AS national election in Bangladesh is round the corner, minorities in that country are in a compelling situation of spending sleepless nights as they are facing heinous atrocities on them initiated by the people belonging to majority section of the country. Khaleda Zia’s BNP, the main Opposition party of Bangladesh with its ultra communalist partner Jamaat-e-Islami have let loose terror activities in the area where minorities especially Hindu minorities live. In the process of persecution of Hindus, members of the ruling party Awami League are not lagging behind, although they are always trying to highlight their secular face in the international market.
In fact it has become a habit of Muslims in Bangladesh and elsewhere (where they are in majority) to terrorise the minorities. In this process on 28 February, 2013, the International Crimes Tribunal sentenced Delwar Hossain Sayeedi, the Vice President of the Jamaat-e-Islami, to death for the war crimes committed during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. Following the sentence, activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and its Students Wing Islami Chhatra Shibir attacked the Hindus in different parts of the country. Hindu properties were looted, Hindu houses were burnt and Hindu temples were desecrated and set on fire. While the government has held the Jamaat-e-Islami responsible for the attacks on the minorities the Jamaat-e-Islami leadership has denied any involvement the minority leaders have protested the attacks and appealed for justice. The Supreme Court of Bangladesh has directed the law enforcement body to start suo motu investigation into the attacks.
Recently, agonising and disturbing reports of attacks on Hindus from Pabna district has come where large number of Hindus has been turned out from their houses, looted of all their belongings, even senior members have been mercilessly beaten up, young women have not been spared, and they have been gang raped. In this way, cadres of Jamaat-e-Islami have vacated 60-70 houses of Hindus.
In Satpatki and Majhipara village of Lalmonirhat district, members of 125 Hindu families have been forced out of their houses and they have taken shelter in nearby villages. These Hindu families have complained that police never show their face in time.
Amnesty International in its report quoted to have said the following: Another survivour said that on March 2, 2013, a group of about 100 young men holding banners vandalised Hindu temples in a village.
In fact Jamaat-e-Islami and its students wing Islami Chhatra Shibir had deployed their cadres in all the seven divisions (Chittagong, Khulna, Rangplur, Barisal, Rajshahi, Dhaka and Sylhet) of Bangladesh on February 28, 2013, the day Delwar Hossain Sayeedi was sentenced to death so that they could jump into action immediately after the pronouncement of judgment. They were fully prepared to perpetrate attacks and atrocities upon the Hindu minorities of Bangladesh and action took place according to their planning. From February 28 to March 22, Jamaat atrocities went on without any break or hindrance. Every day almost round the clock there was violence. In the process, they have looted or set on fire hundreds of houses. This time perhaps killing was their secondary option. But merciless beating up of people and turning out the inmates was very much on the agenda. Of course, molestation and gang rape went on unabated. Throughout this period of atrocities, they had desecrated or vandalised more than thirty two Hindu temples and ashrams.
Basudeb Dhar reports from Dhaka to a Kolkata based Bengali daily Statesman: The attack on Rajib Saha family of Bongram is nothing but planned conspiracy which was hatched because of denial of paying a ransom of rupees two lakh as claimed by some Muslim hooligans at the time of marriage of his daughter some months back. As Saha, a rich businessman of Bongaon Market denied to pay the unreasonable amount, the perpetrators threatened him with dire consequences. Consequently the attack on Saha family took place during the hartal.
In India, activists of Gairik Bharat burned an effigy of Sheikh Hasina in Silchar in protest against her failure to protect the Hindu minorities in Bangladesh. The Bharatiya Janata Party, West Bengal unit has demanded the Central Government to create pressure on Bangladesh Government to protect the Hindus from Islamic extremism. In Rajya Sabha, the BJP has demanded that an all party delegation be sent to Bangladesh to assess the “atrocities on Hindus” by Jamaat-e-Islami. On the other hand, Muslim radicals of West Bengal stand for Delwar Hossain Sayeedi and Jamaat-e-Islami with conviction. Expressing serious concern on the continued attacks on the Hindus in Bangladesh the South Assam Bengali Hindu Association has demanded the intervention of the Indian President Pranab Mukherjee in stopping the atrocities on Hindus in Bangladesh.
The British High Commissioner in Dhaka, Robert Gibson expressed his deep concern and resentment over the attack upon the religious places in a press conference on held in Dhaka.
The United States Department of State has also expressed concern over the attacks on Hindu temples and homes in Bangladesh. Dan Mozena US Ambassador in Bangladesh has expressed concern over the attack of Jamaat on Bengali Hindu community.
The Amnesty International has called upon the Bangladesh government for giving better protection to the minority Hindus in the country. In a March 6 report, titled ‘Bangladesh: Wave of Violent Attacks Against Hindu Minority”, the Amnesty said, as many as 40 Hindu temples were vandalised in attacks by supporters of an Islamic party. Several hundred were rendered homeless as shops and houses belonging to the Hindu community were burnt down over the past week, it said. The report gave Bangladesh’s war crimes trial as the context to the violence against the Hindus.
At the House of Lords in the British Parliament, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi condemned the attacks on minorities and their places of worship in Bangladesh. She stated that 24 places of worship, 112 homes and about a dozen business establishment belonging to the minority Hindus came under attack. According to Lord Avebury, the recent attacks are recurrence of the 2011 attack on the Hindus.
Although, there was local reporting of the anti-Hindu atrocities, there was little to no exposure from international media, but images from the attacks continued to be spread on social media.
While countries like United States of America, United Kingdom, etc. and many international organisations like Amnesty International are deeply concerned with the attacks on Hindu minorities in Bangladesh, a blind Indian Government is worthlessly keeping silence.
Over the last decade the census report of Bangladesh has shown the number of Hindu minorities was 49 million less than the previous reports. Amnesty International in its annual report has made the following observation: “49 million Hindus missing from Bangladesh census due to Islamic atrocities. Hindus and other Indian minorities are vanishing from Indian subcontinent.” It further said, Hindus were 13.5 per cent of the total population of East Pakistan in 1951 and now they have been reduced to only 8 per cent.
It is said that the so-called pseudo secular civil society of West Bengal is very conscious about the misdoings of the administration. But they did not say even a word of sympathy towards the inhuman torture meted out to Hindus in Bangladesh. What kind of civil society is this! And in this group there are top intellectuals, administrative heads, Leftists, half and quarter Leftists, ultra Leftists, great Gandhians, human right activists, Congress, Trinamool Congress, political parties of all colours except BJP. Alas, no one came forward to sympathise with these hapless, tortured and persecuted Hindus!