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Wednesday, 10 October, 2001, 16:34 GMT 17:34 UK
Bangladesh Hindus seek protection
Awami League demonstration
Awami League protest - minorities tended to support them
The BBC's Waliur Rahman reports from Dhaka

Leaders of the minority Hindu community in Bangladesh have met the country's president and asked him to ensure the safety of the country's minorities.

Clay likeness of the Hindu goddess Durga
Hindus are worried the Durga festival may be put off

The meeting followed reports in the Bangladesh media of an increase in attacks on Hindus since the victory of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led coalition in last week's general elections.

The European Union has also raised concerns over the reports.

The minorities are widely considered to be supporters of the rival Awami League party which was defeated in the polls.

Festival concerns

The Hindu leaders said they feared they might not be able to celebrate the forthcoming Hindu festival of Durga Puja beginning later this month.

President Shahabuddin Ahmed said the government would take necessary action to ensure the safety of the minorities.

Earlier, similar concerns were raised by the European Union envoy to Dhaka, Antonio de Souza Menezes, who said he has received complaints of violence against the minorities.

Mr Menezes said many non-governmental organisations have contacted his office and expressed concern at the level of violence against the minorities.

He said he has discussed the issue with the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, whose leader Khaleda Zia, was sworn-in as the country's new prime minister on Wednesday.

See also:

03 Oct 01 | South Asia
Bangladesh parliament boycott
30 Sep 01 | South Asia
Deaths mar Bangladesh election
02 Oct 01 | South Asia
Analysis: A tale of two women
28 Sep 01 | South Asia
Campaigning ends in Bangladesh
23 Sep 01 | South Asia
Bangladesh rally bombed
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