Let me start with some facts and figures.
According to the 2011 Bangladesh census, Hindu population account for 8.5 per cent of the total population of Bangladesh. However, the 2001 census shows, the Hindu population of Bangladesh was 9.2 per cent. The Muslim population of Bangladesh was 89.7 per cent in 2001, and increased 90.4 per cent in 2011. Let us have a quick look to the 1974 Bangladesh census. The Muslim population constitute 85.4 per cent, while the Hindus accounted for 13.5 per cent and at the time of the partition of India in 1947, Hindus comprised 31.5 percent of the total population of then ‘East-Pakistan’. In 2011, the Muslim population was 90.4 per cent, while the Hindu population declined to 8.5 per cent. Not less than 60 million Hindus vanished from Bangladesh over the period of 1947 to 2011. So the trend clearly depicts that in the near future, Hindus may be “ethnically cleansed” from Bangladesh.
Now, let me share another news:
Some Bangladeshi Hindus, who live in USA, asked for a congressional committee hearing to let them know the real situation of Hindus in Bangladesh. Just couple of days ago, on November 20, 2013, they were granted a long-awaited hearing by the United States House Foreign Affairs Committee. The oppressed Hindus urged the U.S. to stay the hand of the religious fundamentalists who are pushing their fellow citizens remaining in Bangladesh toward systematic genocide. However, Muslim fundamentalists hijacked this hearing. ‘Not one Hindu was invited to be on the panel of speakers. The Islamists trashed the only political movement in Bangladesh that offers some hope of secularism.’ (Source: How Islamists Stole a Congressional Hearing) The initiative was really great but unfortunately, the American Hindu Bangladeshi leaders failed. It means to me that the leaders of Bangladeshi Hindu minorities, who live abroad, need to learn international advocacy work properly.
No further compromise!
Now, the Hindus in Bangladesh, you have to fight alone for your rights. Hindus are not organized in Bangladesh and that is why they need to come under one umbrella to protect them. The people of Bangladesh and the politicians fought against Pakistani Army in 1971. Consciously or unconsciously, they were rekindled by the ‘right to self-determination’ ideology. Now, Hindus in Bangladesh have to organise themselves. They should not think of leaving their motherland at any circumstances. Being in Bangladesh, they should raise their voice. You demand for a special protocol of protecting all minorities during pre-election, election and post-election period. You demand equal rights for all religions. To protect your human rights, urge Bangladesh government to integrate fully in administration, judiciary, diplomacy, police, army, air force and border security.
What else Bangladeshi Hindu minorities can do?
In Bangladesh, one important practice is that politicians and also some intellectuals really ‘love’ to involve ‘foreign powers’ to solve their domestic problems. Politicians loved to be ‘pressurized’ or ‘recommended’ by those from ‘powerful’ countries in their own matters. And so do you. Being in Bangladesh, you can raise your voice. You urge different ‘powerful’ governments to keep eyes on the situation. You ask international human rights groups, U.N. Human Rights Commission and other human rights bodies to monitor the minority situation regularly. Send them regular and detail update. You might not receive reply soon, but believe me they work. So, keep sending situation updates regularly.
Contact details of some International Organisations:
- Amnesty International (Press officer for Asia-Pacific)
Press Officer (Asia-Pacific)
Phone: +44 20 7413 5871
9:30 – 17:00 GMT; Monday-Friday
- European Commission (Justice Section Contact)
- Human Rights Watch (Contact Us)
- Minority Rights Group International
- United Nations Human Rights Council (complaint procedure)
- United Nations Indigenous Peoples and Minorities Section
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais des Nations, CH–1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Tel: +41 22 917 9000