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Tensions Arise for Minorities and Missionaries in Bangladesh



Tension remains high in Banglasdesh, and the necessary monitoring of the missionary life “is causing some consequences on the exercise of the ministry”, says a note from the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, sent to Agenzia Fides.

Just over three months since the attack against Fr. Piero Parolari, who is recovering a normal life, the killing of a Hindu priest on February 21 in the Northwest of the country, has reported alarm and concern. The attack was claimed by a source which says it has relations with “IS”, whose authenticity is not sure. The aggressiveness of Islamic fundamentalism has rekindled in the northwest of the country. In recent months the area was the scene of three armed attacks on Hindu temples, desecration of statues and religious symbols.

The police follows and accompanies the Christian missionaries in their movements and sometimes recommends them not to move. “If restrictions continue and increase even more, it will be necessary perhaps, with regret, to rethink about our location”, comments a local missionary.

Less worrying, however, according to the PIME, is the situation for those who are in and around Dhaka. Although the police discovered in Mirpur, vast area in the north west of the capital, a hotbed of fundamentalist with many weapons, who were organizing attacks on some churches in the neighborhood. In general, the social climate in the country remains “marked by concern” and “especially minorities feel and are under fire”, notes the PIME, stating that “the government, on the one hand tries to suppress and protect, on the other minimizes”.

The one in Bangladesh is one of the oldest missions of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), that arrived in the Indian subcontinent in 1855. Today, PIME has 29 missionaries in the country, present in three dioceses: Dhaka, Dinajpur and Rajshashi. Missionaries are committed at a pastoral level in parishes and educational and social institutions such as schools, dispensaries, hospitals.