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DATELINE BANGLADESH

Issue 1 New Delhi, India, January 1999

A newsletter published by Solidarity Front For The Minorities In Bangladesh

CONCERNED CITIZENS FORM SOLIDARITY FRONT FOR THE MINORITIES IN BANGLADESH

New Delhi : Some eminent citizens of New Delhi, India, had met recently and formed the Solidarity Front for the Minorities in Bangladesh. We publish below the excerpts from the first declarations of the front.

Fiftieth year of India’s independence also marked fifty years of unabated torture, killing, genocide, rape, loot, humiliation of minorities (Hindu, Buddhist, Christian) in Bangladesh, earlier known as East Pakistan.

Whatever be the name, East Pakistan or Bangladesh, the atrocities by the Muslims on the minorities remained a common phenomenon, except for a brief period when Sheikh Mujibur Rahaman was at the helm of affairs.

Perhaps nowhere in the world such a protracted systematic operation to eliminate the minorities has been carried out for more than fifty long years; yet there is no sign of its end in near future. The population of Hindus has gone down from around 25% in 1947 to less than 10% at present. Even today, on an average, 500 Hindus leave Bangladesh for India everyday. During 1971 liberation war more than twenty lakhs (2 million) Hindus were massacred by the Pakistani army and Bengali Muslim Razakars.

Physical elimination of minorities, kicking them out of their homes, raping and molesting their women, looting and usurping their properties had been encouraged by successive East Pakistan/Bangladesh Governments by enacting discriminatory laws. Ultimate the minorities of Bangladesh were formally made second class citizen with the proclamation of 8th Amendment of the Constitution by making Islam as the state religion.

Surprisingly, our politicians and intellectuals never raised their voices in any forum against this oppression and tyranny.

The Solidarity Front for the Minorities in Bangladesh appeals in the name of humanity to every concerned citizen of India and the world to come forward and assist in its effort to break the conspiracy of silence over the unending suffering of the minorities in Bangladesh.

To ensure that the minorities in Bangladesh no more become prey to Islamic fundamentalists and can live in their motherland with dignity, the Solidarity Front will try to :

    1. Organise awareness programmes through newsletters, printed materials, seminars, public meetings, demonstrations, audio-visuals etc.
    2. Collect information and maintain documentation on the atrocities
    3. Mobilise opinion and raise its voice in national and international fora
    4. Organise trial of war criminal and perpetrators of genocide in 1971
    5. Work closely with other organisations /institutions working for democratic /human/minorities rights in national and international level.

SEE DETAILS OF ATTACK ON RELIGIOUS PLACES, RAPE AND ABDUCTION OF WOMEN IN PAGE 2 & 3

ATTACK ON THE RELEGIOUS PLACES OF THE MINORITIES ARE THE MOST COMMON EVENTS IN BANGLADESH;

Dhaka: On 22.03.98 the deity of Sri Sri Sarbajanin Durga Temple at Kurmitola was destroyed by miscreants at night .

Noakhali: The images of Godess Durga belonging to ‘Aporup’ and ‘Dashabhuja’ Puja Mandop were destroyed by a group of identified miscreants on October 27,1997.

Patuakhali: On 11th October 1997, the miscreants attacked the Puja Mandop and destroyed the images of Godess Durga and God Kartik.

Serajgonj: On 15th October,1997, Abdur Rajjak Master, his wife and their associates of village Cardogazi of Police Station Kamarkhondo attacked the Puja Mandop and broke the image of Godess Durga.

Pirojpur: In the beginning of the Autumn festival of Durgapuja some identified miscreants broke the image of Godess Durga.

Lalmonirhat: A group of miscreants destryed the image of Godess Durga on 11th October,1997 at Karachi of Mauja Tetulia under Kaligonj Police Station.

Rangpur: On 1oth October,1997, the miscreants attacked the Puja Mandop of Barati Kamarpara at Tajgonj thana. They tried to burn the temple also.

Dinajpur: Some miscreants built a Mosque adjacent to the temple of Sri Durga, Sri Gobinda, Sri Shib and Sri Kali at Habra.

Chittagong: On last 1st October the immersion march of Godess Durga, organised by Chittagong Metropalitan Puja Udyapan Parishad, was attacked by the miscreants. Ver one hundred devotees were injured and one Khokan Seal (age 15) died at the hospital on the next day. The immersion march toward patenga sea was attacked at Agrabad, Chowmuhani and cement crossing with fire arms and bobms. The miscreants destroyed 20 trucks which were carrying the images of Godess Durga.

 

Dhaka : St. Francis Xavier’s School, St. Gregories School and three churches at Laksmibazar area of Dhaka were attacked by the Islamic fundamentalists on 28th April,1998. They looted the valuables and set on fire . Properties worth Taka 1 crore of St. Xavier’s School were destroyed including the Holy Cross used in the prayer, the Bible and the image of Mother Mary. This school is run by Christian Catholic Trust established in 1912. The incident sparked from a conflict arising out of a land dispute between the school and the Shahi Mosque there. The court had already given verdict in favour of the school earlier.

