The minorities of Bangladesh, especially Hindus have continuously migrated to India because of the unsafe environment and large discrimination and torture from the rulers.
By- Swadesh Roy
All over the world the minority communities are considered vulnerable. They are known to be tortured, persecuted in many ways. In addition, conservative and fundamentalist members of the majority community always show negligence, even hatred towards them.
On the other hand minority communities suffer from a kind of lack of confidence. So a group of people of minority community cannot walk with the mainstream of the society or the country. Its result is very miserable. Members of the minority community steps downwards gradually in all over the world if the government and society do not take care properly. It is also happening in Bangladesh.
The ratio of the minority community member is decreasing from the administration and business and other professions gradually. Besides that, there is another phenomenon in Bangladesh. The minority of Bangladesh cannot resist any type of discrimination and they are not organized in a positive mode; that is why if they face any trouble they leave the country and most of them go to India.
From 1947 to till date, this migrating flow is an ongoing process, especially that there are people of same religion and ethnicity in other side of the border such as in Indian province of West Bengal and parts of Assam and Tripura. So, the population of minority community basically those who belong to Hindu in religion are continuously leaving the country illegally.
But if we go through the history, we can find that, there is a glorious participation of this Hindu community member in every historical movement of Bangladesh. They are the pioneer of the freedom movement at the British regime. In fact it was Surraya Sen who first flew the Indian flag for the first time in this Indian subcontinent. Later though Indian subcontinent won the freedom struggle together, it was divided into India and Pakistan with Bangladesh remaining as a part of Pakistan. But from the very inception of Pakistan the Pakistan started treating this region as a colony. In addition, they tried to change the language of the people by declaring Urdu as a state language. Dhrendranth Dutt, the leader of a congress of the then east Bengal, and the parliament member of Pakistan protested it first and demanded that, Bengali should be the state language of East-Pakistan. So, it is historically proved that, Mr. Dutt is the leader who started the language movement first.
The father of the nation of Bangladesh, Bangabandu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman also recognized that, Mr. Dutt was the first leader who demanded Bengali as the state language of East Pakistan. From then, people of this soil started language movement which formed the basis of the freedom movement of Bangladesh.
Not only that but in the freedom movement and the freedom fight of 1971, involvement of the minority community was very high. They never thought that they were Hindu in religion and they were minority. They fought as a citizen of Bengal and they uphold the Bengali nationality. Bangladesh was created to uphold Bengali nationalism and the first constitution of Bangladesh was created to avoid all kinds of discrimination, such as religion, race and sex etc. However, Bangladesh did not run a long under this constitution. A group of military killed the founder father of the country and they imposed military rule. That military ruler changed the constitution by the military regulation and they added in the constitution discrimination of religion minority.
At a stage one of the military rulers Hussein Mohamad Earsed added to the constitution that, Islam is the state religion of Bangladesh. After this action Hindu, Buddhist and Christian of Bangladesh are declared officially minority of this country. Not only they are minority but also they face many kind of discrimination from the government. Besides that, any military government cannot establish good governance in the country. They destroy administration and judiciary. When a country suffers from the lack of good governance then vulnerable community of that country face thousands of problems. It is obvious. So after the death of Sheik Mujibur Rahman the minority community of Bangladesh is started facing many problems. But they fell in a man-made big deserter in 2001. It was a caretaker government regime.
Bangladesh had introduced a caretaker government system to hold an election. That government had only duty to hold an election and to carry out day to day works. In 2001 an election was held in Bangladesh by a caretaker government. A large number of people of Bangladesh thought that caretaker government was purchased by the international fundamentalist groups. The chief of that government, Justice Latifur Rahaman and most of his adviser, those who are in the rank of a minister worked in favor of Islamic fundamentalist. Having taken the power, Mr. Latifur Rahaman addressed to the nation as the government chief. In that speech, he mentioned very tactfully that, Hindu community in Bangladesh is 2nd class citizen. From his speech the government official and the Islamic fundamental group understood the message. In March 1971, the Pakistan authority gave same type of signal to the Pakistani government official and the pro Pakistani elements of that soil.
After the address to nation of Latifur Rahaman, a heavy persecution came down on the Hindu community. After that, the large scale minority persecution took place on the minority community, in 2001. At that time, one of the main minority community leaders of Bangladesh said to the Prothom Alo, a vernacular daily of Bangladesh that, extremist group has started looting , raping, arson and killing the minority community all over the country but the caretaker government is not taking any steps to stop it. They are totally overlooking it. The present government of Bangladesh had setup a probe committee. They have given the report of it. That report does not express the whole picture of that incident because probe committee did not have that strength as it was just one member committee. But still according to that committee report, 18,000 thousand incidents took place that time. They killed 355 people, besides many gang rapes done.
The present government of Bangladesh has thrown out the caretaker government from constitution. They introduce that election will be held under a political government. But the Islamic Fundamental front led by Bangladesh National party (BNP) is demanding the caretaker government. Some intellectuals are in favor of this. Even then the leader of the Islamic fundamental front Khaleda Zia has appealed to the United Nation Secretary general Mr. Ban Kin Moon, to give pressure to Bangladesh government to establish a caretaker government system in Bangladesh.
So now it is a big question to the politicians, intellectual and the United Nation- do they think about the protection of the minority community in Bangladesh? Is the minority community safe under any type of caretaker government? A vulnerable community like minority is only safe under a liberal democratic government.
Swadesh Roy is the Executive editor of Daily Janakantha, Dhaka, Bangladesh. He can be reached at [email protected]