Many believed that the agony of the Hindus would be over and they would regain their lost honor with the liberation of Bangladesh in December 1971. It was entirely a mistaken notion. However, a crore-plus minority population cannot be wished away. Bangladesh’s liberation struggle raised slogans that were against special status to any faith. In that epic fight for freedom, religious minorities died 60% in numbers much higher than their population proportion.
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. The US government in its report on international religious freedom for 2014 criticized Bangladesh for attacks on religious minorities after the January 5 national election, reports the daily star, October 14, 2015.’
Some 24 people were killed, 25 raped and 1,562 families were affected in 262 incidents of minority persecution in the country last year, said a report of Bangladesh Hindu-Bouddha-Christian Oikya Parishad. Regardless of whichever party came to power in Bangladesh, repression of minorities has been present, as it has become a type of social disease or congenital defect within some of the Muslim population inner world of Bangladesh in applying repressive actions on the Hindus and other religious minority groups. Particularly, the state turned authoritarian for fifteen years (1975-1990), military dictators ruled the country the initial constitutional commitment was gradually diluted by successive amendments through a martial law ordinance.
In a study on minorities and politics of vengeance for over last seven decades, how millions of people have been killed or driven out of their homeland because of difference of religions. Militants have killed more than 30 people in Bangladesh, including members of religious minorities, liberal bloggers and academics, since February 2015 .Islamic State has claimed responsibility for 21 of the attacks since its first claim in September last year and Al-Qaeda has claimed most of the rest, according to SITE. The government denies either group has a presence in Bangladesh and says domestic militants are responsible. Everyday news of demolition of idols and vandalisation of Temples, killing religious minority members has been pouring in media but who cares or who governs?
We desire to place some demands before the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, elected members of parliament and people of Bangladesh, our demands as well as recommendations in this regards for consideration. we are ready to submit a draft Bill to the Government in this regard as titled “Bangladesh Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill” aims to protect and fulfill the right to equality before law and equal protection of law by imposing duties on the government, to exercise their power in an impartial and non-discriminatory manner that need to be placed before the parliament.
Bangladesh is second largest Hindu populated country in the World. Hindus would be ensured in Bangladesh if due representation of the community in the field of all decision –making institutions of the Republic. i.e. representation of minority in the Administration ,Army, Police, Judicial and Foreign services as well as public offices at all level is effectively ensured. They need 60 reservation seats in Parliament through Constitutional provision.They want empowerment in political and public offices and constitutional social justice as equal citizens of the Peoples’ Republic of Bangladesh.
The Government of Bangladesh should constitute a separate ministry concerning minority’s affairs and reconstitute National Human Rights Commission for Bangladesh with more minority members to ensure justice to the Minorities to uphold religious rights of Devuttur Property by promulgating a new Act and help secure fair and equal access to justice by allowing Hindu Human Rights NGOs to work in Bangladesh. The Government of Bangladesh, should show respect to those obligations uphold the ideas in the constitution of Bangladesh as ratified so far the “Universal Declaration on Human Rights” to protect and fulfill the right to equality before law and equal protection of law by imposing duties on the government, to exercise their power in an impartial and non-discriminatory manner to prevent and control targeted violence.
Unless there is a radical change of policies and establishing constitutional equal rights including (for proportional representation in jobs (both civil and army and police) and reserved seats in parliament, municipalities, university syndicates and high court benches) on the part of the present Bangladesh Government towards its Hindu minority, their future is indeed bleak and uncertain.-Asian Tribune
The writter is a retired civil servant, founder member of Swadhin Bangla ` Secretariat in 1971, freedom fighter, author and columnist and Secretary General Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities (HRCBM), an NGO affiliated by ECOSOC of the United Nations.