UP ELECTIONS AL leader threatens Hindus

A local leader of ruling Awami League has threatened to give a ‘good lesson’ to people of the Hindu community at Gobindapara union if they do not cast their votes for the AL candidate in the upcoming union parishad elections likely to be held in the next month.

Golam Sarwar, general secretary of Bagmara Upazila Awami League in Rajshahi, issued the threat in an extended meeting of the Gobindapara Union Awami League in the auditorium of a local high school on October 2.

A video clip of the meeting showed that Golam was saying that a good lesson would be given to Hindus at Gobindapara if they did not cast their votes for the ruling party candidate in the upcoming UP elections.

Speaking as the special guest, Golam said that there were 2,800 voters from the Hindu community at Gobindapara and they were a big ‘factor’ in the UP elections.

‘The AL leaders give various help and gifts to the Hindu people during Durga Puja. But they do not cast their votes for the AL candidate,’ he said.

In the last UP elections, the AL candidate was beaten by Communist Party of Bangladesh candidate Bijan Sarkar for the post of chairman.

AL leaders then alleged that the Hindu voters did not cast votes for the AL candidate.

Golam also said, ‘I want to know whether they [the Hindu people] will betray every time or they will make themselves correct in the elections this time. If they do not make them correct, we have our means this time. They [the Hindu voters] will be given a good lesson.’

The AL leader also advised his party people to hold a meeting with the people of the Hindu community where he along with the local lawmaker would be present.

Golam said that the Hindu voters cast their votes for the candidate of their own caste in the local elections and for the Awami League’s boat symbol in the national elections. ‘This is not done. We will settle the issue before the next UP elections,’ he said.

‘There will be a clear message in the meeting for them [the Hindu voters]. If you do not cast your votes for the party candidate, you will not have any opportunity to do AL politics and such a situation will be created before the elections that you will not find a way to escape,’ he added.

He also suggested that AL people should intimidate the people who would not cast votes for the boat symbol.

He also suggested that AL people should tell the Hindu voters ‘come to the election centre this time and see.’

A number of Awami League leaders and activists at Bagmara upazila told New Age that they were surprised by the statement of Golam Sarwar which was also broadcast live on social media platforms.

They said that such a statement was not expected from him in public as he was not only a party leader but also the principal of a college.

Bagmara Upazila Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Parishad president Bijan Kumar Sarkar, who is also the chairman of Gobindapara union parishad, told New Age that they did not expect such treatment from AL people. ‘By making such provocative statement, they are inciting communalism,’ he added.

He also said that the people of the minority community in the area were in fear following the statement of Golam.

Golam denied the allegation.

When asked about his speech in the video, Golam said that it was a conspiracy against him.

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