Hyderabad | Updated Feb 19, 2012 at 11:54am IST

A strong case for defence of minorities

indianexpressExpress News Service

HYDERABAD: A missing population of 49 million, all belonging to the same religious minority, Hindus, have been victims of a systematic ethnic cleansing in the neighboring Bangladesh. Human rights activist and writer Dr Richard Benkin highlighted the apathy of Delhi and Dhaka in taking cognizance of this targeting of Hindus in Bangladesh during his address at the Osmania University Centre for International Programme (OUCIP) as part of the monthly lecture series, Samanvaya, on Thursday.
“I often wonder, are my resources greater than that of the Bangladeshi and Indian government put together, the RAW and CIA, the media of the world put together, that no one seems to notice the crimes being committed against these religious minorities?” questioned Dr Benkin who has been studying the incidents of human rights violation against Hindus in Bangladesh since 2007.
“Multiple incidents of violence against the Hindus took place in Bangladesh since 2008, the time when the Awami League came to power. These incidents include murder, land grabbing which is legalized by the government under the Vested Properties Act, rape, deliberate religious desecration, arson and forced conversions which is lawful under the Bangladeshi Constitution. The worst part is that the government does not initiate proceedings against these crimes perpetuated against religious minorities,” observed Dr Benkin who was responsible for freeing Bangladeshi journalist Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury who was imprisoned by the government for his articles warning against the rise of Islamic radicals in his country in 2006.
The rights activist also mentioned gruesome accounts narrated by Hindu Bangladeshi refugees in India in West Bengal and Assam who are squatters and do not receive aid from humanitarian organizations or the government.
“For the remaining 15 million Hindus in Bangladesh, let us try to save them. My book, A Quiet Case of Ethnic Cleansing, released last month aims to bring out the issue so that no one can pretend anymore that the trouble does not exist,” concluded Benkin.

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