© Sitangshu Guha
In Bangladesh most political party leaders love to say that ‘Bangladesh is a land of communal harmony’. Although, knowingly they lie, they do that for the sake of camouflaging their deep rooted communalism.
Bangladesh has no communal harmony, it is an Islamic society, non-Muslims are persecuted routinely. Can anyone find a country with ‘Islam’ as a state religion, where non-Muslims are flourishing?
Bangladesh is no exception!
The government appeases the Islamists, Islamic institutions, and helps them grow in Bangladesh. People love to say, we are 90% of the total population, so Bangladesh must be a Muslim country, and ‘Hindu go to India’.
Government machinery including ministers tells people how they are serving religion Islam. At this time the government is building 560 modern mosques and Islamic centers, but not a single Temple or church or pagoda!
The prime minister from time to time reminds people that the country will be run by Madina charter!
Let me give an example of religious harmony: Bangladesh fiscal year 2021-22 budget allotted for Religious Affairs Ministry Taka 15,054.03 crore (roughly $1771 million) under the ADP (annual development project), of which Taka 290.08 crore (roughly $34million) was allocated for projects related to religious minorities. Religious minorities’ share of the religious affairs ministry’s total budget is only 1.93% and the rest goes to Islamic development.
Bangladesh has a national mosque, but no national temple or pagoda or church. You will not find an established temple in Bangladesh, which was not attacked or harmed or its deities were not destroyed in the last half a century. Deity destruction is a common phenomenon there and until now, no one has been prosecuted or punished.
Is deity destruction possible without a religious vendetta?
The minority population is dwindling every day and they are forced to quit the country. Islam is a state religion and that makes non-Muslims a second class citizen. Hindus sacrificed for the liberation of the land was sky high, but they are deprived in every sector of social fabrication. It is hard to find a Hindu ambassador in foreign service, a high ranking military officer in the Army.
Every Hindu family was affected in 1971, but that was not enough, in the newborn Bangladesh they got the Enemy (vested) property act by which close to 3 million Hindu lands were taken from Hindus and given to Muslims. Eight hundred years old Hindu temple ‘The Ramna KaliBari’ was not returned to them after liberation. Discrimination is so rampant that you will not find a single Hindu who did not hear the word ‘Malaun’ means cursed.
Islamic foundation, a government entity has 100% Muslim employees. There are no Hindu, Buddhist, or Christian Foundation. There is ‘Hindu Trust’ whose Chairman is a Muslim. Religious Harmony is such a fantastic phenomenon in Bangladesh that the Bengali Hindus greatest festival ‘Durga Puja’ celebration is possible only with the Police protection, otherwise who knows what would happen to the Hindus!
(Sitangshu Guha is a former teacher, columnist, and an author. He is playing a role against persecution of Hindus in Bangladesh and to make Bangladesh a pluralistic democracy.)