Editorial: The Independent


By attacking these mystics minstrels, the militants have not only attacked the pluralistic foundation of our country but have also shamelessly shown their contempt for our culture and customs.


Bauls, the group of mystic minstrels scattered throughout the country, is once again under attack. On Friday night, a group of unidentified assailants assaulted them as they set their den on fire at a remote village in Damurhuda upazila of Chuadanga. Though Bauls comprise only a small fraction of our population, but their overall influence on the Bengali culture is considerable and widely recognised. However, it is their distinct form of folk singing and spiritual credo which is drawing repeated flaks from the growing militant quarters.


We sternly condemn the repeated despicable attacks targeting our community of Baul singers. By attacking these folk singers, the militants have not only torn apart the pluralistic foundation of our country but have shamelessly attacked our culture and customs; injured our tradition of peace and harmonious co-existence.


Since, singing, acting, painting, dancing or any form of art has always been disapproved and negatively portrayed by fundamentalists and extremists, the government should have warned Bauls about their vulnerability following the very first attack recorded on 17 July while providing them with police protection in advance. Sadly that didn’t happen.


It is not understandable why the July 17 attack wasn’t taken much seriously? In terms of providing security the state should not discriminate among its people and it’s only right that all citizens should be given equal attention and a fair crack of the whip. Filing cases are not enough to deter grave crimes like hacking or inflicting attacks on small groups of people. Especially, in the case of Bauls we have followed a disciplined sequence of attacks. Attack on them and their followers was not a common phenomenon since late 2014.


Earlier, a prominent Baul follower from Kushtia was hacked to death in a militant attack on May 20 while his companion, an Islamic University teacher, was critically injured. Police had then blamed the banned outfit Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh for the attack. But the follow-up and the dismantling of the banned outfit is yet to be done. The fresh spate of attacks ranged from mid July to the end of the month. Moreover, in this year, at least 20 targeted attacks left over 40 dead. We don’t want any more killings to follow.


Additionally, taking lessons from the attacks on Baul singers our art communities must draw lessons while resorting to take on added security measures.

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