By: Rahul Gupta
Hindus comprised nearly 30% of the total population in Bangladesh in 1947. After the exodus of minorities following the partition of India in 1947, the hindu population went down to about 22% by 1951. Due to unabated persecution, intimidation, and forcible conversion to Islam, the Hindu-Minority population kept on dwindling and now stands at a meager 10.5% of the total population in Bangladesh (1991 census).
Interesting to note that minority Muslim population in adjoining West Bengal (India) showed a positive growth rate and according to 1991 Census, stood at nearly 24% of the total population from only about 12% in 1947.
India and West Bengal Census Data
Source: Census of India 1991 (http://www.censusindia.net/), Data Source : 1991 Census of India
|West Bengal (1991)|
|Hindus||50,866,624||74.7 % (1961:78.8%, decreased 4.1%)|
|Muslims||16,075,836||23.6 % (1961:20%, increased 3.6%)|
||383,477||0.6 % (1961:0.5%, increased 0.1%)|
|West Bengal (1961-1991)|
In Bangladesh, hindu population was 28% in 1941; 22% in 1951, 18.5% in 1961; 13.5% in 1974;
12.2% in 1981 and 10.5% in 1991. Hindu population decreased by 8% from 1961 to 1991 (Ref 1, 2).
The vanishing minority population is understood from researching the census documents published the government. Fifty years ago in 1941, 28.3 per cent of the total population was minorities. The population of Hindu was 11.88 millions, while 588 thousand was other religious and ethnic minorities (Buddhist, Christian and animist). Evaluation of government statistics of 50 years, from 1941 to 1991, indicates a large drop in the figure for minorities. A comparative picture shows that the number of the Muslim majority increased 219.5 per cent while the Hindu community increased by 4.5 per cent. (Ref 3).
If normal increase rate prevailed, the number of the Hindu community in this country would have been 32.5 million, but the Hindu population in Bangladesh stood at 12.5 million in 1991 Census (State of Human Rights, 1994). Therefore the missing population is 20 million. (Ref 3).
Ethnic Cleansing In Bangladesh
Ethnic cleansing of minorities in Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) started in 1947. Over half-a-century has passed with no end is in sight. Minorities in Bangladesh, including women and children were subjected to extreme brutality and torture following the last National Election in Bangladesh held in October 2001, forcing many families to migrate out of their "Homeland of generations" for physical safety.
Fig: Kamala Debi of Lord Hardinge under district Vola lost every thing due to barberious attack of communalist hooligans on Oct 10, 2001
In the recent past, there have been several cases of brutal killings of prominent members of minority communities in the strategic Chittagong and its Hill Tracts, by armed gang of fanatics. Significantly, these tragic incidents were perpetrated in the wake of Santu Larma – Khaleda Zia high-level talks at Dhaka on April 20, for establishing permanent peace in the said region. That very day in Rangamati (CHT), an armed gang of Bnp-Jei backed ‘United People’s Democratic Front’ (Updf) attacked pro-Larma Chakma tribals resulting in the death of four Chakma Buddhists. Next day (April 21), at Vill. Hingla in Rouzan locality of Chittagong, Gyanjyoti Borooah (55 yrs), a locally popular Buddhist Monk, running an Orphanage/Monastery was brutally killed. Thereafter on April 28/29, another Chakma Buddhist named Gyandarshi Chakma was shot dead at village Babupara in Mahalchhari (Cht). One of his companion sustained bullet wounds. The same night, Madan Gopal Goswami, a Hindu Priest of was gunned down in Gachhabil area of Manikchhari (Cht). These cases of utmost brutality generated strong resentment among local Chakmas and Hindus.
Fig: A Hindu being beaten by Muslims in a mosque in Bangladesh. He was captured outside the mosque while going home. After Friday prayers were over, the Muslims came out and grabbed the first Hindu they could. Mr. Vimal Patak a Bangladeshi born Hindu was beaten to death with sticks as the Muslim mullas (priests) chanted "kill the Kafir!" (non-muslim). With folded hands he begged for his life and died a brutal death.
Some "recent" incidents (2002)
- 20th April 2002, at Moulavibazar district of Bangladesh, in Laxmipur village under Kulaur Police station several armed Muslim fundamentalists attacked the houses of Dulal Debnath and Jitendra Debnath, both members of the Hindu minority community. The houses were set ablaze. The group of miscreants led by Iuyas Mian of Balichiri village forcefully captured their lands. A case has been filed against them at the Kulaur police station.
- 8th May, 2002, N. M. Jahangir Alam-A well known journalist of the newspaper Sambad which is published from Dhaka, was beaten up by Muslim fundamentalists. Because he was accused of publishing several news, reporting the poor conditions of the Hindu minority of Bangladesh. He filed a case at the near by Police Station but the police did not show the any interest in arresting the miscreants
Fig: Bangladeshi newspapers continuously featured on Minority Oppression after BD election
- 5th May, 2002-in the morning, At the Dolu Bridge area situated in the Shattkaniya sub-district of South Chattagram, a group of Muslim fundamentalists kidnapped Rupam Mullick, a Hindu resident and damaged his arms and legs.
