Extract from the memorandum submitted by Shri Rabindra Ghosh, president, Human Rights Commission for Bangladesh Minorities (HRCBM), on Atrocities Against Minorities of Bangladesh and Investigative Reports-2008 to Shri Shivraj Patil, Home Minister, Government of India, on June 26, 2008.
Members of the Hindu community have lost 26 million acres of land from 1965 to 2006, while an estimated one crore Hindus were forced to leave the country from 1964 to 2001 because the communal conflicts and deprivation caused by the Enemy (Vested) Property Act, according to a study.
The price of the land and other movable properties lost by 12 lakh Hindu families has been estimated at Tk.350,412 crore, said the study sponsored by the Association for Land Reform And Development (ALRD) and Nijera Kori.
The study report was published in the form of a book titled Deprivation of Hindu Minority in Bangladesh : Living with Vested Property'sAct.
Prof. Abul Barakat, lead author of the book, said the government has identified only seven lakh acres of vested land of which two lakh acres have been leased out and five lakh acres remain under the control of the grabbers.
Terming the identification of so small amount of vested land and failure of the administration, Justice Muhammad Habibur Rahman, former Chief Adviser to a caretaker government, said the administration of the country is ?impossibly inefficient.?
?There is a direct link between right to property and democracy? he said, adding that all should work to help establish the rights of those who lost their properties.
In the study, Prof. Barkat said, ? Only five lakh people who were in power grabbed the land. This problem needs an immediate solution.?
People involved with BNP politics grabbed 17,49,500 acres, those involved with Awami League grabbed 361,400 acres, people involved with Jamaat-e-Islami grabbed 2,26,200 acres and those engaged with Jatiya Party looted 1,82,000 acres of vested land, said the study.
Besides, 1820 acres of land was grabbed by people linked with Muslim League and 10,400 acres of land by people involved with other political parties, it added.
Justice Golam Rabbani blamed the administration for having strong link with influential people in grabbing the enemy properties.
?There will be no change without the change in attitude of the bureaucracy? he said emphasising on strong Parliament and people'sdemocracy.
Prof. A.A.M.S. Arfin Siddiqui of Dhaka University said general people are facing different problems, but the Hindus are subjected to more exploitation and deprivation because of the discriminatory laws.
He urged all to work together to remove all dispirited for a true democratic society.
Lt. Gen (retd.) Harun-ur-Rashid, Supreme Court Advocate S. Chowdhury and ALRD Executive Director Shamsul Huda also spoke at the programme chaired by Nijera Kori Coordinator Ms. Khushi Kabir.
Perpetrators attacked with deadly weapons on minority families in course of cutting paddies belonging to them at Arjuna Balardarna within Terakhada PS, Khulna. They repeatedly attacked patients while taking medical treatment at the medical centre.
(The Daily Star, May 15, 2008.)