Human rights in Bangladesh

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Human rights in Bangladesh are enshrined as fundamental rights in Part III of the Constitution of Bangladesh. However, constitutional and legal experts believe many of the country's laws require reform to enforce fundamental rights and reflect democratic values of the 21st century.


  • The attack on Bangladeshi Hindus is a crime against humanity. In and of itself, it is severe enough to spur our moral outrage and cause us to take action to stop it. But to make matters worse, it has been spreading across that open border into West Bengal, India. One would think these Hindu victims of Islamist terror would find a safe haven in the largest Hindu nation on earth, but they have not.
    • Benkin, Richard L. (2012). A quiet case of ethnic cleansing: The murder of Bangladesh's Hindus. New Delhi: Akshaya Prakashan. p.142.
  • Thus, we encounter a scenario of ‘missing Hindu population’ in the successive census periods. The extent of this missing population was about 1.22 million during the period of 1974-1981, and about 1.73 million during the last intercensual period 1981-91. As many as 475 Hindus are ‘disappearing’ every day from the soil of Bangladesh on an average since 1974. How this phenomenon would be interpreted in terms of demography? The relevant parameter is obviously ‘migration’ which provides a clue to the missing link.
    • Mohiuddin Ahmed, a renowned journalist of Bangladesh. “The Missing Population”, Holiday, Weekly, Dhaka, 7 January 1994. Quoted from (1997). Time for stock taking, whither Sangh Parivar? Edited by Goel, S. R.
  • In early 1964, there were bloody riots once more in East Pakistan between the majority and the minorities. The past six, seven years, the Muslims had been pestering the Adibasis .... a stream of refugees had ensued ... a mad anti-Hindu propaganda egged on the Muslims in East Pakistan, also against the Christians. It was the first time that Christians were systematically chase out from there.
    • Robert Houthaeve, in his biography of Father Herman Rasschaert: Recht, al Barstte de Wereld, p. 276, quoted in Elst, Koenraad (2014). Decolonizing the Hindu mind: Ideological development of Hindu revivalism. New Delhi: Rupa. p. 373-4
  • …in view of insecurity of life, property and honour of the minority communities in the eastern wing of Pakistan [present-day Bangladesh] and general denial of all human rights to them, the government of India should, in addition to relaxing restrictions in migration of people belonging to the minority communities from East Pakistan to the Indian Union, also consider steps for enlisting the world opinion.
    • Lal Bahadur Shastri Former Prime Minister Shastri’s speech in Parliament on April 3, 1964
    • In speeches to Parliament, PM Modi quotes Nehru, Ambedkar, Shastri on welcoming Hindu refugees. February 7, 2020 [1]
  • As far as East Pakistan is concerned, its decision seems to indicate that all non-Muslims will be driven out from there. It is an Islamic state….non-Muslims cannot live there…
    • Lal Bahadur Shastri Shastri as having told Parliament in 1964, during a discussion on refugees from Pakistan,
    • In speeches to Parliament, PM Modi quotes Nehru, Ambedkar, Shastri on welcoming Hindu refugees. February 7, 2020 [2]
  • A 1992 report prepared by B.B. Dutta for the North-Eastern Congr­ess Coordination Com­mittee meeting in Guwahati looked into both types of im­migration and notes: "Between 1971 and 1981, Bangladesh census records show a reduc­tion of 39 lakhs in the minority population. "Between 1981-89, 36 lakh religious minorities were missing from that coun­try.
    • Report by BB Dutta, cited in Elst, K. The demographic Siege, 1998.
  • The gang rape of women and girls, murder, beatings, harassment, kidnappings, attacks on temples, looting of gold and jewelry, and illegal occupation of land constitute the litany of human rights abuses suffered by Hindus, tribal people, and to a lesser extend Christians and Buddhists.
    • Hindu American Foundation, Hindus in South Asia and the Diaspora: A survey of Human Rights 2008, p. 6. quoted in Benkin, Richard L. (2014). A quiet case of ethnic cleansing: The murder of Bangladesh's Hindus. p. 99.
  • Hindus of Bangladesh continue to be victims of ethnic cleansing waged by Islamic fundamentalists that include daily acts of murder, rape, kidnapping, temple destruction, and physical intimidation.
    • Hindu American Foundation, Hindus in South Asia and the Diaspora: A survey of Human Rights 2010, p. ii-iii. quoted in Benkin, Richard L. (2014). A quiet case of ethnic cleansing: The murder of Bangladesh's Hindus. p. 100.
  • What resources have the Bangladeshi Hindus? .... Flushed with passion after meeting with scores of refugees in 2008, I returned to AI's web site and scoured it in search of some outrage - any outrage -over what is so apparent in South Asia; but my search was in vain. ... To date Amnesty International has yet to show any stomach for opposing what could be the worst case of ethnic cleansing in our time.