- 23rd May, 2002, near Sadhurpara situated at the Chandgaon police station of Chattagram, the local Muslim fundamentalists forcefully captured the lands owned by a Hindu widow Charubala Nath (80).
- 8th May, 2002,-in Narikelbaria village of Bakharpara sub-district situated at Jessore, a local Muslim extreamist, Saiful along with Kabir and other fundamentalists demanded, more than 1 lakhs takas (U.S. $2,000) as Jizya tax (tax imposed by non-Muslims on Muslims) from a business Subodh Saha. But Subodh refused to pay the tax. As a result the fanatics took a glass bottle fill with hot water and vehemently beat Subodh with it. He was badly injured. His two legs were damaged. Another person called Bablu Saha, who came to protect Subodh was also beaten up.
- 10th May, 2002, at night, a Hindu journalist named Manik Mazumdar’s office was destroyed by a group of right wing Muslim fundamentalists. Manik Mazumdar is the president of reporter’s union of Madhukhali sub-district in Faridpur.
- 25th April, 2002, 9 o’clock at morning in Thakurgaon district, Chandramohan Sarkar, headmaster of Shapla Adarsha Uchcha Vidyalaya was forcefully resigned from his post because of being a Hindu, by Muslim fundamentalists.
- 7th May, 2002, at the Shathkhira sub-district, in the Sreerampur village a Hindu housewife was raped by a reactionary Muslim fanatic named Shafiqul Islam. A case has been filed but no adequate action has been taken by the police against the accused.
- 9th May, 2002, at night, a Hindu religious place-”Aditya Asram” situated in the Khashipur village under the Banshkhali police station of Chattagram was demolished by some Muslim activists. A group of 30 to 40 muslim fundamentalists along with sharp weapons attacked the ”Aditya Asram”. The priest of the temple-Pradipananda Purimoharaj was deeply injured by the fundamentalists. The property of the ”Ashram” has been looted & taken away by the attackers.
- 4th May 2002, at night, near the Biyanibazar of Sulhet district, a Hindu Brahmin girl of the Uttabhag village has been kidnapped by a group of Muslim fundamentalists and raped mercilessly. 5th May, the villagers rescued her but she was totally senseless.
- 3rd May, 2002, at night, in Kumilya district of Bangladesh Brajendra Bhowmick, a Hindu villager of Haludia situated under Mujaffargunge Union was attacked by armed right wing Muslim fundamentalists. The houses of Subhash Chandra Bhowmick, Nakul Chandra Bhowmick and Bimalendu Bhowmick have been set a blaze. The local police station is still indifferent regarding the incident.
- 8th May, 2002, at night, in the Nator district of Bangladesh, the villagers of Bashantapur at Shingra sub-district were attacked by armed Muslim extremists. The houses of Niren, Nitai, Atul, Prabhat, Dinesh, Ajit, Krishna, Jitendra, Basudev and Sukumar, all Hindus were looted. The families have decided to leave Bashantapur for India.
- Recently, near the Patuakhali sub-district of Bangladesh, at Khachipara and Kalishuri village of Banpual-the Hindu minorities have been forcibly interned at their homes to keep them under observation. Shishutosh Dash, Bhabaranjan Das, Debendranath Sarkar and Hiron Kumar Sarkar were forced to sign and give away all their houses and properties to the Muslim fundamentalists. They only cried in silence and left their land to move away to any other place.
- 20th April, in evening, at Uttapara sub-distict of Shirajgunga a Hindu clothes merchant, Nitai Sarkar has been attacked by some muslim exrremsits. Clothes from his shop were stolen that valued nearly, 1 lakh (U.S. $ 2,000) takas. Being mercilessly beaten he is now under treatment.
- 15th April 2002, in the Chagal Naiya sub-distict of Pheni district, Khrishna Das (60) and Ujjal Das (27) Hindu vilagers of Sattar village has been severely tortured by local right wing Muslim fundamentaliss, because they refused to pay the jizya tax according to their demands.
- 20th May 2002, at Bargauna district of Bangladesh, in Bukabania Zabar of Bamma sub-distrcits some Hindu owned lands surrounding a temple were captured by the Muslim partymen. They belonged to the fundamentalists group of the Bangladesh National Party. They have started to build their party office in that area.
