THE 11TH SESSION OF THE WORKING GROUPS ON MINORITIES
THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
U. N., Geneva, May 30 - June 3, 2005
Delegate Nabendu Dutta, Director Planning & Coordination Council,
Bangladesh Hindu, Buddhist & Christian Unity Council, USA.
A Glimpse into the State-sponsored Campaign of Religious & Ethnic Cleansing in Bangladesh
Honorable Chairperson, distinguished representatives of the U. N. agencies, NGOs, government delegates, and fellow sisters & brothers, Good morning!
It is a distinct honor and privilege for me to be able to participate in this forum representing the Bangladesh Hindu, Buddhist, Christian Unity Council, U.S.A., which is a civil and human rights advocacy group working for the restoration of civil rights for Bangladesh’s fast dwindling but still remaining 20 million Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and indigenous minorities.
Mr. Chair, pogrom against the minority Hindus living in the geographical region known today as Bangladesh began with the Noakhali massacre in 1946, when it was still a part of British India, under a Muslim governor. Blatant discrimination, persecution and atrocities against the ethnically non-Bengali (Indo-Mongoloid) Christians, Buddhists and animists began right after 1947, when the region fell in Islamic Pakistan assuming the name of East Pakistan.
The saddest part of it all is that, this vicious, barbaric campaign has always been state-sponsored. Regardless of who has been in power—the Islamic nationalists/extremists or the secularists—gross violations of human rights and violence against the minorities have been occurring, varying only in terms of the degree of intensity.
As is well known, when a Bengali tolerant Muslim, Bangabandhu Mujibur Rahman, won a landslide victory in the 1970 national election, the Bengali Islamic nationalists/extremists joined forces with the West Pakistani army and killed 3 million Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and secular Muslims, raped 250,000 women, and drove nearly 10 million people out of the country (according to a report by Senator Kennedy—80% of the affected were minorities). After paying such a dear price, former Islamic East Pakistan emerged as a secular pluralistic state, but in 1975 the Islamic nationalists/extremists regained power and began to transform secular Bangladesh into an Islamic state.
The Islamic nationalists (the currently ruling BNP & JP) replaced secularism with Islam through the 5th (1979) and 8th amendments (1988). They not only formally rehabilitated the war criminals of 1971 into national politics but also encouraged them to conduct atrocities against the minorities by appointing them Prime Minister and President of the country. Also, they have allowed the international Islamic extremist circle to freely operate on the soil of Bangladesh, gradually turning the country into an underground station for the international Al-Qaeda recruits traveling to Afghanistan, permitting the notorious Wahabi Islamic Saudi charitable organization that funds terrorism around the globe to function within the country, and even