Hindu lives matter in Bangladesh

Protesters at the Shaheed Minar, Altab Ali Park, Whitechapel, E1

 

The recent killings of Hindu worshippers during their Durga Puja celebration and the lead up to Diwali, is deeply shocking. These attacks on homes and temples of the Hindu community must stop immediately and the Bangladesh government needs to act swiftly and give justice to those attacked and their families. 

It is completely unacceptable that any violence should be levelled at any faith group. Not surprising the killing of Hindu worshippers has shocked many around the world and is the lived reality of the Hindu community across Bangladesh. 

Let us not forget Hindu Bengalis were the main victims of the Pakistani army atrocities during the liberation war of Bangladesh, 50 years ago. Where uncircumcised Bengali men in lungi’s and women with Bindis were their main targets. So the bloody war was fought and won to establish an independent Bangladesh based on secularism, pluralism and democracy. 

If nothing else Hindu lives should matter very much in Bangladesh as the land of the Bengalis should be protecting all as the secular and plural constitution emphasises, particularly in its fifty year of formation. We can not have the land of Bengalis persecuting Hindu’s in its 50th year of independence, undermining its secular tradition.  So quite simply the Bangladesh government needs to act in the strongest terms possible, otherwise we rise losing “Amar Sonar Bangla”  

It is not often l return to a blog with additions but the circumstances merit it in this instance. So can l say, that l welcome the attempt to return to the secular constitution of Bangladesh of 1972. This is long over due from the days when former military dictator HM Ershd and Ziaur Rahman incorporated Islam as state religion in the constitution. So l look forward to seeing progress at the Jatiya Shamsad on this front. 

But l also trust specific actions are taken by the government to prevent repeats of such atrocities against the Hindu community, including the following: 

  • Investigate and trial of the perpetrators, by special tribunal if needed
  • Put In place a minority protection act, making Hinduism a protected religion.
  • and finally a minority Commission to look into ways to ensure opportunities for minority religious and ethnic groups in a overwhelming Muslim country.

Only then can we begin to deal with the huge damage done by these appalling attacks.