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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2040

Durgaostab and Hindu religious status in Bangladesh - Part-III

By Rabindranath Trivedi

Disturbed Hindus do not get any relief or justice, rule of law. One Mr.Nitai Chakraborty S/0 Ganesh Chakraborty of Kanuria Mukshudpur filed case of release his ancestral property from VP(Kh) list under section 14 ( Kha) , but Local land officials including Tahsildar Razzaque Mridha in connivance of Awami political goons are spoiling Sheikh Hasina’s good efforts of transferring the property to the owner.

” Who Governs The Land Administration”

As she said, ‘The scrapping of Section 14 (kha) of the Vested Property Act had dispelled the complexities over such properties of Hindus. They all applied to the Bangladesh Land secretary against those grabbers and wondering different human rights organization and places for justice. We too, also get reports that the land administration like AC land and Tahasilders in the field are demanding high stake of money for mutation, transferring land under VP Act ( Kha ) list. On the otherhand Land ministry issued circular in May 2014 stating if the incumbent does not release land with in a year of this circular would automatically turn those lands under government custody. What a irony of fate of Hindus, they are wondering hither and thither after filing case of returning their ancestral property, whereas government machinaries in the field behaving otherwise. The district administration changed the land record of Devuttar Property and put as Khas land (Khatian no 1 of DC custody and some cases lease out to Muslims lease .Then, the question arises, “Who Governs the land administration?”

Over the last four decades in Bangladesh, The religious minorities in Bangladesh 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 “stateless citizens”. Minority population is dwindling in Bangladesh. It was about 30% in 1947 and after independence 15% now in 2011 it is about 9.5%.

In present days in Bangladesh Religious minority communities live with a huge sense of vulnerability, not even trusting the state and if the state cannot be trusted, nobody can be. The trust can be built up by improving government institutions and affirmative action policies to provide security and protection to property rights of the minorities. Functioning government institutions and the rule of law in society are very important in building trust; Hindus were attacked without any fault except casting votes in the 10th parliamentary elections in January 2014, reports the daily Star, March 10,2014. So the religious minorities do not have any trust left on the majority community. We can point out how the minorities were shocked and stunned again and again by the ruling centrist party of Awami League and its secular democratic allies. This included reference to return the Ramna Kali Temple to the Hindus after liberation, deliberate failure to to repeal the Enemy Property Act (thus allowing successive government seize 2.8 million acres of land from the minorities), and create Hindu, Buddhist and Christian Foundations along with the Islamic Foundations that the then Government had created through legislation.

All governments for looking the other way when the Islamic nationalists & extremists desecrated deities and temples during the Durga Pooja every year since 1972, thus signaling to the Islamists that minority persecution was all right in secular democratic Bangladesh as it had been during Islamic Pakistan period but the legacy of Persecution of Religious Minorities in Bangladesh prevailing even after four decades of independence. Following the Bangladesh war in 1971 and riots in 1990, 1992, 2001, 2012, 2013 & 2014. Hindu population in Bangladesh from 23% in 1971 before war has dropped to 9.5% in 2011, conceivably, by 2050, Bangladesh will have achieved the status of Pakistan: no significant Hindu population in Pakistan Due to the campaign of discrimination and atrocities there has been an exodus of 16 million minorities to India since 1971, who live there as stateless people for India doesn’t grant asylum to Bangladesh’s minorities. And now Bangladesh, Hindus have only the right to suffer and right to observe silence.

.In the early fifties, the Hindus in East Bengal were politically, economically, and socially dominant in the region of East Bengal now Bangladesh. Numerically they were a minority, but they dominated the fields of trade and business, the administrative services and the professions. ‘The Caste Hindus lived in towns, and the majority of the buildings and properties-in some cases more than 85 percent – in each town of East Bengal were owned by them .In undivided Bengal, they made-up 60 percent of the total population’The Hindu leadership in the Constitutional Assembly of Pakistan in Feb.1948 conceived the historic State-Language issue. It was the Hindu Leadership (1947-54) as the Leader and member of the opposition led the nation in the definitive direction to the constitution, parliament and democracy.