Noakhali : Some miscreants have attacked the Sonapur Church Convent of Noakhali district. Some persons were injured in this attack. But the administration has not yet taken proper steps against the miscreants.

Chittagong : On October 17th,1996 miscreant set on fire to the Mohamuni Buddha Bihar. The Mahamuni Buddha Bihar is one of the holy places of the Bouddhist community of Bangladesh.The Bihar is situated at the village Pahartali in Chittagong district. The invaders looted the valuables and also urinated on the image of Buddha.

Comilla : Rowdy elements at village Dattapur under Lksam thana in Comilla district raided a marriage party and desecrated local Bouddha Bihar on March 3, 1997.

The rowdy elements attacked the marriage party with a view to stop the function by nt allowing the religious rites to take place.

At one stage of the pandemonium when the villagers tried to resist the miscreants they raided the Dharmankar Bihar, broke to pieces the statue of Buddha.

HINDU STUDENTS LEAVING THE ISLAMIC COUNTRY OF BANGLADESH SHOULD BE ALLOWED ADDMISSION AT ALL LEVEL OF EDUCATIION ON PRODUCTION OF CERTIFICATES FROM BOARDS/UNIVERSITIES, TESTIMONIAL FROM SCHOOLS WITHOUT VISA REQUIREMENTS AND OTHER INTER STATE FACILITIES WHICH WAS BEFORE 1972 IN VOGUE.

HINDU WOMEN IN BANGLADESH ARE MOST VOLNERABLE. OFTEN HINDU FAMILIES LEAVE BANGLADESH TO SAVE THEIR WOMEN FOLK FROM DISHONOUR.

Following are some incidents of rape/abduction of Hindu Women in Islamic Bangladesh.

Chittangong : On the last week of November, 1966 four armed young men entered into the residence of Engr. Kamal Barua at Nandan Kanan near Chittagong Metropolitan Police Office. After entering into the house, they closed all doors and windows. They pointed a pistol to the chest of Engr. Kamal Barua and his wife and raped their two college-going daughters in front of them. After raping they left the house with brutal jubilation.

Sylhet: Bhairabi Bala, a young daughter of Sukla Baidya of Ronikhai village at Companygonj police station was abducted on 11th May, 1996 at night by Islam Uddin, Rais Uddin, Lutfur rahman, Bakul and Abdul Jabber of New Jibanpur village and she was compelled to change her religion and embrace Islam. Later on she was named Amena Begum and Islam Uddin married her forcibly. After long persecution and oppression she was killed on 19th May, 1997 by compelling her to take poison. On 21st May, 1997 she was cremated at pirergaon of Khadimnagar after collecting a death certificate hurriedly from Sylhet Osmani Medical College Hospital. The killers are threatening the family members of Bharabi not to tell anything to the authority regarding this incident.

Gazipur : Anil Kumar Sarkar and his wife Sheema Rani Sarkar, owner of Comilla Medical House of Fokir Market under Tongi police station, are leading life in insecurity being threatened by a group of terrorists. Gazi Alauddin, Motiur Rahman Molla, Billal Hossain, harun-or-Rashid, Alamgir and few other miscreants kidnapped Sheema on 25th July last year. After 45 days on the last 9th September Gazi Alauddin returned Sheema back to her husband extorting 50,000 Tk from him. It is learnt from Sheema that the terrorists raper her. One of the miscreants of this terrorist-group motiur Rahman has claimed that Sheema has become Muslim and she is his wife. He is creating pressure on Anil Sarkar to give Sheema back to him.

Pabna : Joyanti Rani Ghosh an H.S.C. examinee daughter of Niva Rani Ghosh and Buddidhar Ghosh of Ghospara of Sujanagar police station under the district of Pabna was abducted on last 04.04.98. Tofazzel Hossain Thofa, General Secretary Sujanagar thana chattra League, Abdur Razzak, Bablu, Abul Kalam, Sajangong of Sujanangar village abducted Joyanti. A case has registered with the local police station but she is not yet rescued. Local police has not taken any action in this regard.

Mymensingh : A Kidnapped school going girl is not rescued yet though many days passed after her kidnapping. On last 6th August ‘97 she was kidnapped from the way while she was going to school. In this regard a case was filed with Mymensingh Sadar Thana accusing some Imran Mia alies Shapan for the incident. The suit no, is 19 (8) ’97. It is known that the accused lives at Mirpur in Dhaka.

Natore : Suphala Crus, a student of Begum Rokeya Girls School, daughter of James Crus was kidnapped by Md. Raj, son of Erashad Master of village Haroa, P.S. Barigram on 1.09.97. In Kidnapping Raj was assisted by Miss Rubi and Miss Sumi. A case was registered with the local Police Station, but none was arrested. Rather Mr. Crus is being threatened to withdraw the case.

