Home Opinion Featured Articles Bangladesh sees alarming rise of anti-Hindu and anti-India forces

Bangladesh sees alarming rise of anti-Hindu and anti-India forces

0
A Halder Book H
A Halder Book H

While in Dhaka’s ‘Ekushey Book Fair’ a book titled ‘Being Hindu in Bangladesh’, which is co-authored by Dr Avishek Biswas, Assistant Professor, Vidyasagar College (Calcutta University) and Indian eminent journalist Deep Halder is catching attention of book-lovers, Al Qaeda-connected ultra-Islamist and anti-India – Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) is gradually intensifying its “India Out” campaign with the vicious agenda of jeopardizing existing cordial relationship between Dhaka and New Delhi.

For years, Bangladesh Nationalist Party with the active participation of its Islamist allies has been attempting to turn Bangladesh into an Islamic nation or pseudo-Pakistan while since 2002, after forming affiliations with Al Qaeda, BNP began frantic bids pushing Bangladesh to a neo-Taliban state. While the global terrorist outfit Al Qaeda is silently advancing its goal of turning Bangladesh into its next safe haven by intensifying its activities both within the country and through its operatives in the West – BNP’s recently launched “India Out” campaign is aimed at mobilizing Islamist, jihadist as well as anti-India and anti-Hindu forces in Bangladesh. Its acting chairman Tarique Rahman, who lives in the United Kingdom as an asylum-seeker since 2007 has been making frantic bids in returning to power by destabilizing Bangladesh’s law-and-order situation and toppling Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

It may be mentioned here that, while one of Bangladesh constitution’s core principles is secularism, following the tragic assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on August 15, 1975, subsequent military rulers – Gen Ziaur Rahman and Gen Hussain Muhammad Ershad had made frantic bids in turning the country into an Islamist state or pseudo-Pakistan by advancing anti-India and anti-Hindu sentiment thus making Islam the state religion of the country that defies rights of religious minorities – particularly Hindus.

Furthermore, when Bangladesh Nationalist Party formed a coalition government with Jamaat-e-Islami in 2001 it hosted Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden’s second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri in Bangladesh along with a large regiment of Al Qaeda members to finalize jihadist activities inside India by connecting it with separatist groups in northeastern states of India as well as to get Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina assassinated. This conspiracy was first exposed by eminent journalist and counterterrorism expert Alex Perry, who in a TIME magazine article on April 14, 2002 had revealed Al Qaeda kingpin al-Zawahiri and other members of the terrorist group’s arrival and stay in Bangladesh.

Following publication of Alex Perry’s article, journalist Bertil Lintner in another article in South Asia Terrorism Portal wrote: “…While Bangladesh is yet far from becoming another Pakistan, Islamist forces are no doubt on the rise, and extremist influence is growing, especially in the countryside.

According to a foreign diplomat in Dhaka, “In the 1960s and 1970s, it was the leftists who were seen as incorruptible purists. Today, the role model for many young men in rural areas is the dedicated Islamic cleric with his skull cap, flowing robes and beard”.

It may be mentioned here that cashing-on anti-India and anti-Hindu sentiments have been a major strategy of BNP and other Islamist and pro-Pakistan forces in Bangladesh. As a result, Hindus have been facing continuous persecution, while Hindu population in the country has come down from 20 percent in 1971 to 8.9 percent now. This troubling matter has been described in a book titled ‘Being Hindu in Bangladesh’, which is jointly authored by Dr Avishek Biswas, Assistant Professor, Vidyasagar College (Calcutta University) and eminent journalist Deep Halder.

Commenting on this book, Vikramdeep Johal wrote in The Tribune: “One of Asia’s youngest nations, Bangladesh had a blood-soaked birth in 1971. A genocide by the Pakistani military claimed an estimated 30 lakh lives and displaced crores of people; lakhs of women were reportedly raped. It took a liberation war, which the Indian defense forces fought together with the Mukti Bahini [freedom fighters], to vanquish the oppressors. Most of the Hindu victims crossed over to India, though many of them returned to their homeland after the war. This book, which is about the Hindu minority community in Bangladesh, has been written by the ‘sons and grandsons of refugees’”.

