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The Protection of Bangladesh Minorities :A critical challenge for everyone

By Ranjan Chowdhury


Dear Sirs,
Reference to my earlier discussion in regard to above subject in your offices, I am pleased to submit an article.Pls nte huge reports were documented along with publications supported by photographs which are banned by Bangladesh Goverment for its distribution outside.A few persons that tried to take them out of the country have been arrested in the airport and now being charged with sedition.But e-media doesn't failed in this days. Numerous credible reports being compiled by self and trust these will enhanced your documentation unit.

Introduction

Bangladesh held their national election on Oct1st, 2001 and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), led by Ms. Khaleda Zia in alliance with Fundamentalist Jamait-e-Islami emerged the victory defeating Awami league(AL).Immediately savage atrocities were unleashed upon the minority Hindu and other religious communities.Gangs rampaged into Hindu localities, looted and burnt down homes, attacked and killed people, gang raped women in public and took women as booty.Hindu temples were burnt down and deteis destroyed.Victims were thundered to leave Bangladesh and go to India.The rampage spread across Bangladesh very fast.The indigenous people along with Christian and Buddhist are also feeling the heat.

Most of the victims stated that no police protection was seen anywhere.Minorities in Bangladesh have no government protection even in normal times against rape and abduction, forcible occupation of property & business, coercion and forced conversion to Islam.Eyewitnesses are afraid that the situation has deteoriated so fast, it may surpass the painful happenings of Dec'92 0r Oct'90 when on each occasion over three thousand Hindu temples were destroyed, numerous of woman raped, huge homes burnt & business looted and millions of Hindus cleansed.If not intervened it may even touch the pathetic 1971 liberation war,the worst repression and atrocities on Hindu minorities in Indian Sub continent including secular minded people by then Pakistan army and local fundamentalist so called Razakars/Al-Badar.

However, there is one silver lining this time:though slim yet a section of Bangladesh media is reporting at least a partial account of the program at great personal risk. It signifies in the recent press reports from different parts of Bangladesh on the alleged repression committed against the minority community, the Hindu community in particular,which stated regrettable and anti-human rights. In last three decades, human rights abuses against the Hindu minority in Bangladesh have largely gone unreported.Sadly,Bangladesh nationalism has not been fully successful to accommodate the Hindu minority with propriety.

Incidence: Facts and Documents

Price for a respectable College President for being outspoken and be a minority.

Report follows '''' On November 16,2001, my beloved teacher, Principal Gopal Krishna Muhuri of Nazirhat college at Chittagong was shot dead by the members of Islamic fundamentalist, Jamat-e-Islami, coalition partner of Bangladesh nationalist party which is in power, at his residence.He was well known and wide respected freedom fighter. The four innocuous-looking men shook of their smiley masks, pointed their guns at Muhuri's head and shot him at point-blank range.This is the way we thank our freedom fighters.Bullets and bombs and crocodile tears from the pulpits of power.''''

Attacks on Hindus and secular/moderate Mulims in Bangladesh raise fears of Talibanization. Recent article by Bertil Linter from Far East Economic Review(FEER) and World Street Journal(WSJ) from the issue cover dated April 4, 2002 on heading BEWARE OF BANGLADESH Cocoon of Terror writes ''' A REVOLUTION IS TAKING PLACE in Bangladesh that threatens trouble for the region and beyond if left unchallenged.Islamic fundamentalism, religious intolerance, militant Muslim groups with links to international terrorist groups, a powerful military with ties to militants, the mushrooming of Islamic schools churning out radical students, middle-class apathy, poverty and lawlessness-- all combining to transform the nation.

Sounds familiar !!! Just like Pakistan, its former overlord, this nation of 130 million people--third-most populous in the Muslim world--is slowly moving away from its tradition of moderate ISLAM.And the government seems power less and unwilling to stem the tide, which includes growing attacks on moderate Muslims and dwindling Hindu population.

Very silent persecution were held on Hindu Minority which is a fact that 1971/1990/1992 did not focused well and consequently we have paid severely.Take a look at the figures of the Hindu population of our India Sub Cont; why did it dwindle...? STATISTICS

Year Pakistan Bangladesh

1941 Approx 25% Approx 30%
1948 Approx 17% Approx 25%
1991 Approx 1.5% Less than 10%

The Wrath of Election Victory: They paid for being AL supporters…lost legs forever.

Political revenge and atrocity is crippling the Bangladesh economy. The government has arrested a few intellectuals and scholars for writing against atrocities. Nearly 112 journalists have been beaten up/ arrested for exposing the issue and the ruling party hoodlums destroyed 12 press offices and last year, a total of 12 journalists were murdered for reporting crime. As her Minister for Information and Media Control, Dr. Abdul Moyeen Khan did not ban publishing 'undesirable newspapers' as perceived by the government, he has been replaced with a hard liner. Earlier, the same government (1992-1996)cut off electricity, sewerage and telephone lines of a newspaper [The Jonokanto] and stop giving government advertisements as it continued publishing gruesome pictures and stories of atrocities, rape, looting, murders, takeovers and terrorism. However, in spite of threat and intimidation, the major newspapers of Bangladesh are still publishing stories of terrorism everyday.'' What is happening !!'' writes Shahriar Kabir, a documentary filmmaker based in Dhaka who was arrested and freed later due pressure from Amnesty International this year, is the initial stage of the '' Talibanizing of Bangladesh politics and society '''..................

