Skip to Content

Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2038

Durgotsab and Hindu religious status in Bangladesh - Part-II

By Rabindranath Trivedi

What had happened under Pakistani regimes (1947-1971), that has been repeatedly happening in Bangladesh over the last four decades? All those violation of human rights were nothing but ‘persecution of religious minority in Bangladesh’ or can be termed as ‘ethnic cleansing’.

Hindus facing persecution in Bangladesh

Just six months before on Tuesday 18th March 2014 ,United Nations Human Rights Council in its 25th Session General debate ( Item 4) , Center for Inquiry Representative, Raheel Raza , under his titled report “Persecution of Religious Minorities in Pakistan” says, “Mr. President, Pakistan is one of the most hostile nations for religious minorities in the world and continues to violate many of its citizens’ right to freedom of religion or belief Between 2012 and 2013, more than 700 people were killed and more than 1,100 injured because of religion-related violence.

Despite Pakistan's constitution guaranteeing freedom of religion, discriminatory laws foster an atmosphere of religious intolerance and erode the social and legal status of members of religious minorities. There are frequent reports of job discrimination, attacks on minority places of worship, kidnappings and forced conversions of non-Muslims.”( www.uscirf.gov).

“State blamed for complicity in persecution of minorities” in Pakistan as reported by DAWN.com under its title and stated : Successive governments not only failed to contain religious-based violence and amend the controversial blasphemy law, but many state functionaries were also involved in hate crime, a survey carried out by an Islamabad-based think tank showed. The findings revealed that discrimination against minorities was connected with the overall inequality and government inattention, lack of effective protection accorded by the state against violence, intimidation and intolerance. The survey, “Minority rights in Pakistan: historic neglect or state complicity?” conducted by the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) stated that the most common tool of persecution against non-Muslim communities and even the Muslims in many cases was the allegation of blasphemy, reports DAWN.com on October 4,2014. ( The daily Janakantha, Oct.05,2014) .

Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities (HRCBM), an NGO affiliated by the UN but not yet received NGO AB recognition of Bangladesh Government for unknown reason, file lying with Home Ministry over six years, endorses this statement by substituting words “Pakistan’ by the word ‘Bangladesh’ and changing the figure of casualty for the period between 2012 and 2014.

An India media DNA writes in September 2014, “In the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, another set of annual events centered on idols of Ma Dura start somewhat earlier than the puma itself. This is the widespread desecration and destruction of Ma Dura’s idols, always done by ‘unidentifiable group of miscreants’. The target faith community is always identifiable and predictable. So widespread is this pre-Puja idol desecration phenomenon that one Puja organizer said in sad resignation that instead of hitting arbitrarily, idol-destroyers should pre-specify each year which puma man daps will be targeted. Already, the pre-Puja idol-breaking campaign has picked up. There’s a good geographical spread this year — 5 in Kishoreganj district, 6 in Rishipara of Gopalpur, 3 in Joari Bajar of Natore, 4 in Garua of Faridpur, 3 in Protapnagar of Sherpur and so on.

Care is taken to attack late in the idol-making process and do a thorough job so that the idol cannot be repaired or replaced. The ‘unindentifiable’ strike with the regularity of monsoon thunderbolts — only the timing and location varies. Like every year, the President, Prime Minister and opposition leader will congratulate their Hindu brothers and sisters on the occasion of Durga Puja.

They would utter tired phrases about Bangladesh’s tradition of communal harmony and religious tolerance. Everyone knows the self-congratulatory routine. A few bad ‘unidentifiable’ apples — the powers-to-be insist. The rest is fine, including those who usurped more than half of all land and property belonging to religious minorities and made them second-class citizen by introducing a State religion in the constitution.” (http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/column-the-annual-durga-idol-desecratio...)

In Bangladesh, Hindus cannot perform their religious rites openly and loudly at home and in public. Hindus are insulted and threatened if they do so. Miscreants vandalised five Durga Puja pandals in Kishoreganj district, bdnews24.com reported Thursday, September 25, 2014. Idols of these five Puja pandals were also damaged.

