Ethnic Cleansing of Hindus in Bangladesh

We have received first hand information from Sri Rabindra Ghosh, advocate and
President Bangladesh Minority Watch in Bangladesh on the nefarious tactics and
violence persistently perpetrated by fundamentalist Muslims in Bangladesh on the
dwindling minority Hindu population. Sri Ghosh has personally visited more than 320 sites of extreme violence out of thousands reported and recorded the sickening tales of horror and indignity imposed on the Hindu minority, in various parts of Bangladesh where the police and administration are non-cooperating and remain uninvolved. We refrain from providing specific details of the sinful episodes and only a summary on the situation is presented below :
Silent Ethnic Cleansing of Hindus in Bangladesh :

Over the past 45 years, facing numerous adversaries including human and religious rights violations, the Bangladeshi Hindus, together with other religious and ethnic minority communities, are undergoing rapid decline. Since 1947, after the partition of India, Bangladeshi minority communities have suffered a systematic ethnic cleansing cycle that has dropped their population from 23% (in 1951) to 9% (in 2017). The current Hindu population of about 13 million, is far short of the number one should expect based on population growth rates.

The rate of minority population decrease has accelerated in recent years, and several districts of Bangladesh are now witnessing the decrease of their Hindu population in absolute numbers. Looting and burning of households, destruction of temples and religious idols, murder, rape, forced religious conversion, illegal occupation of property, extortion, threats to family structures and other soft and hard intimidations are reducing wellto-do households to paupers and forcing this population across the border to India.
With the recent rise of political and militant Islam and its appeasement by the government, the possibility of Bangladesh turning into a monolithic Islamic country looms on the horizon.

After 1971, at no time has the existential threat to the Hindu community been as
great as it is now.

Rape and forced conversion as a cleansing tool :
Rape is a heinous violent crime. It is used as a war tool through which the invaders subjugate and humiliate the conquered population. A judicial commission concluded that over 200 Hindu women were raped following the 2001 parliamentary election. Rape and other sexual violations of minor girls belonging to the Hindu community, mainly in rural areas, remain rampant. In the conservative society of rural Bangladesh, when a girl is violated in a village, the family is left with no choice but to migrate to India.

In addition, in rural areas, pressure to convert to Islam is increasing with every hour. In many cases, local authorities ignore such activities because they themselves believe that if they can convert a non-Muslim to Islam, then they will be rewarded after death. This belief has caused an upsurge in the religious conversion of Hindu minors and sometimes even of entire families to Islam.

Religious Idol and Temple Destruction :

In the last 46 years, thousands of religious idols sacred to Hindus, were desecrated and destroyed in every district of Bangladesh. Hundreds of temples were put to the torch. Most Muslims believed that idolatry is an offense to Islam, so some of them think it
is their sacred duty to desecrate Hindu or Buddhist idols. Not a single person has been
prosecuted or punished for these deeds even though the authority was vigilant in
protecting even the minutest aspersion levelled on Islam.

Religious Radicalization of Bangladesh :
Falsely accused of insulting Islam, Hindu households and temples are routinely looted, ransacked and set fire. The events of Nasirnagar in Brahmanbaria (2016) and  Thakurpara in Rangpur (2017) are just two examples. The reluctance of the authorities to take stem action in these situations points to a creeping willingness of the government to
stay in power by placating the rising Islamism in the country.

The rise of Islamist militancy in recent years, evidenced by the brutal killings of intellectuals, bloggers, foreigners and members of clergy belonging to minority religious and nontraditional Islamic communities by such terrorist organizations as Ansarullah Bangla and satellites of Al Qaeda and ISIS, is a harbinger of the theocratic state that Bangladesh may become.This rise of militant Islam was facilitated by money from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States that was sent to support religious madrassas and extreme Islamic organizations. As a result of continual indoctrination, Bangladeshi terrorists were found fighting for ISIS in Syria and for the Taliban in Afghanistan. In recent years, to appease the religious sentiment of the population, the government has made special
budget allocations for building mosques and training Islamic clergy. Under pressure from Hefazat-i-Islam and Awami League’s Islamic wing, the authority is systematically
removing texts by renowned non-Muslim and Muslim authors from the school
curriculum. These texts have been expunged because of the fear that they might promote
multicultural perspectives, introspective philosophical ideas or simply because they refer to places in India. Under pressure from extremist Islamic organizations demanding the removal of a statue in front of the Supreme Court representing the Lady of Justice, the Government moved the statue to a place where it could not be seen publicly. The Government has already yielded to the demands of these organizations by reducing the minimum marriage are of girls to under 18 and has made several controversial changes with respect to rape victims. Deep Islamisation is gradually changing the underpinnings of the Bengali cultural identity for example, the hijab (the veil covering the head of a woman) which was virtually unknown in Bangladesh 40 years ago, now has a
ubiquitous presence.