 

The Aftermath of the Fundamentalist Victory in Bangladesh: An AL party worker killed while sleeping with wife and son….

Concern over the escalation of violence against the minority population had brought Bangladeshi-Americans, Congressman, journalists and civil rights activists together on April 28 rainy Sunday afternoon at Queens, USA. Members in the Congressional Bangladesh Caucus in USA also expressed deep concern.Carolyn B Maloney,member in the Congressional Bangladesh Caucus wrote a letter to PM of Bangladesh dated April 25,2002 which being attached.

Two Representatives of the United States Congress in a letter to Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia have also expressed strong concern over reports of a campaign of minority persecution in Bangladesh and urged her to repatriate and rehabilitate the refugees and displaced people and pay full compensation to the victims. The letter also urged an end to oppression on journalists and writers who report minority persecution and human rights violations.According to the leader of Human Right Congress for Bangladeshi Minorities in Dhaka, the letter written on May 6, 2002 by Rep. Frank Pallons Jc and Rep. Anthony Weigner was handed over to the Bangladesh Embassy in the USA and the same was released in Dhaka through Email. The Congressmen urged the Prime Minister to allow an independent commission to investigate the atrocities perpetrated against the minority groups and to pass Affirmative Actions and Hate Crime Laws.The letter called upon the authorities to stop what it called the torture in custody of members of secular parties, including Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir and Bahauddin Nasim, on whose behalf Amnesty International issued an Urgent Action Appeal.The two Congressmen have demanded of the government to publish a White Paper on atrocities against the minorities over the years, and bring the perpetrators to justice.

The letter also urged the government to restore secularism in the Constitution of Bangladesh as it existed in the first constitution of independent Bangladesh in 1972.The letter said that violent persecution began as soon as 'your' (Khaleda Zia) coalition government of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), Jamaat-e-Islami and the Islamic Oikya Jote ‘Islamic Unity Council’ won a victory in the parliamentary election held in October, 2001', the US Congressmen said.The letter explained that due to the fact that the grey acts of persecution were initially inflicted upon the secular Muslims as well, the international community was led to believe that it was simply a post election scenario that took a violent turn. However, soon the persecution of the secular Muslims ceased while that of the religious minority Hindus Buddhists and Christian continued rather unabated, it added.

The Congressmen were also concerned about the "Islamisation" of Bangladesh. Since 1971, when Bangladesh was born as a secular democratic country of Islamic Pakistan, the minority population declined from roughly 20 per cent down to 12 per cent, due to discriminationary treatment and persecution at the hands of the Islamic extremists. Since 1988, when Islam was declared the state religion thus replacing secularism from the Constitution, discrimination against the religious minorities and persecution have become a routine affair.The Congressmen said that they were concerned about the activities of Islamic Foundation in Bangladesh and they respectfully urged the Prime Minister to work towards implementing the following in a effort to uphold pluralistic democracy in Bangladesh.In the conclusion of the letter, both the Representatives hoped that they would appreciate very much if the Bangladesh government could take these necessary steps to show its sincerity to uphold international human and civil rights.

William Sloan, president of the Canadian branch of the American Association of Jurors, visited Bangladesh in February this year and described his horror on seeing victims of torture.

Many of the 250,000 Rape Victims of 1971 War were rehabilitated in Bangladesh...many committed suicide…….Will she be rehabilitated?

Additional 6(six) reports sent as an attachment to yr knowledge.Hope to send more docs in coming days
Please write to the Bangladesh government and to other relevant agencies/personalities to put pressure on the government to stop such atrocities, make an impartial investigation and to punish the culprits.

Thanks

Ranjan Chowdhury.
E.mail: captchowdhury@yahoo.ca

 

Source :
http://web.amnesty.org/ai.nsf/Index/ASA130062001?OpenDocument&of=COUNTRIES\BANGLADESH http://web.amnesty.org/ai.nsf/Index/ASA130072001?OpenDocument&of=COUNTRIES\BANGLADESH http://www.mukto-mona.com/human_rights/minority/index.htm
http://www.ganashakti.com/tw/thisweek/world.htm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/south_asia/newsid_
http://www.despardes.com/newsdetails/040302-cocoon-of-terror.htm
http://www.pacificnews.org/content/pns/2001/nov/1120bangladesh.html
http://www.iisg.nl/news/shahriar3.html
http://www.feer.com http://www.dailystarnews.com
http://www.dailystarnews.com http://www.hvk.org/articles/0202/117.html

The '''Oppressed Minorities'' by an emminent scholar Professor Ajoy K. Roy from Bangladesh.