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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2704

Durga Puja and Hindus in Bangladesh Part-III

Rabindranath Trivedi

Part-III

Some day there would be sound of silence for human rights in Bangladesh. There is the perennial rubbishing of the Leftist-Nehruvian secular ethos and very little effort to present the other side of the story or introspect; except for an admission that victims of this exodus were themselves partners to this conspiracy of silence. Our primary submission, however, is that India — pursuing secularism of the Leftist-Nehruvian model — wilfully turned a Nelson’s eye to the plight of these Hindu migrants from East Bengal turned Bangladesh.

Goddess Durga sculpture in  British MuseumGoddess Durga sculpture in British MuseumDr. Richard L. Benkin writes in Asian tribune on 17 October : “Over the past months, there has been growing evidence of an alliance between communists and Islamist in South Asia. In 2006, Nepalese Maoists helped shelter Al Qaeda forces on the run from United States and Pakistani troops loyal to strongman Pervez Musharraf that dislodged them from their sanctuaries in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Indian intelligence reported that the Pakistani embassy in Katmandu arranged (and probably funded) the action. Now, informants from West Bengal are reporting that the Communist government of that Indian state is supporting the ongoing persecution of Bangladeshi Hindus forced out of their country by Bangladesh’s Vested Property Act (VPA). The VPA is a re-drawn version of Pakistan’s Enemy Property Act, passed by that country as a punitive measure against Hindus after the 1965 Indo-Pakistani War. It empowers the government to seize the land and possessions of non-Muslims and give it to the Muslims of its choosing. Thus, the Act has become an integral part of Bangladesh’s notorious system of corruption.

The acts have forced millions of Hindus out of East Bengal and destroyed many ancient Hindu communities in that country. Too often, the victims were also attacked. Murder, mutilation, and ritualized gang rape have been common. At first, these atrocities were carried out by private gangs, but victims report seeing government officials leading the attacks in recent years. West Bengal, where many of the Hindus fled, has refused to grant them refugee status or obtain the rights of citizens there.( Communists Thugs Attack Anti-Islamist Activist in West Bengal By Dr. Richard L. Benkin,)

It is very difficult to guess about the inner world of the present-day Bangladesh. The minorities of East Pakistan had not only fought for independence of Bangladesh together with all citizens of other sections of society. Hindus had to pay a great sacrifice of 2 million out of 3 million souls for Bangladesh nationhood, but after August 1975, they are cornered, ciphered and uprooted due to property and votes bank assaults like erstwhile Pakistan military regimes.

The distortion of the history of Bangladesh and with it the Bangladesh foreign policy objectives started following the fifth and eighth amendments to the constitution of Bangladesh in post August 1975. After 1990, the two dominant parties -BNP and Awami League- had altered power, BNP winning in 1991, Awami League in 1996, and a BNP-Jaamat led 4-party alliance again in 2001.

The former 4-party regime and its beneficiaries disguised in the administration are marking time to create environment befitting for them.

What is the truth? Asked jesting Pilate once. He would not stay for an answer. At this point in historical time, here in Bangladesh, it now becomes our responsibility to raise that very question and place it before the interim government and then wait for an answer, if there is any answer.“Violation of human rights has taken place in Bangladesh, though they cannot be compared to those in Rwanda, South Africa or even Argentina. Systematic violation of human rights of the Hindus in particular and political opposition in general took place in the aftermath of elections that brought BNP to power in 2001. It was reported in the media that the BNP thugs wanted to teach them a lesson for supporting the Awami League. Yes, a truth commission should be established to determine the extent of such violations, and the perpetrators must be brought to book. The caretaker government is already stretched. Yet, it can set up a commission to prove human rights violation during the past regimes writes a sociologist Habibul Haque Khondakar (DS,17 Oct.07).

The Army backed Interim government should look into those cases meticulously and lapses in the field administration be dealt seriously.We demand impartial enquiry in every case of violation of human rights We have been receiving news of violation of human rights in the form of grabbing lands, religion and cases of rapeand killing of Hindu girls. In June. melted dead body of a missing school going girl of Rampal upazila was recovered. It was learnt according to the police and the family of the missing girl that Barnali Ghosh, daughter of Bipul Chandra Ghosh of village Chitra under Rampal upazila and also a 1st year student of Accounting department of Khulna Government Azam Khan Commerce College went missing from her home at night on June 30 last. On the day of occurrence, when Barnali came outside of her home to attend the call of nature at about 12 midnight then some perpetrators caught hold of her and then took her to a garden 60-70 yards away from her house and there the perpetrators repressed her brutally and then killed her by suffocation and left her dead body there. After 11 days of the incident, a woman named Soma during cutting grass saw the melted dead body of Barnali and then Soma informed Barnali's father and then Barnali's father traced the dead body of Barnali. So with the case of Aditi Biswas , a second year student of Zoology in Government Rajendra College,Faridpur was killed in September but police took no action,
Two brutes raped an Adibashi adolescent girl, a garments worker of EPZ of Chittagong district. The Adibashi girl went to visit the house of one her neighbor at Freeport area and at that time some wayward boys came to that house and also intimidated the relatives of that Adibashi girl and raped her before them. It was learnt that a case in this connection was lodged with city's Port police station.