"This is a heinous incident. This is the first time something like this has happened in Kishoreganj the local Hindus are in panic," said president of the district's Durga Puja Celebration Council. This is common incidents around Bangladesh when Devi Durga puja comes annually Hindus remain panic and tension stricken.

Everyday news of demolition of idols and vandalization of Temples, humiliation upon Hindus for land and women has been pouring in media just like an endemic disease of communal frenzy since 1972. Whilst the 15th Amendment in the constitution of Bangladesh does reinstate secularism, it neither revokes the status of Islam as the state religion, nor erases it from the Preamble that guides the Constitution and its spirit. The paradox of the communal frenzies under the cover of justice and good governance is a funny proposition in Bangladesh. Attacks upon Hindu families between September 2012 and January 2014 as it happened in 1990, 1992, 2001 and 2005 have been heavily criticized by The United States Government, European Union as well as India and other peace demanding nations and organizations.

Over the last six decades in Bangladesh , The religious minorities particularly the Hindus have been subjected to every conceivable form of indignity, socio-political discrimination, denial of equity and justice, dispossession of ancestral households under Vested Property Act, unequal application law, violation of Human Rights and Constitutional provisions, terrorizing and humiliation by using rape, vandalizing temples &worship places including forced convert to Islam and forced marriage to under aged girls and finally grabbing lands and compelled them for quit Bangladesh to take shelter in India as a “stateless citizens”. Earlier Saints and Monks in Bangladesh under the banner of Dharma Sansad ( Sant Mahamandal of Bangladesh ) had submitted 9-point demands to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh in June 2009 relating to Devutter Property Act , Temple and socio-religious issues of the Hindus but no tangible action so far has been taken.. We had a threadbare discussion with the Minister of religious ministry regarding our package deal for Hindu pilgrimage in India.

Government of Bangladesh has been spending crores of dollars for performing Hajj and Eid-Ul Azha festival in Soudi Arabia. But for the Hindus not a single penny has been spent for religious and pilgrimage purpose to visit India. Cremation grounds with many crematories are taken over by force. Devuttar properties have been turned into Vested Property and thousands acres of Devuttar property leased out to Muslims.

The Hindu who was a member of a joint family left this country for India without taking the share of the property was not an owner of his share. His part would remain with the family and rest of the successors would be the owner of the whole property. But the government illegally declared a part or full portion of the property as enemy property and evicts the owners from their lands. Father is the owner of the property of joint family. Sons are not the owner of the property so long as the father is alive. In this situation, if any son leaves the country for India, he is not leaving any property as enemy property because this Hindu law is still prevalent in the country. The inheritance of property in a Hindu joint family all over Bengal is being determined by the system of Dayabhaga, not Mitakshara which is primarily practiced in India. The former suggests the fact that a son inherits the property after the death of his father while according to the latter system of the Hindu inheritance rule, a son can inherit the property of his father on the very moment of his birth.

If any Hindu citizen with his legal passport was traveling India, he was also declared enemy and his property was taken over by the Government. To the contrary, thousands of Muslims were living and working in England, America and Middle East Countries etc. But their properties were not taken over by the Government. Since then the Vested Property issue has been rolling with ordinances, amendments, circulars, memos, and committee and so on. But no tangible action has yet been taken by the Government to solve the contentious issue of minority Hindus. 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.

Bangladesh Hindus have lost 22 lakh acres of their land and houses during the last six years ( 2001-2006), a Dhaka University Professor Abul Barakat says. The market value of this land is Taka 2, 52,000 crore (about $156 million), which is more than half of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). Forty-five per cent of the land grabbers were affiliated with the BNP, 31 per cent with the Awami League, eight per cent with Jamaat-e-Islami and six per cent with the Jatiya Party and other political organisations , quotes Prof Barkat . 925,050 or 40 per cent of the total Hindu households have been affected by the unjust ‘enemy property’ law of the Pakistan era, which continues to exist in Bangladesh under a different nomenclature — ‘vested property law’

To Be Continued

- Asian Tribune -

Durgotsab and Hindu religious status in Bangladesh - Part-II
diconary view
Share this


.