Political marginalization, social prejudice, economic opportunism and wider
structural issues are emerging in Bangladeshi society against the minority population.
Truth has always rested with the minority, which traditionally has been deemed stronger than the majority. Reason: the minority is generally formed by those who really have an opinion, while the strength of a majority is illusory, formed by groups who have no opinion — and who, therefore, in the next instant (when it is evident that the minority is stronger) assume their opinion… while truth reverts to a new minority.
Leaders from the small, minority communities in Bangladesh have lamented that the country is fast turning into a dangerous place for them. This became evident in the 2017 United States Commission on International Religious Freedom report. Although the Bangladesh government has taken steps to investigate, arrest and prosecute perpetrators, threats and violence have heightened the sense of fear among Bangladeshi citizens of all religious groups.
Reacting to the report, Theophil Nokrek, secretary of the Catholic bishops’ Justice and Peace Commission told ucanews.com that, in most cases, the government and ruling class were involved directly or indirectly in the persecution of religious minorities. “It crushes minorities’ hope for justice and creates a hostile environment for them,” said Nokrek.
I was a small boy, in the watershed year of 1964 — when the post-partition communal riots tore the city of Dacca. Since then, a number of Bangladeshi Hindu religious minorities have been dropping rapidly during the last few decades. Bangladesh shares a long border with India, and due to linguistic and cultural similarities, many Bangladeshi religious minorities have chosen to take refuge in India.
Protesters in Bangladesh have clashed recently with police and also attacked a Hindu temple in response to the October 20 arrests of two Muslims in the southern island of Bhola — they were accused of hacking the Facebook account of a Hindu student in an extortion scheme. There were more than 100 injuries in the clash, and police killed four persons in what they stated was self-defence.
In August this year, according to press reports, police found the body of Buddhist monk Amrita Nanda, vice principal of Gyanaratna Buddhist Monastery, under a railway bridge in Comilla, approximately 100 kilometers from Dhaka. According to media accounts, Nandi’s throat was slit. Buddhist community members said Nanda was returning to his hometown from Dhaka.