    One could advance any number of reasons for their silence. Is it because the victims are Hindu; or the victimizers Muslim? Are they simply moral cowards; or do they just not care? Perhaps it is a case of AI placing ideology above principle... The last time AI, or HRW for that matter, gave the Bangladeshi Hindus even passing mention was in 2006. (Oxfam never has.) In its 2010 report on Bangladesh, AI shockingly did not even mention the oppression of Hindus; a horrid disgrace, that encourages the human rights atrocities those very organizations claim to be fighting! (32-33)
    • Benkin, Richard L. (2014). A quiet case of ethnic cleansing: The murder of Bangladesh's Hindus. 32-33
  • We are not only a class elite, but also a Muslim elite that ravages this country and renders all others as shadow citizens. From the Vested Property Act onwards, there are laws, understandings, social norms, politics and quiet discrimination that have rendered our Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, Adivasi (Aboriginal), and Pahari (Hill) citizens as sub-human—frozen out of schools, jobs, politics, culture, and lived life.
    • Mohaiemen N, Tattered blood-green flag: Secularism in crisis, Daily Star, Bangladesh, 26 Feb, 2007 , quoted in Khan, M. A. (2011). Islamic Jihad: A legacy of forced conversion, imperialism and slavery.
  • In Dhaka, Muslims have started riots with the complicity of the police. They attacked the houses of the Hindus, raped the women and slaughtered all those who resisted. They burned down whole neighbourhoods under the eyes of the policemen. These only intervened when a Hindu grabbed a weapon to defend himself. In that case, they entered the house, seized the weapons and arrested the men. The Muslims were armed; they on their part did have that right. All attempts by Congress to brng them to peace have failed.
    • Mircea Eliade, on the riots in Dhaka, in his travel diary for 1928-31. Journal des Indes, 1992. p. 128. in Elst, K. (2010). The saffron swastika: The notion of "Hindu fascism". p 803.
  • It is insufficiently realized how, even apart from the 1971 massacre, the killing of Hindus has been a frequent and large-scale affair in Pakistan and Bangladesh. In East Bengal in February 1950, "from detailed information received, the conservative estimate of casualties was placed at 2,500 killed in the district of Barisal alone. Total casualties of Dacca and East Bengal riots were estimated to be in the neighbourhood of 10,000 killed". Ten days in May 1950 were enough to kill a similar number of Hindus; after this slaughter, a million Hindus fled East Pakistan within half a year.
    • Elst, K. (2010). The saffron swastika: The notion of "Hindu fascism". p 812
  • No country in the world has been host to so many refugees as a 'shrinking and shrunken' India has been since the Partition in 1947... According to the estimate of the Government of India, 7.30 million people entered India between 1947-51 from the two wings of Pakistan. Except a few thousand Hindu families in Sindh, almost the entire Hindu and Sikh population were forced to leave their homes... In East Pakistan, the process was slow and systematic. Between 1947-51, the total number of people moving into India was estimated at 2.55 million... While West Pakistan was cleansed of its Kafirs except for a microscopic minority - being reduced from 23% in 1947 to 3% at present, the non-Muslim communities of East Pakistan/Bangladesh were reduced from 29% to 12% of the population.
    It is estimated that another 2.5 million Hindus fled the eastern wing of Pakistan during 1951-61... One finds that 90% of the total who fled East Pakistan in course of the liberation war of Bangladesh were Hindus... The extent of the missing Hindu population is estimated around 1.22 million during the last inter-censal period of 1981-91...
    • Saradindu Mukherji, Flow of Hindu refugees from Pakistan/Bangladesh to India, Hindustan Times, 13-10-1996, reproduced in Muslim india, Jan 1997 p. 36. , also in in Elst, K. (2010). The saffron swastika: The notion of "Hindu fascism". p 814.
    • The article was controversial, e.g. in a letter dd. 14-8-1996 to the Press Council, Syed Shahabuddin demanded "appropriate action" against the article as it "vilifies Islam as a religion to generate feelings of hatred and revenge against Muslim Indians..."
  • We were also harboring, all of us were harboring, Bengalis, mostly Hindu Bengalis, who were trying to flee mostly by taking refuge with our own servants. Our servants would give them refuge. All of us were doing this. I had a message from Washington saying that they had heard we were doing this and to knock it off. I told them we were doing it and would continue to do it. We could not turn these people away. They were not political refugees. They were just poor, very low-class people, mostly Hindus, who were very much afraid that they would be killed solely because they were Hindu.
    • Archer Blood, as quoted in Bass, G. J. (2014). The Blood telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a forgotten genocide. ch 4

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