Hindu Leadership had abandoned the separate electorate system and their advocacy for the joint electoral system under a secret agreement with Awami League in 1956, was a milestone in our national history. The Hindu leaders had mortgaged political party and votes to the Awami League after birth of Bangladesh. If there were no joint electoral system in 1970, Bangladesh would not have her genesis as a Republic in 1971. In Pakistan still separate electoral system in the constitution. After five years of Ayub's military regime, the Hindu leadership demanded separate electoral system in 1961."

Our former generation in East Bengal began their life in the peculiar political environment of communal hatred, distrust and disgrace. We all know that Bangladesh is a product of double secessions. She has changed her identity twice in less than a quarter of a century. Overnight in August 1947, families that had lived as friendly neighbours for decades in British India became mindless enemies in Hindu India and Moslem Pakistan. But in East Pakistan, Moslem League government’s sponsored oppression had caused a steady Hindu migration to India..... But why have the divided Hindu and Moslem states not been able to maintain a separate peace? But the explosion of Hindu-Moslem hatred after partition was enough to poison a whole generation of Indians and Pakistanis. In the meantime a new generation has grown up on both sides –one that does not even remember the days not so long ago when all thought of themselves as Indians. A one-man boundary commission, consisting of the British jurist, Sir Cyril Radcliff, drew up a boundary line across undivided Bengal, which had a total area of 203,028 sq kms, to create two separate entities-East and west Bengal, which formed the eastern wing of Pakistan, later turned Bangladesh by fire in 1971 and West Bengal which became a province of independent India.

It is testified by the US Secretary of State Mr. Kerry released the 2013- Annual Report on International Religious Freedom on July 28, 2014. Fact Sheet says in Bangladesh, there were a large number of arson attacks and looting of minority religious sites and private homes across the country, especially against the Hindu community. Hindu properties are always in the direct target of BNP-Jamaat or Awami League in disguise. According to a domestic human rights organization,• 495 statues, monasteries, or temples were destroyed; • 278 homes and 208 businesses were destroyed; • 188 were injured; hundreds displaced, and • one person was killed during the year…. Increased violence against minorities in the lead-up to the elections shows how minority communities are especially vulnerable during periods of political instability, when some partisans exploit latent communal sentiment to settle scores, take land, or intimidate opponents to achieve political aims, says USCIRF report 2013. Jamaat-Shibir cadres launched despicable attacks on Hindu communities in four districts the day after the 10th parliamentary elections. The post-election violence with a communal frenzy that occurred throughout the country, especially in the districts of Jessore, Satkhira, Gaibandha, Dinajpur, Netrakona, Jaipurhat, Rangpur, Thakurgaon, Panchagarh and Rajshahi, and some other places unprecedented. About 2,500 houses and temples were burnt down in post-poll violence and 10,000 temples and houses demolished so far since February 2013 as estimated by different quarters.

Attacks on minority communities, especially Hindus, were continuing due to “state-sponsored Islamisation, since the annulment of the clause of secularism from the constitution and inclusion of Islam as state religion by former military rulers. Religious minorities leaving Bangladesh following anti-minority disturbances after the demolition of the Babri mosque in India in December 1992. According to the 1991 census, the total population of Bangladesh stood at 107,993,000, of which 87.4 per cent are Muslims and the rest, that is, 10,967,080, are the minorities. The total majority Muslim community is 94,385,882 of the 12.6 percent minority; the Hindu community comprises 10.5 per cent. The remaining 1.1 per cent of the total population (1991 census), which comes to 1,188,003 are Buddhists, Christians and members of the Tribal communities living in Bangladesh. If the normal increase rate prevailed, the number of the Hindu community in this country would have been about three crore (30 million).This is the legacy of the partition of India in 1947 and then the failure of the state apparatus to safeguard the rights of the religious minorities. During the period of 1951-2011 in Bangladesh, the Hindu population dropped from

22% to 8.5%. In Pakistan, the change was more dramatic: from an estimated 20% or 25% of the mostly Hindu-Sikh in 1947, it has dropped today below 2%.

To Be Continued

- Asian Tribune -

Durgaostab and Hindu religious status in Bangladesh - Part-III
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