By BosNewsLife Asia Service
DHAKA, BANGLADESH (BosNewsLife)– A British Christian aid organization wants to build homes for the first group of thousands of homeless Christian Santal people in northern Bangladesh, a year after security forces destroyed their houses killing several villagers.
“Next Monday will be the first anniversary of a night of terrible violence against Christians in Bangladesh when over 5,500 lost their homes and three were killed,” Barnabas Fund told BosNewsLife.
On the night of November 6, 2016, Bangladeshi police in riot gear reportedly marched into the desperately poor community of Christian Santal people in Gaibandah District amid a land dispute and growing religious tensions with Muslims hardliners.
While firing rubber bullets, police evicted the Christians and backed by local Muslims set fire to the wooden shacks in which the Christians lived, aid workers said.
“Leaving their meager possessions behind, the Christians fled. Their houses burned on into the night,” added Barnabas Fund which supports Christians in the area.
HOPE AND FUTURE
Barnabas Fund urged supporters to participate in its ongoing project “Rebuilding for Santal Christians.”
It wants to bring “hope and a future to the Santal Christians of Gaibandah, who have been living in makeshift tents since the fire last November,” the aid group said.
In the first phase, Barnabas Fund said it would provide 50 new homes, built of brick, on land owned by a Christian group. “There will be twelve shared toilets and six shared hand-pump tube-wells with shower areas,” it said.
“The school will also be repaired and refurbished.”
Barnabas Fund estimated the total costs at just over $73,000 but said it still needed to raise nearly $20,000 to realize the plans.
The Santal people of Bangladesh, numbering 178,000, are part of the Munda-Santal people cluster among South Asian Peoples.
Globally, this minority totals nearly 8 million people in 4 countries, according to experts. Their primary language is Santali with many practicing Christianity in what are often difficult circumstances.
Devoted Christians in heavily Muslim Bangladesh have been the targets of physical and verbal attacks in Bangladesh, forcing many to flee their homes, BosNewsLife established.
Barnabas Fund said it had opened a website link for donations. ( https://barnabasfund.org/donate?appealcode=SCE%2011/17&project=04-1360&audience=GB ).