Chittagong Hill Tracts :
The Peace Accord of the Chittagong Hill tracts that was signed by the Prime Minister of
Bangladesh in 1997 has not been implemented according to its tenets. The indigenous people of the Hill Tracts who comprised almost 100% of the population before 1947 are now minority in their own lands. The Government, to assert the so-called rights of the new settlers and the military over the ancestral lands of the Hill Tracts people has removed the term “indigenous” when referring to the ethnic minority communities. To date, in-migration by these newcomers and the forcible occupation of the lands of tribal people result in acts of violence. The recent mayhem against the indigenous people in Longdu, Rangamati (2017) is one example. The occupation and violence are non-secular and the Hill Tracts region is quickly becoming an Islamist training ground.

Recommendations :
The Bangladesh Minority With in Bangladesh have stated the following in their report :

We urge the Bangladesh Government to create a Minority Ministry and/or a Commission
for Minorities. These institutions would have the judicial power to investigate and try every incident involving minorities. We demand that the State take active steps to abolish the culture of impunity in terms of the attacks on the religious and ethnic minorities and enact a Minority Protection Act in order to ensure their security and safety. Furthermore, we recommend that the Government form an ‘Advisory Commission on Bangladesh’ with the overall objective to improve the lives of the religious and ethnic minority communities including Hindu, Buddhists, Christians, Tribal and indigenous people all over the country. This commission can be structured following the ‘Advisory Commission on the Rakhine State,’ an international advisory commission headed by former United Nation Secretary General Kofi Annan, which was constituted to ensure the social and economic well being of both the Buddhist and the Rohingya communities
of Myanmar’s Rakhine State.

RAPE, ABDUCTION & FORCEFUL CONVERSION AS TOOLS TO DRIVE OUT MINORITIES :
Abduction of young girls from minority communities, indiscriminate rape, and
conversion under threats are very rampant in Bangladesh and used as tools for
persecution of minorities and drive them out of the country. Often times the Islamic
fundamentalists rape minority women including underage girls in front of their
families as a consequence of continuing to live in a Muslim country, as they claim it.
Many of the kidnapped girls have never been returned or rescued, Government has
shown no inclination to take action against these heinous crimes either. Most of the
kidnapped women have been forcibly converted Muslim religious leaders gleefully
perform the service of conversion with the tacit approval from the government. In spite
of innumerable instances of kidnap and rape. The law enforcement has turned a blind
eye on the issue and utterly fails to doanything to discourage the practice. The
Islamists perpetrate these cruel and criminal acts on the minorities for three reasons.
One, they are driven by their twisted ideologies of attaining Behesta (Heaven)
for themselves and their seven generations by converting non-Muslims.

Two, their greed for occupying minority owned properties through forced abandonment.

The last, their dream to transform Bangladesh into a homogenous (pure) Islamic country as the minorities, unable to cope with unending violence, flee from the country. All these are made easy for the fact that rape carries severe social stigma in Bangladeshi society and culture, where half of the population is also illiterate, whose value system is shaped by the religious practices and popular beliefs and not by secular laws or international
standards.

Many a times, the families even abandon their own children– the rape victims– because they do not want the pain and the stigma of rape lingering on their lives and they move away. As such, the victims become completely helpless and are left to fend for themselves. These victims then are pushed to the brink of life. Some commit suicide, while others embrace their fates and turn to their transgressors by converting to Islam. Either way, the entire families get uprooted. And the Islamists have gleefully employed this proven and effective tactic to convert the minorities and conquered there
properties. There is no end to this time tested tactic.

