Dhaka: the country’s largest Christian association The Bangladesh Christian Association (BCA) celebrated its golden jubilee last Saturday.
It has been involved in helping scores of Bangladeshi Christians through last 50 years. For instance, In Bonpara it has helped the family of a local Catholic man murdered obtained justice; in Mothbari, it has shielded the local community against those who wanted to seize their land.
In 1967, the BCA was founded as the Christian Association of East Pakistan. After the country’s independence by the year of 1971, it took on its current name. Its members celebrated 50 years of activity in a ceremony attended by more than 3,000 people, including some well-known guests.
, a 45-year-old Catholic woman, Shapna Gomes, spoke about her 71-year-old father Sunil Gomes, who was killed in his shop in Bonpara, a village in Natore, by some religious radicals in 2016.
“After my father’s killing, the BCA leaders protested, calling for justice. Police came under pressure and my father’s killers were arrested shortly after. Thanks to the BCA’s help, finally justice was done for my father.”
A parish near Gazipur, Robi Rozario, from Mothbari, told AsiaNews that he “bought a piece of land. After 10 years, a Muslim man came to us and said that this land was his and showed me some documents.
I showed him my documents”. So this led to a dispute. The Christian man and his family were attacked and their house damaged.
“We fairly asked for police help; but did not get any from there.”
“Later we asked the BCA for help. They organized a human chain around the land grabber.”
“And meanwhile Hundreds of Christians joined in and the media picked up the story. Ultimately, “local authorities helped and we got the land back.”
The Christian association not only aided them but also other Christians who could have lost their land.
Presently it has 101 offices all over the country and another 13 offices abroad. One of its most urgent demands is to have Easter declared a statutory holiday.
The organization was created to give a “voice to the weak and voiceless Christian minority, in fact” said by BCA president Nirmol Rozario. This is what it has done.
“We will continue our work to safeguard the rights of Christians in this Muslim majority country.”
Card Patrick D’Rozario, archbishop of Dhaka and an advisor to the organization, noted that the BCA was set up “to demand and protect the rights of minority Christians.”