Since independence of Bangladesh in 1971, population of Hindus has declined to one fifth. Rights of Hindus have never remained a priority in Bangladesh and the problems of Hindus are multiplying there instead of decreasing. Hindus are suffering from constant threats to their lives, security and property in Bangladesh. There are regular reports of illegal encroachments of Hindu temples and lands, looting of Hindu property, discrimination, persecution, molestation and abduction of Hindu girls in Bangladesh.
In a recent incident, three idols of Goddess Durga were vandalised by unidentified miscreants in southern Bangladesh, the second such incident in the past two weeks as Hindus in the country kicked off their biggest festival, Durga Puja. The miscreants damaged the idols at a puja site in the darkness of night and fled the scene. The incident took place for the second time in the same district in the past 15 days. Sporadic incidents of attacks on idols were also reported in 16 other places. In another incident on October 6, five idols were vandalised at a Puja site in Ashashuni Upazila. This is not new in Bangladesh, list is very long, and every year this type of incidents takes place.
|Some Previous Incidents |
Sep 2013: Several Hindu idols were damaged in Bogra and Munshiganj district
Oct 2013: Eight idols of Hindu deities were vandalised in Natore District
Jan 2014: Ten Hindu idols desecrated in Narsingdi, Bangladesh
Feb 2014: Unidentified miscreants vandalised idols in a Hindu temple
in Bathania Chala under Kaliakoir upazila
Mar 2014: 100-year-old Hindu temple was vandalised and torched in the Bagerhat district, 8-year old Mila Bakta Raped
April 2014: Moni Saha (17) Hindu College Girl kidnapped
July 2014: 16 –year-old Sagorika Haldar Raped and Murdered
July 2014: Hindu girl abducted raped and converted to Islam in Lalmonirhat
Sep 2014: Miscreants vandalised four idols of Hindu gods and goddess in faridpur
Dec 2014: Vandalised the houses and temple of Hindu people, 13 left injured
Jan 2015: Hindu Nursing Lecturer killed for not following Hijab Policy
July 2015: ISKCON Temple Attacked in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Several Hindu devotees brutalised by Islamists.
Last year in January a temple of Kali in Netrakona District of Bangladesh was vandalised and set afire by unidentified persons. Hindus in Bangladesh have been living in a daunting atmosphere of discrimination, humiliation, intimidation and persecution from decades. The only option which remains for them is to migrate to Bharat or give up their religion forsake of their life. This raises a serious existential concern for Hindus in Bangladesh. The proportion of the Hindu population is dropping sharply and those who still remain, face a more risky and challenging future.
Thousands of Hindus have been killed, families destroyed and their belongings have been snatched away. Tens of thousands of Hindu families who have owned the land for generations have left behind all their properties and fled to Bharat just to save their lives. Hundreds of families are leaving the country every day and arriving in Bharat with empty hands.
In the past ten years, comparing to the growth of the total population in Bangladesh, there is an alarming decrease of Hindu population in the country. According to the 1951 census, in Bangladesh, Hindus were 22 per cent of the total population in the country, in 1974 the figure came down to 14 per cent. According to the last 2011 census, Hindus consist only 8.5 per cent of the population.
Recent surge in the rise of radical Islam and greed of forceful occupation of Hindu properties have compelled thousands of Hindu families to migrate to other countries. Forceful conversion of Hindus by Islamic fundamentalists is also the reason for such decrease in Hindu population in Bangladesh. According to the sources, currently more than three hundred Islamic charitable organisations are engaged in funding to convert Hindus into Islam. If Hindus try to protect their property, either their houses were set on fire or female members of those families were forcefully abducted as well as gang-raped. In most cases, law agencies, instead of protecting the Hindu families, try to defend the perpetrators. Commenting on issue Rajesh Gogna, Secretary General of Human rights Defense International (HRDI) told Organiser, “Atrocities on minorities in Bangladesh are not new and their existence is extremely threatened there. They are facing it since decades. Condition of the minorities in Pakistan and Bangladesh is totally different from Bharat. They cannot even get any kind of support from international agencies. They are human beings, but they have no human rights. It is a complete vicious circle in which the offenders have full support from the State. The situation is so bad that they can’t even think to resist. They have lost many generations there. Government of Bharat should take proactive steps for their protection.”
The torture, suffering and devastation that have torn Hindus in Bangladesh for many decades can never be expressed in words. It can only be felt by someone who has been affected. Therefore, it is a matter of urgency to do something to end this torture.
Nishant Kr Azad
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