Foreign Policy Blogs

Bangladeshi Professor: “There will be no Hindus in Bangladesh within 3 decades”

According to research conducted by Professor Abdul Barakat of Dhaka University, who recently published a book titled “The Political Economy of Reforming Agriculture: Land Water Bodies in Bangladesh,” there will be no Hindus left within Bangladesh within 30 years. He told the Dhaka Tribune: “The rate of the exodus over the past 49 years points to that direction.” From 1964 to 2013, around 11.3 million Hindus were compelled to flee Bangladesh due to religious persecution.

Before the Liberation War, the daily rate of migration was 705 while it was 512 during 1971-1981 and 438 during 1981-1991, the report noted. However, it added that the number increased to 767 persons each day during 1991-2001 while around 774 persons left the country during 2001-2012.

Barakat’s study found that most of the Hindus fled Bangladesh during the Pakistani occupation of the country. According to Shipan Kumer Basu, the President of the World Hindu Struggle Committee, “Pakistan’s feudal and military rulers were born anti Bengali language and anti-Bengali. In any way, if the vast majority of Hindus are displaced, it would be easy to rule by dividing the non-communal Bengali nation. From this point of view, the Pakistani military issued the Enemy Property Act in 1965, using the Pakistan-India war as an excuse.”

“Following that, 2.6 million acres of the original ownership of the Hindu community has been occupied or evicted,” Basu added. “Of the 2.6 million acres, about 82 percent is agricultural land, 29 percent is homestead, 4 percent is gardens, 3 percent are waterfalls, 1 percent are ponds and 19 percent of other lands were occupied. Abul Barakat mentioned in his study that the financial loss of the land and water and transferable assets under the Arms Vested Property Act amounted to Tk 650 million.”

Even though Barakat’s study found that most of the Hindus fled Bangladesh during the Pakistani occupation of the country, Dhaka University Professor Ajoy Roy told the Dhaka Tribune that due to the Vested Property Act, which led to the present government taking over the Hindu properties that the Pakistani regime seized as enemy property, 60% of the Hindus were left landless and this is one of the reasons that prompted their mass migration from the country.

Basu noted that aside from the Vested Property Law, there are also cases of Hindus falling victim to false accusations by the legal authorities in Bangladesh so that the authorities can seize their land with greater ease: “Due to a land dispute, Hindu senior lawyer Samar Chowdhury was falsely accused of crimes. The police attempted to portray him as a drug and arms dealer but in reality, he was framed. We demand that the authorities will release him as soon as possible without any conditions. Otherwise, ordinary people will lose their trust in you.”

Bangladeshi writer Sushanto Das Gupta added that under the Awami League government, the very lives of Hindus are also threatened as there are numerous cases of Hindus getting murdered, raped and physically assaulted: “Youth League President Ataur Rahman Selim threatened to murder a number of Hindu families in Habiganj’s Sunaru village. The only purpose is to grab our land without us being in the area. He is threatening us in so many ways, so that we will leave the area and go to India. If we do not leave this country, we will be forced to become Muslim. If we do not comply, then we will be burned in the fire.” According to Basu, this horrible reality is the fate of many Hindus such as a poor egg trader from the village of Dahor Chaluduri, who was critically injured after being attacked with a number of sharp objects merely so that his land could be seized.

 

Author

Rachel Avraham
Rachel Avraham

Rachel Avraham is a senior media research analyst at the Center for Near East Policy Research and a correspondent for the Israel Resource News Agency. She is based in Israel and publishes in a variety of media outlets throughout the world. She is the author of "Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab media." Avraham has an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from Ben-Gurion University and a BA in Government and Politics with minors in Jewish Studies and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Maryland at College Park.

americasdiplomats_socialmediaasset