Observations by Bangladeshi intellectuals :
While Hindu population was 30 percent, in 1947, they are only 9.5 percent now. An
eminent economist and researcher in Bangladesh, Dr Abul Barkat, professor,
Department of Economics, University of Dhaka, said ‘No Hindus will be left after 30
years’ in his book “Political economy of reforming agriculture-land-water bodies in
Bangladesh” (published in “Dhaka Tribune” November 20, 2016). From 1964 to 2013,
around 11.3 million Hindus left Bangladesh due to religious persecution and  discrimination which means on an average 632 Hindus left the country each day and 230,612 annually, he said at the book launch ceremony at the Dhaka University (DU). Dr. Mizanur Rahman, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Dhaka, Former Chairman,
Human Rights of Bangladesh said, “No Hindus will be left after 25 years in Bangladesh” :

Minority population is dwindling in Bangladesh. It was about 20% in 1972 and now it is about 10%. About 49 million Hindus are missing. Where are they?

‘Minorities at receiving end in Bangladesh violence’
New Delhi, March 7 – Hundreds of Hindus have been attacked, their shops and  businesses burnt and women threatened by the Jamaat-e-Islami in the current spate of violence unleashed by the Islamists in neighbouring Bangladesh, said speakers at a talk here Thursday. “Hindus, who number more than one crore in Bangladesh, live in fear and agony…. They don’t have anyone to help them,” said Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Rajya Sabha MP Tarun Vijay at a discussion on ‘Bangladesh: Shahbagh Rising, Jamaat-eIslami’s violence, and the Indian response’.

Dhaka rejects UN report on 3.2m Bangladeshis’ migration to India.
Nizam Ahmed : The government will never endorse the latest United Nations report on
International migration, which said some 3.2 million Bangladeshis had migrated and settled in India over the past decades, a senior official of the ministry of foreign affairs
(MoFA) said on Saturday. The report, prepared by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), and released on Wednesday termed the “migration from Bangladesh to India as the single largest bilateral stock of international migrants in the eastern hemisphere and also in the developing world.” Rejecting the latest UN migration
report, the MoFA official said the it was a carbon-copy of Indian media that had been
claiming so over the past several years.

Alarming decrease in Hindu population in Bangladesh :

September 22, 2012, Prothom Alo & weekly blitz: In past ten years, compared to
the growth of the total population in Bangladesh, there is an alarming decrease of the Hindu population in the country. According to statistics available with the government sources, the proportionate decrease in Hindu population is around nine million. The statistics show a near elimination of the Hindu population in fifteen districts in the country. Most of the Hindu families in those districts were forced to leave the country. In 2001, the total population in Bangladesh was 116.83 million, while the population was expected to be 132 million, which is nine million less than the expected. Currently 8.5 percent of the total population of Bangladesh is Hindus, while in 2001, it was 9.2 percent. The proportion of Christian, Buddhist and other religious minority populations did not see any decline in the past.

Currently, the total number of Muslim population in Bangladesh is 90.4 percent.
The district-wise statistics of population see“huge decline” or “the near elimination” of Hindu population in fifteen districts, though the statistics terms the decline of Hindu
population as “missing population”.

Rape is used as a tool :
A quote extracts from the report “With intent to destroy?” Rape as Genocide under
International Criminal Law– the Case of Bangladesh by Jenny Lundstrom.

Jenny wrote : An estimated 500,000 persons belonging to the minorities have fled
to India after the 2001 elections. In particular, Jamat-e-Islami has proclaimed that their
objective is to set up a Sharia State. Militants aspire to convert the religious minorities to
Islam, or otherwise force them to leave the country. In addition to the killings, looting,
forced conversions, kidnappings and arson, hundreds of women irrespective of age were
allegedly raped immediately after the elections. Gang rape is possibly one of the most cynical and heinous of crimes, but yet an efficient tool in the form of personal punishment, frightening and destroying entire communities.” Her concluding Remarks were : “[….] there are certainly clear indications that may lead to the conclusion that those rapes could constitute genocide under the ICC statute, article 6 (b).

It has been ambition to illustrate that the rapes in Bangladesh are taking place in a context of general structural discrimination and that the state appears unwilling or unable to acknowledge and/or take action. [….] I can conclude that violence against women [rapes] in Bangladesh will not end until firstly, the general structure of
discrimination against minorities and women is acknowledged and secondly, the
notions and practices of male dominance are challenged, deconstructed and
ultimately transformed.As a signatory to the CEDAW and to the ICC Statute, the
ultimate responsibility for such endeavours as expected lies within the individual State.
Unless the state of Bangladesh takes immediate action to acknowledge these atrocities and expresses its full commitment to bring them to an end, there might be indications that support the claim that the rapes in Bangladesh are committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part the Hindu group as such.

Bangladesh Minority Watch urge Bangladesh for implementation and necessary action!

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