Bangladesh Fine with Hindus' Destruction
On February 20, 2013, I met with Bangladesh Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir in his Dhaka office. Having just returned from Dinajpur where I witnessed irrefutable evidence of Hindus' ethnic cleansing and government complicity, I wished to deliver a simple message. Bangladesh has been able to get away with empty promises regarding the process that has reduced Hindus from a fifth of the population to just over seven percent, but that time is drawing to an end. Bangladesh can either get on top of the process by taking certain concrete steps and help manage it; or it can be the recipient of whatever might come as a result of their inaction.
While some Bangladeshi officials have at least acknowledged the problem, this individual was having none of it. He was adamant that his government was doing just fine, thank you very much, and it had no intention of doing anything more with regard to this human rights travesty. In fact, his responses did not attempt to show how it was indeed not a problem and that Hindus in Bangladesh are just fine, but they took the form of accusations: "I have seen the enclaves of the Red Indians," "33 people were killed in Connecticut," and "union membership has declined in the United States," which I pointed out, if I can take him at his word, indicate the depth of the problem they have.
It is an unfortunate fact that minorities are attacked pretty much everywhere. The only reason for outsiders like me to get involved is when the insiders refuse to respond and send a message that such things are okay with them--the same message the Home Minister and early their US Ambassador sent. I suggested that the Home Minister travel to Dinajpur where Bangladeshi human rights activist Rabindra Ghosh and I saw a village of frightened Hindus who were attacked by a group of marauding Muslims who went from home to home stealing what they wanted and destroying the rest, and from farm to farm destroying crops and stealing livestock. The government refused to take any action and the area's MP is involved in grabbing the Hindu land; and the attackers keep threatening to return and "finish the job" if the Hindus do not leave Bangladesh. The only thing preventing them from now is four Muslim policemen who go to the village on their own.
But the Home Minister just said that if there are atrocities, I should send him the evidence and he would investigate. Besides the fact that this would do nothing in time for these villagers, I asked: "Doesn't it seem odd that you, the Home Minister sitting in the nation's capital, are dependent on some guy from Chicago for evidence of such crimes?" I also told him that such things should be handled at the local level by local officials and should not require an "investigation" by the Home Minister.
Yet, he remained adamant that they would not change anything--even the blatantly anti-Hindu laws that his government promised to repeal, had a chance to repeal, but did not. That is, he was adamant until I suggested that such obstinacy could lead to a situation where they might find it difficult to sell their garments on the open market; at which point he pleaded poverty that fixing the problem would take money and that such sanctions would deprive them of it.
Stay tuned because leaders in at least two foreign capitals have been filled in on our encounter, presented with the damning evidence against Bangladesh, and are seriously contemplating action.