DHAKA, April 9 - With the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) continuing to put its weight behind the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, minority pressure groups in Bangladesh has denounced the attempt stating that, if introduced, the CAB would only escalate persecution on religious minorities, especially Hindus, living in Bangladesh.
Representatives of various minority pressure groups, religious organizations and people from various walks of life including the Bangladeshi chapter of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) are of the opinion that although minorities are subjected to violence from time to time in Bangladesh, the solution however does not lie in CAB.
�In fact, if CAB comes into effect, it would provide the communal perpetrators a free run to persecute the minorities. If Hindu population reduces, it will also pave the way for radical and fundamentalist activities like it was in Syria and Iraq and that will affect India�s security scenario as well for it being the bordering country. Even the majority population in Bangladesh wants Hindus to stay in Bangladesh in a peaceful manner,� said Gobindo Chandra Pramanik, president of the Bangladeshi chapter of VHP while talking to�The Assam Tribune.
As per a report �Atrocities on Minorities in Bangladesh in 2018� compiled by Bangladesh Jatiya Hindu Mohajote, as many as 88 minorities were reportedly killed and another 287 persons faced death threat between January, 2018 to November 2018. �
As per the 2017 report, at least 107 persons belonging to Hindu community were killed while 31 of them had disappeared.
Further, there were 68 cases of attempt to murder and the number of persons who sustained injuries stood at 347.
�The number of those missing during the period stood at 48,� the report stated.
�The Hindus or for that matter any other minority groups do not want to leave Bangladesh, which is their motherland. But, we definitely need security within the country and that can happen only through electoral seat reservation and a separate electoral process. There has to be a separate Ministry for the Minorities as well,� Pramanik, who is also the general secretary of the Bangladesh Jatiya Hindu Mohajote, told this correspondent.�
Pramanik, also a Supreme Court lawyer, said that those who had left for India in the recent time have done it mostly for economic reasons and only a handful of them had left due to persecution.
Rana Dasgupta, general secretary of Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council, one of the leading minority pressure groups in Bangladesh, said that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill cannot be a solution to stop persecution or safeguard the interest of the minorities living in Bangladesh.
�And if the CAB comes into effect, the communal forces would jump on the minority population in Bangladesh, and the fall out could be as grave as minority cleansing,� he opined.
�We hail the stand of the opposition as the CAB is a discriminatory law, which would make things worse for minorities living in Bangladesh,� Dasgupta said.
However, Rana Dasgupta , while referring to a comparative study of the two population pattern reports published in 1971 and the more recent report of the Bangladesh Population Statistical Bureau in 2011, conceded �that the percentage of minority population has come down from nearly 20 per cent in 1971 to just 9.6 per cent in 2011, indicating that a huge chunk of population had fled Bangladesh to Indian States like Assam, and West Bengal among others during the period, following torture or in search of better economic prospects.
Of these 9.6 per cent, 8.6 were the Hindus, rest were Buddhist and Christians.
�The situation now is a bit different. As far as existing scenario vis-�-vis persecution of minorities is concerned, the State-sponsored persecution has come down. The worrying factor, however, is that the minority population is still facing the heat from the communal forces who are still resorting to violence and trying to flare up the issue to yield political mileage. The CAB would only aggravate the situation,� Das Gupta said.
�Both the Indian and the Bangladesh Government should come out with an amicable solution through dialogues. Safety of the minorities within Bangladesh has to top the agenda of discussion, �Dasgupta added.�
A Hindu leader based in Cox�s Bazar district, requesting anonymity, confide that the CAB is divisive in nature and once it comes into effect, it would only make life difficult for the minorities.
Deben Bhaskar, general secretary of the Bangladesh Puja Udjapon Parishad (Jessore district), which has its presence across the country, told this reporter that the question of a Hindu Bangladeshi does not arise at all and they oppose such move.
�There could be some sporadic incidents of violence against minorities in Bangladesh and that happens everywhere including India. We want the state machinery to arrest the trend and fleeing the country is not an answer. Those who had fled the country are opportunist and even now many of them are coming back,� Bhaskar said.
Hashi Das, a Hindu woman of Faridpur district, while sharing her views said that some of her relatives had gone to India around 25 years back to look for better job opportunities and that they have not faced any ill-treatment or persecution in their village or district.
Saptasi Das, a Dhaka-based banker, while reacting to the controversy surrounding the CAB, said that no matter what, no Hindu Bangladeshi would want to migrate to India.
�Yes, there are moments when things get tensed for the minorities, especially Hindus. Going to India would mean living like a second class citizen and that is not at all acceptable,� she reckoned.