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Ethnic Cleansing of Bangladeshi Hindus continues in 2012 : Dr. Richard Benkin

May 18, 2012    

Vaishakh Krushna 13,Kaliyug Varsha 5114

By Dr. Richard L. Benkin

Dr. Richard Benkin
Dr. Richard Benkin
The numbers tell the story - or at least part of it.  After India’s Partition, Hindus were almost a third of the East Pakistan population, according to Pakistan’s 1951 census.  When East Pakistan became Bangladesh in 1971, they were under a fifth; 30 years later less than a tenth; and according to reliable estimates, less than eight percent today.  Throughout that time, there was a steady flow of reports on anti-Hindu atrocities there; atrocities that include religious desecration, land grabs, property destruction, beatings, forced conversion to Islam, child abduction, rape, and murder.  Bangladeshi governments not only refused to prosecute the perpetrators, but also maintained openly discriminatory laws.  One, the Vested Property Act, is an anti-Hindu law taken in whole cloth from Pakistan that allows the government to seize minority land and distribute it to Muslims.  It has been the economic engine that powers ethnic cleansing.  Another, the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, declares Islam to be the state religion with numerous consequences that elevate Bangladeshi Muslims and denigrate all other citizens, especially Hindus.

With the election of the Awami League in 2008, a nexus of elites worldwide waxed endlessly about how things would now be different; ignoring the Awami League’s full participation in the Vested Property Act and other clear signs of its collusion in ethnic cleansing.  As I document in my book, A Quiet Case of Ethnic Cleansing: The Murder of Bangladesh’s Hindus, the Awami League enabled major anti-Hindu actions to occur with no letup.  During its first year in office, they occurred at the rate of one per week, and they continued unabated in 2010 and 2011; with no prosecution of the perpetrators.  This even included a horrifying anti-Hindu pogrom that took place right behind a police station in the capital, saw a Mandir destroyed, sent several people to the hospital, and left dozens homeless.  Not breaking with the practice of its predecessors, the Awami League government did not prosecute the perpetrators and allowed the seizure of Hindu property to continue.  The pogrom’s cover up went at least as far as the Dhaka Metropolitan Chief of Police and Awami League parliamentarians.

Land Grab:  Sign announcing seizure of Hindu land
Land Grab: Sign announcing seizure of Hindu land

Yet, political correctness lives on longer than truth, and on April 9, 2012, the New York Times published a puff piece that reprised the erroneous assertion that Bangladesh under the Awami League is living up to the empty claims of its constitution; that its war on Hindus is over.  The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) continues to gather evidence of anti-Hindu actions there; and it Director of Human Rights, Samir Kalra, wrote a response that debunked the piece and cited “nearly 1,200 incidents of violence directed against religious minorities (mostly Hindus) between 2008 and 2011.” The Times never published it.

15 major anti-Hindu incidents during the first quarter of 2012 :

My own nexus of informants and human rights activists were able to confirm at least 15 major anti-Hindu incidents during the first quarter of 2012 : 15 major incidents in 12 weeks including murder, rape, religious desecration, forced conversion to Islam, and more.  Multiple newspapers reported the events, and Rabindra Ghosh, tireless advocate of the Bangladesh Minority Watch, investigated and confirmed them.  The New York Times’ assertion, that “Hindu traditions are respected” in Bangladesh, would be comical if it was not so tragic.  Somehow, the “paper of record” missed this incident:  On January 31 at about 9am, five or more named, Muslim men abducted a 20 year old Hindu woman into a microbus while she waited at a bus stop on her way to college. She has not been seen or heard from since, and police had to be prodded into taking even perfunctory action; which is all they have taken.  And this one:  On February 13, around 7pm 11 known Muslim perpetrators grabbed an 18 year old Hindu woman as she went to fetch water outside her house.  The next day, her body was found on the railroad track 500 yards from a rail station with multiple injuries including those indicating sexual assault.  Police arrested one man, who is essentially free at this time, and have taken no further action.  The police took no action in ten of these 15 incidents, arrested and released known perpetrators in three, participated in one; and only made arrests in the Satkhira pogrom—an attack so massive that it sparked protests in the capital that shut down parts of it.  In at least two of these cases, police warned human rights activists to stop their investigations.

Hindu family stands over devastation of their home destroyed by Muslims during Satkhira pogrom
Hindu family stands over devastation of their home destroyed by Muslims during Satkhira pogrom

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s relatives behind driving off more than 100 Hindu families

Nor have things slowed down.  One of my own informants recently sent me evidence of more anti-Hindu actions.  In Khulna, for instance, the local official substituted his own image for that of a deity on a poster announcing the Chorok Puja festival.  When Hindus protested the desecration, police and others attacked them.  In Pangsa Village in Bagerhat, the government declared the area an “industrial zone,” and has used the declaration as a pretext for seizing Hindu land and driving off more than 100 Hindu families.  He reports something similar in Gololgonj, where 100-150 Hindu families have been driven out.  There, however, my informant charges that one of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s relatives, Sheika Maruf is behind the expulsions and profiting from them.  It is unclear where the New York Times got its information, but mine comes from people on the ground who have been able to back up their charges with documented evidence.

Temple grab:  Shuttered Temple with sign announcing its seizure.
Temple grab: Shuttered Temple with sign announcing its seizure.

Are my resources greater than those of the New York Times and other media?  Has the Hindu American Foundation documented atrocities that are beyond the ability of media giants to uncover?  Rather it seems that the New York Times and other media giants are content to ignore facts that upset their world view even if their willful ignorance results in death and destruction.

Dr. Richard L. Benkin is a human rights activist who has been fighting to stop the ethnic cleansing of Hindus in Bangladesh.  His book, A Quiet Case of Ethnic Cleansing: The Murder of Bangladesh’s Hindus, is available at for US readers and at for readers in India and elsewhere.

Source : Dr. Richard L Benkin

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