Forceful Conversion of Two Minor Hindu Girls to Islam-Attack on Family Members:
Monday, August 05, 2002
Two minor Hindu girls, namely Miss Sushma Rani Malo (15 year old), daughter of Shri Anil Chandra Malo and Miss Putul Rani Malo (15 year old), daughter of ShriMonoranjan Malo of village Kulpaddy, Police Station and District of Madaripur, were kidnapped from their houses one kilometer from Madaripur police station. The guardians of the victims described in a very heart-rending manner to Advocate Rabindra Ghosh, President HRCBM, Dhaka, Bangladesh, that their minor daughters were students of Class VIII. The minor girls were kidnapped by some Muslims of the same village, led by the Imman of Madaripur Sadar Hospital Mosque. They were forced to sign an affidavit that they are 19 years of age and they wanted to convert to Islam at their own will on 25th of July, 2002. In addition, they were allured and detained and compelled by some Muslims of the same locality, particularly the supporters of Jamal-E-Islami Party, to swear an affidavit by a Notary Public at Madaripur. The victims, Putul Rani Malo and Sushma Rani Malo, came back to their parents on 25th July, 2002, in the evening. On hearing the news that the two girls had gone back to their parents some Jamal-E-Islamic supporters numbering about 250/300 surrounded the houses of the victim-girls at about 11 P.M. at night. The criminals started assaulting Arun Chandra Malo(26), brother of victim Sushma Rani Malo. Arun Chandra Malo sustained severe injuries on the lower portion of the eyes, which were still visible after 8 days. He was under the treatment of local doctor. Ultimately those two victim girls were again kidnapped by the Muslim criminals on 26th July, 2002. The police and law enforcement authorities did neither provide any protection to the girls and their families nor arrested the criminals. Not only that the miscreants with the help of some police officials of Madaripur police station tactfully obtained an undertaking from the guardians of the victim girls that they do not like to lodge any complain with the police and they did not take any cases against the criminals. Advocate Rabindra Ghosh finally was successful in filing two F.I.R.’s with the Madaripur Police Station during his visit.
Advocate Mr. Ghosh pointed to the Deputy Commissioner that the consent of any minor, according to law, is no consent and the date of birth of the victims proved that they were minors. So the consent obtained by the criminals by an affidavit in the Notary Public has got no force in law. Until and unless the minor becomes 18 years of age she is not capable to give consent as per the latest ruling of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. It is quite astonishing to note that the "No objection certificate" obtained by some police officers tactfully from the simple-minded and law-abiding guardians of the victims are very much unwarranted and without jurisdiction; and for this deceitful endeavor on the part of any law-enforcing agencies are highly reprehensible and punishable under law. It is also astonishing to note that while the victim girls were kidnapped from a house by the miscreants the police was silent and they were allowed to organize processions in the locality in the name of religion and promote violence and intolerance. Mr. Ghosh requested the Deputy Commissioner of Madaripur to hand over the minor victims to the legal guardians but no actions have yet been taken. A serious tension is prevailing in the area and the minorities fear for their life and security.
3 injured as terrorists attack Christian Para (locality) in Barisal : March 23rd, 2002
Armed terrorists attacked the Christian-dominated area at Kashipur on the outskirts of the town yesterday, leaving three people injured, one witness said the hoodlums numbering around 10 swooped on the Christian Para at Icchakati at about 11 am and ransacked a house belonging to Badal Baidya. During the raid, they also stabbed three people, including Liton Sadhu, when they tried to resist them. Liton was admitted to Barisal Sher-e-Bangla Medical College Hospital "in critical condition"
Terrorists attack houses of Christian community in Pabna : February 28th, 2002
At least 20 people were injured as some terrorists allegedly attacked and damaged several houses of Christian community members in two villages of Chatmohor Upazila in the district on Tuesday night, reports UNB. Local people said the violence started when one Susanta Modal of village Kadamtol refused to pay money allegedly to some cadres of JCD, the student wing of ruling BNP, for buying liquor. Refusal to pay money made the cadres angry and they went on the rampage assaulting Susanta. Ten people were injured and four houses ransacked in the attack, according to sources.
Gang rape continues at Naugaou, minority girls appeal for justice
Daily Janakantha dated 13th February, 2002
After brutal gang rape of minority girl Purnima at Ullapara, another Purnima has become the victim of gang rape at Niamatpur under Naugaou. Terrorists armed with lethal country made weapon burst into the house of Mr. Gajendra Nath Sarkar at mid night, the miscreants went on rampage at the house kicking and punching family members first and then forcefully kidnapped Ms. Babita Rani Sarkar, holding the family at gunpoint. Next morning, the miscreants dropped off the subdued and tormented body of Ms. Babita who was seriously wounded but alive. Terrorist warned the local minorities for stern punishment if the incident is reported to police. This incident further instigated fear among minorities at Bhahadurpur village. To escape humiliation and save their females minorities are sending out all the young girls and women to relatives in towns. Ignoring all the warnings, oppression and torture of miscreants, Ms. Babita, a student of class ten in local school and her family decided to file case in the local police station. The brave girl identified one "Shariful" among eight evildoers. Police has arrested Shariful and Ahidur Rahman while writing this report. Ms. Babita has now taken refuge to the residence of her maternal uncle at Mandar Bevbra village. Latter Police Superintendent Mr. Mustafijur Rahman visited the village assuring the safety of minorities there but locals said minorities never been safe since the last election. Some also stated that Babita’s distant sister was also gang raped earlier but administration has not done enough to endow justice.
1. Bangladesh A Country Study, Ed. J.Heitzman & R.L.Worden, 2nd Ed, Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, Publisher U.S. Army, 1989, pp.250,255
2. Encyclopedia Britannica, 15 th Ed, Micropedia, Vol.1, p.789 Desh.
3. State of Minorities in Bangladesh : From Secular to Islamic Hegemony : Saleem Samad