Washington [US], April 30 (ANI): Expressing concerns over escalating attacks on minorities in Bangladesh, International Commission for Human Rights and Religious Freedom (ICHRRF) in its latest report highlights the historical context of violence on the life and property of Bangladesh’s Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian citizens by members of Islamist organizations.
“The persecution of the country’s Hindu minority has been continuous since its partition from India in 1947 as East Pakistan and still ongoing after the independence of Bangladesh in 1971. The nationwide violence was orchestrated by a pro-Caliphate pan-Islamist organization, Hefazat-e-Islam, but also included students and leftist organizations,” it added.
It noted that the violence on Hindus in Bangladesh goes beyond mob attacks. “Discriminatory laws passed after the country’s independence in 1971 made it impossible for Hindus to regain properties lost before and during the genocide of 3 million mostly Hindu Bengalis conducted by Pakistan.”
“Laws support Islamic institutions and suppress Hindu institutions. Laws burden Hindus with much heavier taxes for land and property grants to an individual or institution. Government orders to banks in 1993 prevented substantial cash withdrawals and stopped the disbursement of business loans to Hindus. The representation of religious minorities in state institutions continues to decline. Tacit and overt support of violent Islamist organizations from both major political parties is also noteworthy. The demographics of Bangladesh tell a poignant story,” the report read.
The Commission directs that the Government of Bangladesh to enact a Hate Speech and Crime Law to prosecute perpetrators of crimes against the country’s defenseless minorities in a special tribunal.
“The percentage of Hindus has steeply declined since its separation from India, from around 25% in 1947 to 8.5 pc today. Professor Sachi Dastidar, from the State University of New York, estimates that from 1947 to 2001, well over 40 million Hindus have gone “missing” from Bangladesh,” It added.
ICHRRF hoped that this long-running ethnic cleansing is not rationalized by false narratives that spread the blame. ICHRRF implores governments and Human Rights organizations to persuade the Bangladeshi Government to take corrective measures to stop the dire persecution of Bangladesh’s minority Hindus, Buddhists and Christians.
In its latest ‘Report on the Hearings on Human Rights Violations in Bangladesh’, the Commission said that reparations should be provided to the victims of persecution for their loss of life and property, and help be provided to them with the rehabilitation process.
It further stated that Bangladesh must create separate Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian Foundations through legislation, along the same lines as the Islamic Foundation was created in March of 1975.
The Commission proposed these directions following recommendations based upon the results of the hearings, examination of the evidence received, and in consultation with prominent academics and Human Rights activists who have monitored and advocated for Human Rights in Bangladesh for decades.
It asked the Bangladeshi government to create a separate Ministry of Minority Affairs, a National Minority Commission, and enact a Minority Protection Law.
Directing the Government of Bangladesh to create a separate Ministry of Minority Affairs, a National Minority Commission, and enact a Minority Protection Law, the Commission urged the country to take heed of the situation of minorities.
It also stated the Government of Bangladesh must fully implement the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord of 1997 to safeguard the rights of animists, Buddhists and Hindu residents there.
Notably, ICHRRF is a US-based non-profit, Commission believes that implementing these recommendations will protect minorities as well as encourage a truly humanistic democracy in Bangladesh. (ANI)