Bangladeshi Hindus protest violence during Durga Puja

Washington, DC: The Bangladeshi Hindu diaspora organized a protest in front of the Embassy of Bangladesh in Washington, DC on Sunday, to protest large-scale violence leading to the destruction of Hindu homes and temples during Durga Puja festivities across Bangladesh. The violence has led to the murder and rape of dozens of Hindus. 

Gruelling details and reports of violence targeting Hindu communities in Bangladesh during the holiday are emerging. Islamists accused Hindus of “blasphemy” and wreaked death and destruction on them all because the indigenous Hindus were celebrating their festival. 

According to Bangladeshi official, Mohammad Jahangir Alam, chairman of Pekua Upazila (administrative subdivision), the assault was started by radicals linked to Jamaat-e-Islami, a pan Islamist group that wields significant influence over many Muslim organizations across the US. Leaders of the Hindu community also noted that the murderous attackers hail from all across the political spectrum of Bangladesh, with many of them belonging to grassroots organizations associated with the ruling party.
Pranesh Halder, a member of the Bangladeshi Hindu community, appealed to the US State Department “to ensure that no further harm comes to the beleaguered Hindus of Bangladesh.” He urged US-based watchdog groups and media houses to highlight the gravity of the violence in Bangladesh.
Utsav Chakrabarti, the Executive Director of HinduPACT, a US-based Hindu advocacy group, said, “It is especially horrifying to see the last remaining Hindus in Noakhali being attacked in this way, 75 years after Islamists demanding the creation of Pakistan, killed 12,000 Hindus and forcibly converted 50,000 to Islam in October 1946.” 

Indigenous Hindus continue to be the target of organized hate and discrimination in Bangladesh, a country where the minority population has steadily decreased from 28% in the 1940s to 9% today. This recent wave of violence confirms the danger indigenous Hindus continue to face. 50 years after nearly 2.8 million of them were killed, and another 10 million of them turned destitute and made to become refugees by the Pakistan Army in 1971, during the independence struggle of Bangladesh, Hindus continue to be targeted for their faith. 

The Hindus of Bangladesh have been facing an existential threat since the early 20th century, but what makes it one of the worst humanitarian crises in modern times is that their plight has been effectively ignored by the rest of the world. 

 

Image courtesy of thesatimes

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