Johal further wrote: “The book charts the turbulent history of a region/nation that became ‘East Bengal’ with the Partition in 1947, was renamed ‘East Pakistan’ in 1955 and snatched its freedom from West Pakistan in 1971 to become Bangladesh. It is commendable that Bangladesh has learnt a few lessons not only from its own past but also from that of Pakistan, which has largely proved to be a failed nation. Though a prolonged one-party rule may not be ideal for a democracy to flourish, Bangladesh is certainly better off in the hands of a ruler who is apparently determined to perpetuate Mujibur’s legacy. Nevertheless, there is no room for complacency. The treatment meted out by Pakistan to its minorities should spur Bangladesh to shun this perilous course. It’s up to this promising nation to do course correction whenever required and realize the dream of its founder”.

Commenting on the book, Utpal Kumar wrote in FirstPost, “A Bangladeshi Hindu may today feel dejected at two levels. One, he belongs to religion which has just one country to look up to — for help, survival and more. (While Muslims are in majority in 49 nations, the number for Christians easily breaches the three-figure mark). And that one country and its inhabitants are largely indifferent to their plight. Two, a Bangladeshi Hindu is seen to be carrying the baggage of being the civilizational part of Bharat, which no longer cares for him”.

Disha Bagchi wrote in ThePrint, “Halder and Biswas’s book explores the lives and voices of the Hindu minority in Bangladesh, who stayed back in East Pakistan (which became Bangladesh in 1971) after India was partitioned in 1947 — taking them beyond numbers and statistics and exploring their role in politics, culture, and society. The book quotes the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics to say that there were 17 million Hindus living in Bangladesh in 2015, but adds that they are leaving the country owing to threats of violence or attacks”.

Alo Pal in Swarajya termed the book as “stories of Hindus in Bangladesh”. She wrote:

The house in Bashudebpur, in Bangladesh’s Rajshahi district, where my father was born, still stands.

Shrouded in the omen that “there dwells a god”, no one dares tear it down for fear of death or affliction in the family.

In the past few years, as Deep Halder and Avishek Biswas have travelled extensively to Bangladesh to chronicle the fate of the Hindu in the country, I’ve thought often of the house where Baba was born.

And I think of that fateful day when my prescient grandfather sold the property to settle across the river, in Jangipur, Murshidabad. But that wasn’t the fate of authors Halder and Biswas….

Sharmi Adhikary wrote in The Organiser, “The authors traverse Bangladesh, the country of their ancestors and dwell into its Hindu connect mainly in the areas tucked away from the gaze of the world media, dipping their pen into a vial of memories, nostalgia as well as hard-hitting facts of Hindu genocide and exodus during the 1971 war when West Pakistan bludgeoned East Pakistan to stifle its resistance against the imposition of Urdu over Bangla, and most importantly to cull out the Hindu populace from the land for good. While the past narratives are unsettling, infuriating and deeply disturbing, one is again triggered to reflect how in the Muslim majority country, Hindus (also atheists and other religious outsiders) are forced to exist in anonymity…”

Taking Al Qaeda-connected and ultra-Islamist pro-Pakistan BNP and its cohort’s ongoing “India Out” notoriety to subject of the ‘Being Hindu in Bangladesh’ book into serious consideration, it can be easily said – for Bangladesh and the region, rise of anti-India and anti-Hindu sentiment can ultimately result in Bangladesh turning into jihadist safe haven and launchpad which shall surely pose serious security threats to the entire region and beyond. Under such realities, it is essential for the Awami League government as well as members of the media in Bangladesh and the region to take appropriate measures in effectively countering “India Out” notoriety forthwith. At the same time, it also is essential for Bangladesh authorities to identify people behind the “India Out” campaign – both inside the country and overseas and initiate legal actions. We cannot afford to let Bangladesh slip into the grips of Al Qaeda disciples as well as Islamists, jihadist and pro-Pakistan nexus.

Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is an internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning anti-militancy journalist, writer, research-scholar, counterterrorism specialist and Editor, Blitz, a newspaper publishing from Bangladesh since 2003. He regularly writes for local and international newspapers on diversified topics. Follow him on X @salah_shoaib

Send your news stories to newsghana101@gmail.com Follow News Ghana on Google News

NO COMMENTS

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

WP Radio
WP Radio
OFFLINE LIVE
Exit mobile version