July 21, 2019
The recent socio-political turmoil and totally disproportionate reaction in Bangladesh and abroad that has been created surrounding the meeting of Ms. Priya Saha, one of the Organizing Secretaries of Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council, central committee, with the US President, has drawn our attention. We believe that this issue deserves to be addressed and handled properly for the greater benefit of our beloved motherland.
We would like to say that when debate, discussion is good, distortion, intimidation is not good, nor does it serve the interest of the country.
When we believe with the clarification from Advocate Rana Dasgupta, General Secretary of Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council, should have been enough and any misunderstanding should have been rested altogether, but unfortunately it did not.
We would like to urge the Government of Bangladesh to act prudently and rationally. Government has the responsibility to protect the rights of all citizens irrespective of their religion, color or ethnicity.
Ms. Saha has not said anything that is not supported by historical truth about the country. Researcher Dr. Abul Barakat has already proved in his research work that truly Bangladesh has missing minority people. Even recently Dr. Barakat mentioned that “No Hindus will be left after 30 years”. According to him “[T]he rate of exodus over the past 49 years points to that direction.” Bangladesh government’s own census supports that assertion. Number should not matter. Even had the number of people who left Bangladesh been only 3 million that does NOT negate the assertion of Ms. Saha.
We must remember and acknowledge that Bangladesh lost many talents like Amartya Sen, Joyti Basu, Suchitra Sen, Nachiketa, Shankar like million others.
Ms. Saha did not mention that that many people disappeared during the tenure of this government. It happened in a systematic way since the partition of 1947. Also disappearing means missing, it should not be confused with the term “enforced disappearance” (in Bengali it means “goom”) that the opposition has been accusing this government of.
Ms. Saha’s assertion and claim should be taken positively in light of the fact that her own house was set on fire by miscreants and the government agencies failed to act properly even though she herself approached the concerned Minister. She herself has been the victim of unlawful land grabbing by the Islamic fundamentalists. No action was ever taken.
The government should try to eradicate the cause of grievance not the complainant. As long as the grievances remain true, it does not matter who brings it to the attention of whom.
The political culture of the country is abundant with making complaints to leaders and diplomats of foreign countries. At the best Priya Saha followed those examples. If none of our politicians is accused of sedition then why government party leaders even talk about that. Their hyper-active reaction might mean they are singling out Ms. Saha for her particular religious identity. Government should keep in mind that they cannot bring sedition charges against all minorities and progressive Muslims who believe Ms. Saha did not make up the number on her own, but substantiated by research.
During the tenure of this Government Bangladesh has progressed economically big. Bangladesh prides herself being able to build the largest bridge Padma Bridge on her own and we appreciate that. The country was liberated with the active participation of the minorities. Now those hapless minorities must be made to feel that they are part of that progress. All the allegations of minority repressions should be investigated with proper importance and honesty to conquer the hearts of the minority people, not by intimidating them. Let minority people feel that they can still count on the political party that they have been supporting en masse historically.
We would like to request the government of Bangladesh, current ruling party, all other political parties, administration to act rationally, secure the safety of the members of Ms. Saha’s family in Bangladesh and her safe return to Bangladesh. Ms. Saha emphatically mentioned that “we do NOT want to leave OUR country”.
Bangladesh cannot afford losing a patriot and an activist like her.
Swapan K. Das
Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council, USA