Bagerhat : Chandana Halder a 14 year old school girl is a victim of throwing Acid by one Imarajul Babu, a school boy aged 16, who offered to marry Chandana and was refused by her. On 6/1//97 when Chandana was returning home Babu threw acid on her.

Norail : The miscreants threw acid on Shukla Rani Shikder, a girl of 16 years old at Norail when she refused to accept offer of love. Ashraful Alam, aged 18 offered love to Shukla. After refusal of the offer Alam threw acid on Shukla while she was sleeping. Acid burnt her face and hands. Now she is struggling for life.

Faridpur : Protima Sarkar, a student of Saltha Junior High School, reading in class eight daughter of Sukumar (School teacher) was raped by Moniruzzaman Molla (Monir) son of Hamed Molla of the village Fukra under Nagarkanda thana. A case had been filed but the accused was not arrested. The defendant’s father is threatening Sukumar to withdraw the suit.

 

10 LAKH (1 MILLION) HINDUS LOST PROPERTY WORTH TAKA 60 THOUSAND CRORES (US$ 1.2 TRILLION)

The Enemy (Vested) Property Act of Bangladesh has forced 10 lakh (1 Million) Hindus to leave the country during last three decades. This startling fact was revealed in a survey conducted by Prof. Abul Barkat and Associate Prof. Shafik-Uz–Zaman of the Economics Department of Dhaka University. The amount of land lost by these Hindus amounts to about 10 lakh 40 thousand Acres .which is 20% of the area of Bangladesh. Value of this land in present market rate will be 60 thousand crores of Bangladesh Taka. This is five times the ADP of 1996-97 of Bangladesh.

According to the above mentioned academics the actual amount of land lost by the Hindus was more than 20 lakh Acres but they could gather official documents for 16 lakh 40 thousand Acres only.

In the pre liberation period (1965-71) the land was grabbed mostly by the Muslim League supporters. But in 1996 the political colours of the people enjoying the Hindu lands are as follows: Awami League 44%, BNP 32% and remaing with other Islamic fundamentalist groups. The survey report also noted the during 1972 to 1975 , when Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was ruling the country, there very little incidents of grabbing land of the Hindus.

The survey portrayed how the Hindu families had been reduced to paupers due this draconian ant Hindu act. The included the districts of Chattagram, Chandpur, Feni, Sunamganj, Faridpur, Jamalpur, Kishoreganj, Narayanganj, Barishal, Khulna, Jhinaidaha, Kushthia, Dinajpur, Rangpur, Rajshahi and Pabna. In 1961 the percentage of Hindu population in these districts was 17.3. In 1981 it was reduced to 12.4 and in 1991 it went down to 11 only. The repot also said that the number of Hindus ‘missing’ during 1964-91 was 50 lakh 30 thousand. In other words on an average 538 Hindus left Bangladesh every day.

(Source: Bhorer Kagz, Dhaka, 2nd&3rd April,1998)

TASLEEMA NASREEN, THE WRITER, POET,AND THE CHRONICLER OF THE UNENDING ATROCITIES ON THE HINDUS IN BANGLADESH, IS OBVIOUSLY THE NATURAL TARGET OF ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISTS. BUT MORE GLARING IS THE SILENT SUPPORT BEING PROVIDED BY THE LEFT AND SECULAR INTELLECTUALS OF WEST BENGAL TO THE PERSECUTION OF THIS BRAVE LADY BY ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISTS. WHILE PAKISTANI WRITERS AND ARTISTS ARE WELCOME IN CITY OF CALUTTA NOBODY DARES TO INVITE TASLEEMA.

Following is the press stament issued by SFFMIB in this context.

The entire civilised world is squirming in mute helplessness while Tasleema Nasreen is being shadowed by Islamic death squads in Bangladesh. Virtually alone in her titanic isolatiion, with monumental odds stacked against her, she is displaying a rare courage and nerves of steel. Tasleema is not just another victim but a monument to secular conscience and human dignity. Her only crime was her unbending grit to stand up for the endlessly persecuted, rapidly dwindling, Hindu minorities in Bangladesh, sacrificing a secure medical career for herself. In her writings, she also pleaded forcefully for an equal status for Muslim women in a male-dominated society.

The champions of human rights, the stalwarts of secular parties in India, the torch-bearers of progressive forces, the formidable elite of the suave and articulate Left intellectuals – ever ready to pillory Hindu gods and goddesses – have suddenly fallen silent. The reason? They are mortally scared. This time the fight is for real, beyond the protective ambience of their shadow-boxing. Combating Jihad-inspired Islamic zealots does not belong to the harmless category of Hindu – bashing.

On behalf of the Solidarity Front for Minorities in Bangladesh, we appeal to the Government of India, the Western democracies, and all right-thinking people to take all possible steps to ensure the safety and security of Tasleema Nasreen.

For Private Circulation only : Edited and Published by Ms. Nasreen Chakraborty,

1314, New Campus, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi – 110067

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