Everyone knows that the leaders of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami and its student front Islami Chhatra Shibir incited the attacks on Hindus as we witnessed after the verdict in Delawar Hossain Sayedee case was delivered on February 28. The fundamentalist party activists continued their violent protests across the country targeting mainly the police, government offices, roads and rail communications, and particularly the houses-businesses and temples of the Hindus, who are assumed to be Awami League supporters.
Newspaper clippings, TV footage and statements of the victims clearly suggest that the Jamaat-Shibir men committed the vicious attacks and those seemed like “pre-planned”. Remarkably, Hindus are the easiest targets for oppression.
The statistics available with the Hindu community leaders is shocking as such massive attacks in many districts over a small time-span is rare after 1971 Liberation War, when the Muslims too were termed pro-India by the Jamaat. The government though acknowledges the loss of Hindus’ lives and property, counts only the mass attacks in few districts.
On Sunday, Bangladesh Puja Udjapon Parishad, an association of Puja organisers who set up an information desk on March 1, said at least 5 Hindus were killed, 47 temples vandalised and 1500 Hindu houses were vandalised or burnt down in 37 districts since February 28.
The same day, another organisation representing the communities of Hindus, Buddhists and Christians claimed that they recorded attack on 99 temples, 48 of which were looted and set afire, and around 2000 houses were set ablaze.
The BJP’s sweeping declaration of the Dhaka-march came a same before when they announced five point demands that include punishment of the culprits, establishing a separate ministry for “minorities”, apparently to the government of Bangladesh, and tried to create a sensation in both the countries by terming the situation “volatile” and asking party men to march towards Dhaka on March 18 though they knew they would be barred at the border.
Is this move justified after 16 days to express compassion for the victims? It’s okay that they raised the issue in Lok Sabha and demanded intervention of the central government to protect Bangladeshi Hindus.
But how can they “interfere” in an issue of another country and so aggressively? They could send a letter to the Bangladesh premier or hold a press conference in Agartala or New Delhi and put the demands forward.
The rage of the opposition BJP was highlighted in Indian media, but alas, the Bangladesh mainstream media didn’t bring it to the front page. The move was, however, widely criticised in social media, especially Facebook and blogs.
The figures cited by the Tripura BJP chief were also wrong: “Minorities had counted 46 percent in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, at time of partition in 1947 and the figure reduced to 28 percent in 1970. Hindus now count 10 percent.” Reliable data of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics say Hindu and Christian and other minorities’ population in Bangladesh came down to 9.7 percent in 2012 from the 21 percent in 1971 and 19.7 percent in 1947.
Well, the BJP did it; some 800 supporters thronged the Akhaura border on March 18 and evidently were barred from crossing the border.
Again, the statistics were given wrongly in Indian media like the other day by The Hindu, especially the Times of India, and the BJP Tripura command didn’t utter a single word about the perpetrator Jamaat-Shibir force and its ally BNP, the main opposition party in Bangladesh.
Its wish to express solidarity with the Occupy Shahbagh Movement, one and a half months after it began, is another fierce.
The BJP’s other demands include security and safety of people from minority groups, compensation to affected people, and reconstruction and protection of religious places in Bangladesh. The government, the highest court and the people of all religions have already started meeting these issues.
My strong opposition to the BJP stance has more points to defend my stance. Firstly, I don’t like the crudeness of the BJP, and secondly, I don’t need its support for the Shahbagh Ganajagaran Mancha. This move — marching towards Dhaka to press home their demands to save the Hindus of Bangladesh — is nothing but a political sarcasm to me. The causes are good, no doubt; but it’s the fundamentalist BJP, which has now started playing regional politics centring “religion”.
The BJP is highly criticised in the apolitical society in Bangladesh for its roughness and excesses concerning religion. We haven’t forgotten the BJP’s provocation and protection of the perpetrators from Bojong and Shiv Sena groups in the 2002 Muslim murders-rape of Gujarat. These groups are also blamed for the 1992 Babri mosque attacks.
Well! Now the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh claims that Hindu minorities were being “forced to flee” Bangladesh and Pakistan following “persecution,” and sought the Centre’s intervention to end their distress.
RSS Sarkayawah (general secretary) Suresh Josh on Sunday told journalists in Jaipur, “The ABPS condemns the recent attacks on Hindus, including Buddhists, in Bangladesh by fundamentalist groups like the anti-Hindu and anti-Bharat Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami.”
And, in Bangladesh, we already are in a world of fools when the main opposition BNP chief alleges that the attacks on Hindus were carried out by the ruling Awami League supporters as claimed by the Jamaat. The government here now acknowledging only the massive attacks on Hindu houses and vandalism of idols, and therefore, is taking the issue lightly as the culprits are moving free dodging police.
The Hindus who have escaped the attacks are now the most vulnerable since the unrest in political arena over the war crimes trial and next polls has mounted.