Hindus in Bangladesh
At the time of partition and creation of Pakistan, east Pakistan now Bangladesh had a 35% Hindu- Buddhist population. They were being expelled from out by various violent and discriminatory and oppressive actions of Islamist gangs, unchecked by government. When the flood of Hindu- Buddhist refugees into India was huge, Sardar Patel addressed a mammoth meeting in Calcutta’s maidan in March 1950 and warned Pakistan that if the flood did not stop, a few districts in east Pakistan would be liberated and all the Hindu- Buddhist people would be settled in the free districts and that they would be protected by Indian armed forces.
2. Prime Minister of Pakistan Liaqat Ali Khan came to Delhi and there was the Nehru – Liaqat Ali Pact guaranteeing safety to the minorities in the two countries. While India has been honouring not only that pact but has been giving certain privileges and special rights to Muslims in India, the exodus of Hindu Buddhists from east Pakistan /Bangladesh has not stopped from 35% in 1947, it has come down to about 7% and is still going down; in contrast to India’s Muslim population going up from 9.8% in 1951 to about 15% by now.
3. Sri Jogendranath Mondal an SC Hindu leader in East Pakistan and an ally of the Muslim League was Law Minister of Pakistan . He was repeatedly reporting to Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan about the rapes, lootings and forced evictions of Hindus, especially S.Cs among them, in East Pakistan . But Liaquat dismissed those reports as false and that noble Islam would not allow such things. Mondal Pak’s cabinet minister was ignored and humiliated. He fled from Pakistan and took refuge in Kolkata where he died in anonymity. Mondal’s episode must be a lesson to such SC leaders in India who are being inveigled to make common cause with minorities i.e Muslims for political empowerment. The less than one percent Hindus in Pakistan are mostly SCs who are prevented from emigrating to India so that they perform the scavenging and remove the dead animals and do such menial work in Pakistan.
4. In Sept 1951 Dr Ambedkar resigned from the Nehru cabinet and in a statement in October in the Rajya Sabha he faulted Nehru for his obsession with Kashmir and special rights and privileges for Muslims not only in Kashmir but even in the rest of India. He said that India’s real problem was not Kashmir but the fate of Hindus in Pakistan, especially in its eastern wing. His advice in 1940 itself that after partition, there should be a full and organised exchange of minority populations between Hindustan and Pakistan was not heeded. Worse, while all Hindus and Sikhs were expelled from west Pakistan, slow and steady expulsion of Hindus from east Pakistan / Bangladesh has been continuing since partition and even after emergence of Bangladesh.
5. By now the once 35% Hindu Buddhist population in Bangladesh is reduced to about 7%. Atrocities on Hindus and vandalisation and destruction of their places of worship continue in articulated measure so that India’s ire does not lead to some immediate action to save the Hindu Buddhist population in Bangladesh. Notwithstanding Shaikh Hasina’s friendship with India and her real commitment to secularism, atrocities on Hindus and Buddhists continue in Bangladesh. The Chittagong area was once a Buddhist majority territory area. By almost all Buddhists are expelled. It could have been part of India, though separated by Muslim Pakistan / Bangladesh, just as East Pakistan was separated by intervening Indian territory. Another such Hindu majority territory, named Thar Parkar in Sind was also lost to India because of the over-generosity and short-sightedness of Jawaharlal Nehru in regard to Muslims.
6. Freedom from British rule in the Indian subcontinent has meant unfettered freedom for Muslims in Pakistan and Bangladesh but not such freedom to Hindus in what remains as India after 1947. Muslims in India have more freedoms and privileges than Hindus e.g Article. They are also exercising veto over what laws India can enact ( eg. Common Civil Code, equal rights for all Indian women, child marriage, polygamy, secular education etc)
7. It is necessary that India takes a firm position and tells Bangladesh in a decisive and friendly manner that either it should guarantee the security and honour of the majorities or Sardar Patel’s remedy shall be applied peacefully. (730 words)