Minority leaders castigate BNP leader Gayeshwar’s recent claim on Hindus

Minority community leaders have raised questions against Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) standing committee member Gayeshwar Chandra Roy’s recent claim that Hindus – the largest religious minority in Bangladesh – are gradually “leaving the country due to lack of security.”

The leaders also pointed out BNP leaders’ attempt to endorse an “error-ridden projection” of the state of minorities in Bangladesh by six US congressmen in a letter to Biden can only have a negative impact ahead of the national election, reports UNB.

Referring to the wave of attacks on minorities in the run up to national elections held in 2014 and earlier, they also held BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami responsible.

Reiterating his previous stance against the US congressmen’s letter – calling it a “travesty of truth” – Advocate Rana Dasgupta, general secretary of Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Oikya Parishad, said: “In 1977, under BNP founder Gen Ziaur Rahman’s watch, the core tenets of a non-communal polity was destroyed.”

“Following the assassination of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975, successive regimes led by Gen Zia and Gen Ershad all went on an overdrive – introducing a Pakistan-style communal rule, and embracing communal forces,” he added.

One must consider the widespread repression of minorities between 2001 and 2006 under the then BNP-Jamaat government, as well as spate of attacks during the war crimes trial, Dasgupta said. The trend of reduction in Hindu population in Bangladesh occurred over five decades, he observed.

Several noted minority community leaders, academics and anti-war crimes campaigners have pulled up the US congressmen for what they called “absolutely false projection” of the state of minorities. They also said it was a “threat to the existing communal harmony in Bangladesh.”

“Since Sheikh Hasina’s rise to power, the Hindu population has been halved… Sheikh Hasina’s government also has persecuted Bangladesh’s minority Christian population – burning and looting places of worship, jailing pastors, and breaking up families when religious conversion occurs,” reads the letter.

Archbishop Emeritus Patrick D’Rozario, earlier, strongly criticised the portrayal of Bangladesh’s Christian community as “persecuted” under the present government. Calling such assertions “incorrect,” the former Archbishop of Dhaka insisted that the government has stood by the Christian community in Bangladesh against bigots.

A group of around 200 prominent Bangladeshi Americans released a statement saying that the letter from six US congressmen contains “false and misleading information.”

“The letter ignores the October 2001 post-national election violence unleashed on the Hindu community by Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jamaat-e-Islami led coalition,” the statement from the Bangladeshi Americans said.