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    Posted March 5, 2013 by
    Dhaka, Bangladesh

    Ethnic Cleansing in Bangladesh

    The recent mass uprising in Bangladesh, also termed as GONO-JAGORON (mass awakening) demanding the capital punishment for the war criminals during the 9 month long independence war of Bangladesh in 1971 left a deep scar again in the hearts and minds of the minority Hindu community throughout the country. The most recent was in 2012 when the Islamists, many of whom loyal to the Jamayate Islami party, burned down Buddhist and Hindu temples and torched many villages in Ramu, a hilly area under the Cox's Bazar district in greater Chittagong, a stronghold of the Islamists. The other ethnic cleansing occurred in 2001 when Hindu women were raped, men killed, homes and temples burned down. These occurrences made international headlines.

    The most recent violence against the Hindus is being committed by the same political party, the Jamayate Islami which harbours almost all the war criminals being tried now. Moments after the capital punishment of Delwar Hossian Sayedee had been handed down on February 28, the activists of Jamayate Islami of which Sayedee is the President, started burning buses and trains, shooting at police and common people, lynching policemen attacking the police stations, blasting cocktail bombs and grenades. Once they have been able to terrify the people, the second wave of the violence has started by killing 2 Hindu persons and burning their homes and temples in the Noakhali and Chittagong districts. Though the exact number of women being raped is hard to find as families fear social backlash, at least 5 cases have been known. The Hindus in Bangladesh are a minority group and often blamed by the Jamayate Islami and the main opposition party the Bangaldesh Nationalist Party (BNP) for being the socalled 'vote bank' of the ruling Awami League party. But many doubt if this is the main reason behind the Islamists' large-scale attacks on them. If this is not the case, the obvious reason then is ethnic cleansing. This is the same Jamayate Islami which along with the Pakistani forces wiped out millions of Hindus and other minorities during and even after the war of independence. Sayedee is also charged with forcefully converting many Hindus into Islam among others. The Hindu population of Bangladesh was 18.5% in the 1961 census which came down to a mare 10% in the 2010 census. The Islamists have been able to reduce the Hindu population by nearly 50% in 50 years. So if it is in their agenda to further reduce the number to nil in next 50 years ask many Hindus.

    While writing this ireport, the best selling Bangla daily Prothom Alo reported the islamists have smashed idols of Hindu gods in Natore, a western district of Bangladesh. A common pattern of the violence is that the areas Jamayate Islami has a strong base in are the worst affected in terms of minority torture and killing.

    The recent and formal support of the main opposition BNP towards the islamists has further escalated the violence. The chairperson of the party, the ex-prime minister for 3 terms Ms Khaled Zia landed her support for Jamayate Islami and instead of taking tough action against this ethnic cleansing, she blamed the government and the security forces as they had to shoot the violent jihadis to save the minority people and their homes. At least 8 policemen were killed in the last 5 days while protecting the public and assets from the Jamayate goons.

    The daily Amar Desh, a Jamayeti propaganda machine has also been playing a notorious role in inciting hatred against the Shahbag activists, the protesters from all walks of life demanding capital punishment for the war criminals, by terming them anti-Islam and fascists. This newspaper along with some Facebook pages are continuously coving up the atrocities committed by the islamists. A couple of days after the atheist blogger Rajib Haider was killed by the Jamayeti jihadis, this newspaper tried to justify the killing as it claimed he had written against Islam and its prophet. Polarising people on Islam issue was cleverly played though people are more aware now than they were in 2001.

    An overwhelming majority of the Bangladeshi people believe this time the war criminals won't be spared and justice will be done. People are also strongly demanding that the Jamayate Isalmi be banned. People's demands may be met very soon but the wounds of the Bangladeshi Hindus will take a very long time to heal.
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