Saturday, September 22, 2012

Alarming decrease in Hindu population in Bangladesh

In past ten years, in comparing to the growth of the total population in Bangladesh, there is an alarming decrease of Hindu population in the country. According to statistics available with the government sources, the proportionate decrease in Hindu population is around nine hundred thousand. The statistics show almost elimination of Hindu population in fifteen districts in the country. Most of the Hindu families in those districts were forced to leave the country. In 2001, the total number of Hindu population in Bangladesh was 116.83 million, while the population was expected to be 132 million in 2011. But the latest statistics available with the government shows the total number of Hindu population at 123 million, which is nine hundred thousand less than the expected rate of growth. Currently 8.5 percent of the total population of Bangladesh is Hindus, while in 2001, it was 9.2 percent. The proportion of Christian, Buddhist and other religious minority population did not see any decline in the past. Currently the total number of Muslim population in Bangladesh is 90.4 percent. The district-wise statistics of population sees "huge decline" or "almost elimination" of Hindu population in fifteen districts, though the statistics terms the decline of Hindu population as "missing population".
He said, "Though some of the Hindu rights groups are falsely claiming that the forceful migration of Hindu families had decreased since Bangladesh Awami League came in power, the reality is actually just the opposite. Even during this present government, which came in power in 2009, there had been numerous attacks on Hindu families and temples in the country as well as alarming rise in the forceful abduction and religious conversion of Hindu girls and boys throughout the country."

Citing example of Gopalganj district in Bangladesh, which is considered to be the exclusive vote bank of Bangladesh Awami League and safe heaven for the Hindus, Gobinda Chandra Pramanik said, "In 2001, the total Hindu population at Gopalganj district was 371,000, while now it has gone down below fifty thousand. This statistics will prove the fact of repression on Hindu population even in the district, which is wrongly considered as 'safe heaven' for the Hindus in Bangladesh."

He said, "The burden of 'Enemy Property Act', which later was changed into 'Vested Property Act' has already caused hundreds and thousands of Hindu families in leaving Bangladesh either by selling their properties at token price or simply abandoning their ancestral properties into the grips of the greedy Muslim influential figures belonging to Bangladesh Awami League, Bangladesh Nationalist Party, Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami and Jatiyo Party. Though a large proportion of the Hindu populations consider Bangladesh Awami League as their own party and almost as guardians of protecting the rights of Hindus, in the past, very unfortunately, Awami League never kept its promises in protecting the Hindus."

Seeking anonymity, a Hindu community leader in Gopalganj district said, "Bangladesh Awami League though proclaims to be a party totally committed to protecting rights of Hindus and religious minorities in Bangladesh, unfortunately their political behavior is no different than any other political party in Bangladesh. No Hindu has ever been placed into top most posts in the Central Committee or district level committees of Bangladesh Awami League. Though it is very unfortunate, but this is the ground reality."

BY :   Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury.