Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday said stern action would be taken against those involved in attacks on Hindu minorities post-election.

Speaking at a meeting of leaders of the ruling Awami League-led alliance, Ms. Hasina said she had asked the authorities to compensate and rehabilitate the affected families of minorities.

She urged opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leader Khaleda Zia to “stop attacks” on the minority community else, the government would take “appropriate measures.” Earlier, Ms. Hasina met President Abdul Hamid and briefed him on the steps taken to check post-poll violence.

The Prime Minister assured India of firm measures to stop attacks on Hindus after New Delhi raised the issue with her.

The government would protect religious minorities, Ms. Hasina was quoted as telling India’s National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, who telephoned her on Wednesday.

Khaleda’s denial

After days of silence, Ms. Zia claimed that her party and the Jamaat-e-Islami, an ally of the BNP, had “no relation” to the post-poll attacks on the minorities.

In another development, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Chairman Mizanur Rahman said the Bangladesh government failed to prevent attacks on the Hindus after the January 5 election.

Agencies add:

The BNP chief Khaleda Zia, who boycotted Bangladesh’s general election, has sought adequate protection as she is set to lose her protocol and security guards for the first time in 23 years since she is no longer a lawmaker.

Newspaper reports and BNP sources said Colonel (retd) Abdul Majid, a top official of Ms. Zia’s personal security team, sent a letter to Ansar and Village Defence Party headquarters two days ago, seeking 22 Ansars personnel for her security.

During the past 23 years, Ms. Zia had enjoyed protocol and special facilities, including security guards, in her capacity as either the prime minister or Leader of Opposition.

Ms. Zia demanded deployment of Ansar forces to guard her upmarket Gulshan residence in Dhaka.

“I’ve visited the spot (Ms. Zia’s residence after getting the request) and will submit my report to the authorities concerned. The government will decide whether it will permit,” a top Ansar official told the media.

The government withdrew her normal security protocols on December 28 while paramilitary Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and riot police laid a siege around her house.

Ms. Zia, earlier, said she was under a virtual house-arrest.

But, the government denied, saying party leaders and foreign envoys met her inside the house and nobody barred her from coming out of the residence.