorities to take legal action for this incident and to ensure the protection of religious minorities and their right to practice their religion without hindrance.''