Hill Women's Federation, an organization of hilly Adibashis condemned the incident and also demanded immediate arrest of the perpetrators. When they went to the police station after a day of the incident to lodge a case, police didn't take the case at that time and told them to contact police the later day. They told that police took the case on Friday. Police so far could not arrest any of the abductors. Repression and oppression on the minority community still continues countrywide even after state of emergency prevailing in the country.

Terrorists killed about 11 minorities countrywide on June last. Three women of minority community were also raped. Apart from this, incidents like abduction, attack on temples, grabbing of land and looting also took place. The picture came out from the monthly report of Bangladesh Hindu Christian Buddhist Oikkya Parishad.

In West Bengal the mysterious death of the Muslim young man Rizwanur Rehman, after his marriage with a Hindu girl Pryanka Todi, has triggered a nationwide debate regarding inter-religious marriage between Hindu girls and Muslim boys. As the matter is still under the jurisdiction of the honorable court of law, one cannot say whether it is a case of murder or suicide.

Investigators attached with CBI's special crime cell will probe the murder of Rizwanur Rehman, a computer graphics teacher who married the daughter of an influential Kolkata industrialist says PTI on 16 October."We have decided that the Special Crime cell in New Delhi will investigate the case," CBI sources told PTI soon after Calcutta High Court directed the agency to investigate the death of Rehman and submit its report to the court within two months. The CBI team will travel to Kolkata soon, the sources added. When contacted, CBI Director Vijay Shanker told PTI that "we will comply with the High Court order in the cause of justice and complete the investigation in the quickest, transparent and objective manner".The murder of Rizwanur, following his marriage to Priyanka, daughter of industrialist Ashok Todi on August 18, has sparked a national outcry, reports PTI.
In west Bengal, people, politicians, intellectuals and government raised the question of murder of Rizwan since September 21,The HC of West Bengal directed CBI investigation and it is being held soon. The CPM government becomes unnerved, police administration has been facing people’s raze and criticism. CPM, a thirty year built regime, is losing its “Vote-Bank” in west Bengal.

But what happen to our raped slain Hindu girls in Bangladesh: Here people, politicians, intellectuals and government are indifferent in these Hindu girls’ cases. We don't find any difference of behavior, particularly on minority issues, in administration and the nature of humiliation whether democratic regime or autocratic regime or Caretaker Government run by Emergency backed by Army rules in Bangladesh.

What is the truth? After publication of hundred reports since March 2007 in the dailies , till todate ,we do not find any press release or statement from the Government or any sort of relief to the aggrieved persons from the establishment or police administration or any special crime cell to investigate those cases and revealed the truth.

We sought to place on record a major case of human rights violation that has escaped the attention of the world in the hope that it would trigger further research by people better qualified than us. So in the case of the generation of early forties, they too had little knowledge about parley politics of the late forties, but we the members of that generation have created history and achieved our nation-state, Bangladesh.

The sacrifices of the Hindu leadership were never acknowledged either officially or publicly. Does the nation pay respect to those departed souls? Is there any room for the Hindu leaders in the history who fought for the cause of history and the War of Liberation? In the post-August 1975, Bangladesh, Bengali, Hindu and India are equated with a typical psyche by the ruling cliché. "The existing literature on the history of Bangladesh underplays not only the inner contradictions of the Muslims of Bengal, but also other significant features of her past.

It's a 'crisis of confidence'. It's an evidential fact that Hindus in Bangladesh unfortunately have been facing the music of great declination in respect of politico-economic and social status today, to the extent to which caste is declining as a social factor; it is reverting itself as a political factor.

Rabindranath Trivedi, is a retired Additional Secretary and former Press Secretary to the President of Bangladesh.

-Concluded -

- Asian Tribune –

Also Read:

1. Durga Puja and Hindus in Bangladesh

2. Durga Puja and Hindus in Bangladesh - Part –II

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