Bangladesh is captured in an upsurge of violence against the religious minorities, following a series of attacks on secular bloggers, activists and intellectuals, that began last year. The recent execution of a Hindu priest, however, has triggered new absurdity in the country.
Bangladeshi extremists have set off a massive agitation against the Hindu community in Bangladesh yet again, which can soon result in a fresh wave of Indians moving out of Bangladesh.
On June 7, a Hindu priest was killed when three bikers slit his throat, leaving his head hinged on the neck. Two days later, another Hindu religious worker Nityananda Panday was killed in almost the same manner.
Even after Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina elated Hindus to remarkable positions in her government, most Hindus remain disparaged and are oppressed in the country. There have also been a continuous discrimination and violence against them.
At the time of India’s partition in 1947, Hindus were 31 pc of the total population in Bangladesh. By 2011 their percentage reduced to 8.5 pc. According to the 2001 census, 50 Bangladeshis moved to India every day, via the border between the nations.
Bangladeshi Hindus faced widespread violence in 1992 where 30,000 houses, work places and places of worship were burnt or demolished. After nine years, Hindus were again stormed by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) along with the Islamists. However, fierceness against the minorities grew in 2014 after the arrival of al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS).
An Islamic State (IS) online magazine that recently published about the death of priest Jogeshwar Roy, also printed an interview with the IS chief in Bangladesh, who said that IS has widespread support for their attacks on Hindus, Christians, Qadiyanis and other minorities.
However the government of Bangladesh blamed the opposition party BNP and Islamic organisation Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) for the attacks and denied the role of AQIS and IS.
The authorities have arrested more than 11,000 people since June 10, 2016, including the members of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen (JuM -a banned Islamist organisation), political workers, known criminals and dealers in country-made weapons.
“I don’t know whether it is ISIS or some other group decapitating Hindus but it is quite clear that this persecution is not the same as earlier. It is a new phenomenon,” Kajal Debnath, head of Bangladesh Hindu, Buddhist, Christian Unity Council (HBCUC) told Times of India. “Earlier, they would rape Hindu girls or torch our temples and houses, forcing Hindus to abandon their properties and migrate to India.
It was mostly about grabbing Hindu land and property. But now they are slaughtering ordinary landless poor Hindus with no social or economic standing and the message is entirely different,” he added.
Last year, from February to August, various secular bloggers were killed in Bangladesh, following a series of slaughters in the country. On September 28, 2015, an Italian charity worker was killed in Dhaka and another Japanese national was gunned down in October. This year, on June 5, 2016 a Christian man was hacked to death in his grocery store that led to the start of another series of killings.
“I don’t support the Indian government’s decision to accommodate Hindu refugees because it will open floodgates for our migration. But if these attacks continue at the present rate without any government intervention, Hindus will be reduced to mere 3 pc in another few years in Bangladesh,” said Kajal Debnath, of HBCUC.