Over the years, while Bangladesh and India have only drawn closer to each other, more so in the era of Sheikh Hasina and PM Modi, the alarming persecution of the Hindu minority in Bangladesh is particularly concerning. The country is fast getting filled with radical Islamists who have no tolerance for other beliefs and faiths. Now, according to a report by a top think tank, if the current persecution persists, Hindus in Bangladesh will cease to exist in the next 25 years.
According to a report by the Centre for Democracy, Pluralism and Human Rights (CDPHR), an organization which works towards advocating equality, justice and human rights, the situation of Hindus in Bangladesh has become so deplorable that the community might cease to exist in the next 25 years if corrective measures aren’t taken to protect the community from unprecedented persecution.
The report which has been prepared by a group of highly educated people, lawyers, judges, journalists and researchers, also quotes Professor Abdul Barkat of Dhaka University, as according to him, a whopping 2.3 lakh people have fled Bangladesh in the last four decades.
To put things into perspective, during the pre-independence Bangladesh, minorities made up 23.1 percent of its population. The latest census which was conducted wayback in 2011, reveals that the minority population in the country has now plummeted to 9.6 percent. Keeping in mind the current situation, it would be safe to assume that the number would further plummet if the census would have to take place now.
Such is the stranglehold of the radical Islamists that as soon as PM Modi’s historic visit to Bangladesh concluded, the group plunged the country into chaos in order to hound and vilify the Hindu minority.
Post the visit of PM Modi, hundreds of members of a hard-line Islamist group, Hefazat-e-Islam attacked Hindu temples in Bangladesh. A number of hardline Islamist groups violently protested the visit of PM Modi who in turn came with a gift of 1.2 million doses of Wuhan coronavirus vaccine shots, as the groups accused PM Modi of discriminating against minority Muslims in India. The protests turned deadly with at least 10 people being reportedly killed during the clashes with the police.
Another example of rising power of radical Islamists can be seen from the case of Bangladesh’s shining jewel – cricketer Shakib Al Hasan. The star Bangladesh cricketer was forced to tender a public apology after he received threats for his crime of attending a Hindu ceremony in Kolkata in November 2020.
After attending a ceremony in Kolkata dedicated to a Hindu goddess, Shakib said, “I was on the stage for for barely two minutes. People are talking about this and thought I inaugurated it. I did not do this and being a conscious Muslim I would not do this. But, maybe, I should not have gone there. I am sorry for this and apologise.”
He added, “As a practising Muslim I always try to follow religious customs. Please forgive me if I have done anything wrong.”
Imagine what would be the state of Hindus in Bangladesh if arguably one of the biggest names in the country also cannot escape the diktat of radical Islamists. The situation in Bangladesh is alarming to say the least, and the Sheikh Hasina government must take corrective steps and safeguard the country’s minorities.