VENNABARI, Bangladesh - The pastor of a Baptist church in this village about a 100 kilometers (62 miles) south of Dhaka said that earlier this month local Muslims tied him and his wife up, robbed his living quarters on the church property and gang-raped his wife.
The Rev. Shankar Hazra, 55, of Chaksing Baptist church in Gopalganj district, said that before leaving, the assailants desecrated the church building.
The night of the attack, the pastor said, he and his wife, 45, went out to a toilet outside their home at about 2 a.m.
"Suddenly a man loomed up from the darkness and thrust the snout of a homemade rifle at my chest and told me to keep my mouth, otherwise both of us would be killed. Around seven to eight people swooped on us and tied me and my wife. They blindfolded my wife and took her inside the house."
While Rev. Hazra was tied to a pillar on the porch of his house of corrugated tin and wood, the assailants took the keys of chest and trunks and looted valuables: gold and silver jewelry worth US$500, cash totaling US$300, a mobile phone, television, CD players, all their clothes except his cassock, and utensils.
"They even looted my daughters' dresses. After looting everything, they gang-raped my wife."
The assailants also asked about the whereabouts of his two grown daughters, who had left the previous day after spending the Christmas and New Year holidays with their parents. Their daughters, ages 22 and 20, had returned to their studies in seperate districts.
"If my daughters had been present in the house at that night, they would have been victims as their mother was," Rev. Hazra said
After the assailants left, Rev. Hazra managed to untie himself and found his wife lying unconscious on the bed, he said.
"My neighbors came and rushed her to a nearby hospital, and that hospital referred my wife to another big hospital in Gopalganj district because her condition was very serious," he siad
The assailants also broke the door of the church building and urinated and defecated there, Rev. Hazra added.