Information and Broadcasting Minister Mohammed Hasan Mahmud has deemed an attack on the Hindu community in Shalla upazila, Sunamganj as part of a conspiracy.
"While the country is striding forward, while all the foreign nations are praising Bangladesh – foreign heads of state are coming to Bangladesh and congratulating it on the occasion of Mujib Year and the Golden Jubilee of Independence – the conspiracy is beginning in a new way," he told a meeting at the Jatiya Press Club Friday.
Hasan Mahmud said, "They [the attackers] have chosen the path of conspiracy as they are unable to deal with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina politically. The attack in Sunamganj is a part of that conspiracy."
Referring to BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, he said, "I saw he gave a hasty speech. I would ask him to look back a little, to look at himself in the mirror."
Recalling the 2001 national elections, the minister said, "Entire Hindu villages in Gopalganj's Kotalipara, Bhola, Barisal, and Sirajganj were cordoned-off and the religious minorities were tortured all over the country, followed by the polls."
"We had to open rehabilitation shelters on Bangabandhu Avenue then to protect the Hindu people," he noted.
Hasan Mahmud said Hindu people were persecuted that year for voting for Awami League, and many Hindu girls were raped because their fathers were involved in Awami League politics.
"Hindu people strongly support the Awami League because of the party's non-communal character. We think our first identity is Bengali and our second identity is religion. But for the BNP, the religious identity is the supreme identity."
Hasan Mahmud claimed the incident in Shalla was carried out to destabilise the peace and tarnish the country's image. He commented that religious extremist groups could have fuelled the attacks.
The memorial meeting was organised on the occasion of the eighth death anniversary of former president and veteran Awami League leader Zillur Rahman.