SABHA seeks intervention of President of India
From our Special Correspondent
SILCHAR, March 14: South Assam Bengali Hindu Association (SABHA) expressing its serious concern at the continuing atrocities on Hindus in Bangladesh has sought the intervention of President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, to prevail over the Awami League led Government of Sheikh Hasina to take effective steps to stop the atrocities. In a memorandum addressed to the President of India today, Dipayan Chakraborty, Chairman, and Partha Sarathi Das, General Secretary, of SABHA, pointed out that the reports emanating from across the border and as reported in the media of that country, despite specific directive of the Supreme Court and the High Court of Bangladesh to the Sheikh Hasina Government to take legal steps against the perpetrators of crimes, the houses of Hindus, their places of worship and business interests remain the targets of arsonists and goons belonging to the fundamentalist Jamaat–e–Islam and its youth wing Shibir.
According to them, it was not a new phenomenon but the continuation of orgy of violence against the Hindus since 1947. As a result, they said, millions of Hindus, Buddhists and Christians in the erstwhile East Pakistan and after that Bangladesh had to undergo untold tortures. It was during the Awami League regime that the Hindus or minorities could feel a breather. Unfortunately, even under Sheikh Hasina Government, the life and property as well as temples of Hindus have become unsafe.
With the emergence of Bangladesh in which the Indian forces played significant role in its liberation, it was expected that the Hindus would be safe and secure. But, it was not to be. Just after the return of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) of Begum Khaleda Zia to power in 2001, the minorities in the country had to suffer extremely. Their very hope and expectation of a secure living after the liberation of Bangladesh viewed as victory of secular and democratic forces was belied. In 2002, 147 Hindu temples were either damaged or burnt down. It was an indication that the secular and saner voices were subdued by the extreme and communal forces.
The Vested Property Act further dealt a severe blow to the Hindus who came to be deprived of their land. In the same year, 56 cases of land grabbing were reported. Recent carnage is also a pointer to it, Dipayan Chakraborty and Partha Sarathi Das, said. From the pattern of ongoing violence, it was clear that any internal disturbance as had taken place presently following the trial of war criminals and the public demand for their execution provided enough excuse for the fundamentalist forces to target the minorities. SABHA leaders expressed their surprise at the attitude of the intellectuals of the country and West Bengal in particular for maintaining intriguing silence on the systematic attacks on the minorities in Bangladesh. These intellectuals do not miss any opportunity to cry foul at the American attack on Vietnam, Nicaragua, Cuba, Iraq and Afganistan, but prefer to remain silent on persecution of “our own people in Bangladesh.”
SABHA leaders quoted from the editorial of Daily Star of Dhaka dated March 10, 2013 which read “incidents of violence and vandalism targeting Hindus have continued unabated. These have fallen into an escalating pattern. As many as 15 districts have witnessed attacks on minorities. These included arson and vandalism on their households and temples. In most of the places, the victims are left to live under open sky….”
The memorandum speaks of the ever declining population of Hindus in Bangladesh. Between 1961 and 1991, the decrease was to the tune of 8 per cent. Their present population of 8.5 per cent might face near or total decimation if the trend of violence continues. The Hindus, Budhists and Christians, SABHA leaders stated, are living in a state of fear and panic and their migration to India cannot be ruled out. It would be a catastrophic situation if the Government of India did not address the issue seriously. The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, has been requested by SABHA leaders to give his due and serious thought to the problem before it was too late.