Update on USBAC's Donation Drive to Support Minority Victims of
Violence (including photos):

On Thursday February 28 2013, following the delivery of the verdict of the International Crimes
Tribunal in Bangladesh which handed the death sentence to convicted war criminal Delwar
Hossain Sayedee, there were a series of incidents of violence around the country by followers
of Sayedee. These incidents were violent, destroyed homes and properties of innocents, and
some of the worst examples of communal backlash. Supporters of Sayedee looted and
committed arson against the homes, temples and property of the Hindu minority
communities in Noakhali, Lakshmipur, Sylhet, Moulvibazar, Satkhira, Cox’s Bazar, Bagerhat,
Barisal, Gopalganj, Munshiganj, Chapainawabganj, Joypurhat, Thakurgaon, Rangpur,
Gaibandha, Dinajpur, and Chittagong. Detailed information about the affected community and
their loss was obtained in collaboration with our partner, the
Bangladesh Legal Aid and
Services Trust (BLAST).

The U.S. Bangladesh Advisory Council launched a week of fundraising from March 6--12 to
garner financial support from the U.S.-based Bangladeshi diaspora for the affected families.
We did this initiative because we feel that religious diversity and pluralism are central to
Bangladesh's identity and efforts must be made to protect the minorities. We are deeply
thankful to the members of the U.S. based Bangladeshi diaspora for their donations. We are
also thankful to those in Dhaka who added to these donations.

The funds raised by USBAC amounted to total of TK 2,22,042 over the length of our 6-day
drive.  USBAC along with BLAST and local volunteers jointly selected Noakhali district as the
target area for distribution of the aid. On March 31, 2013, a team of four volunteers – Moin
Hassan Prince, Shamal Chandra Dey, Taskin al Anas and Farheen Khan – supported by
Mahrukh Mohiuddin, and in partnership with BLAST Noakhali Unit representative Ms. Kalpana
Rani Das, assessed and distributed the aid in Noakhali’s Begumganj Upazila from March 31
– April 1.

The volunteers and 2 BLAST Noakhali staff conducted an on-the-ground assessment of all
affected families in Begumganj on the first day of the visit. They were accompanied by local
influentials of the Hindu community, and in some areas, leaders of Chhatra League and Jubo
League. Many burnt temples were still visible, but on instructions from the local
administration, burnt corrugated iron sheets of houses and other furniture had been cleared
off and discarded, while new temporary structures have been built with iron sheets and
bamboo donated by the government. The volunteers were able to interact with most families,
and they acknowledged receiving TK 12,000 cash per family and other household supplies
like utensils, mosquito nets, clothes, books, and food supplies from government and other
organizations.

The team distributed funds ranging from TK 3500  to TK 7000 per family to help replace
essential belongings, including clothing, household items and water taps.  

The losses of the families cannot be fully restored with the donations received so far because
the costs of building the types of houses that they have lived in for generations amount to one
lakh per house on top of the iron sheets that have been donated. We encourage everyone to
continue supporting these communities in their own capacity. Below is a link to some of the
photos taken by the volunteers who helped distribute the funds raised by USBAC:

Photos:
Set 1:
http://bit.ly/XAeMiM
Set 2: http://on.fb.me/Xp42Bz

Select photos:
Copyright U.S. Bangladesh Advisory Council
U.S. Bangladesh Advisory Council
Update on USBAC Fund Drive for Minority Victims of Violence