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Tripuri Boy converted to Islam by force
This Tripuri boy was one of 11 boys and girls taken from their families in January and February 2012 with the promise of education in boarding schools. The intermediaries then sold the boys and girls to the Islamic madrassas in Gazipur and Dhaka for forcible conversion. In June the desire to escape was kindled when imams announced that the boys would be circumcised and that if they were ready to give their lives for Islam they would be compensated with beheshta or heaven since no other religion could lead them there.

Muslim group abducts 11 indigenous Tripura children for forcible conversion in Dhaka

On 4 and 13 July 2012, 11 indigenous Tripura children were rescued from madrasas in Gazipur and Dhaka. Of them, 8 children rescued from the Darul Huda Islami Madrasa of Mia Para in Gazipur district, 1 female child from a madrasa in Muhammadpur and 2 children rescued from Darul Huda Islami Madrasa of Gulshan in Dhaka. All the children were taken from various villages of Thanchi, Ruma and Lama upazila in Bandarban district in January to February 2012 by following brokers:

  1. Andrew Tripura (Age 18 approx)
  2. Baromoni Tripura and
  3. Norbert Tripura Bandarban district

So-called intermediaries, who are also ethnic Tripuri, visit poverty-stricken communities where they convince families to send their children to a mission hostel, charging between 6,000 and 15,000 taka (US$ 500 to 1,200) for school and board. After pocketing the money, the intermediaries sell the children to madrassas or Islamic schools elsewhere in the country. List of 11 Children rescued in July 2012:

  1. Shanti Chondro Tripura (Mohamed AbdurRahman), s/o Robihan Tripura from Shefru Para of Ruma upazila in Bandarban, 10 Years, Class IV;
  2. Mathew Tripura (Mohamed Joshim) s/o Kongsholha Tripura from Boithuni Para of Ruma in Bandarban, 10 years, Class IV;
  3. Joseph Tripura (Mohamed Masud) s/o Nokurang Tripura from Imajhon of Thanchi in Bandarban, 10 years, Class IV;
  4. Dominic Tripura (Mohamed Hafiz Uddin) s/o Machondro Tripura from Durjodhon Para of Lama in Bandarban, 10 years, Class IV;
  5. Simon Tripura (Mohamed Abu Hurera) s/o Atijon Tripura from Emmanuel Para of Tongkapoti in Bandarban, 9 years, Class IV;
  6. Peter (Pitor) Tripura (Mohamed Bashir) s/o Rumajon Tripura, from Kiomong Headman Para of Thanchi in Bandarban, 8 years, Class II;
  7. Reshmai Tripura (Abdullah) s/o Chondrion Tripura from Shepru Para of Bilaichori in Bandarban, 10 years, Class IV;
  8. Juel Tripura (Abu Jafar) s/o Anonta Tripura from Kiomong Headman Para of Thanchi in Bandarban, 10 years, Class IV;
  9. Shantona Tripura (Halima Begum) d/o Rumajohn Tripura from Kiomong Headman Para of Thanchi in Bandarban, 10 years, Class II;
  10. Raymond Tripura (Mohamed Abdur Rahim) s/o Rajbahadur Tripura from Borothali Para of Ruma in Bandarban, 13 years, Class VI; and
  11. Shushanto Tripura (Mohamed Abdul Bashir) s/o Atijon Tripura from Emmanuel Para of Tongkapoti in Bandarban, 12 years, Class VI.

The first 8 boys were taken in January and February and brought to the Darul Huda Islami School at Miapara village in Gazipur. The girl was placed in a madrassa (whose name she could not tell) in Muhammadpur, Dhaka. The other 2 boys were brought to another Darul Huda Islami in Gulshan, Dhaka.

Their days included Arabic lessons (8-12 AM), Quran reading (2-5 PM) and 5 daily prayers. In their respective madrassas, the children found other indigenous children, many even younger than themselves. They also saw acts of physical violence when children missed prayers or refused to take part in a lesson. In fact, after she was rescued, the girl showed scars to the hand, where she was struck with a cane.

In June, the desire to escape was kindled when imams announced that the boys would be circumcised, and that if they were ready to give their lives for Islam, they would be compensated with beheshta or heaven since no other religion could lead them there.

Scared, the first 8 boys asked a Hindu family that lived near the school for help. They told their stories, asking them to contact their parents. When the latter found out what had happened to their children, they contacted the Hotline Trust to save them. 4 boys escaped on 4 July; the other 4 on 13 July. When the other 2 (somewhat older) boys found out about their escape, they too fled and contacted the Hotline Trust on their own.

The girl's rescue was a bit more complicated. She was saved only after another girl escaped and told people in her village what had happened. The girl's parents then contacted the madrassa huju or teacher asking him to let her go. The Islamic teacher said the girl's father had to come and get her. At the school, the teacher tried to provoke the girl's father, denigrating the religion of the father. The father put up with the insults and eventually took his daughter home on 13 July.


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