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Majhar Mannan:Bangladesh has celebrated its 50th year of independence i.e. Golden Jubilee this year and it is now a unique example that Bangladesh is moving forward at a fast pace in various field. Bangladesh is a peace-loving country in the world and its people believe in peace and religious coexistence.
Most of the people in Bangladesh are Muslims but people of other religions live here in a beautiful environment with their own religion but occasionally some untoward incidents are tarnishing this beautiful environment. Communal violence and attacks on minorities are, of course, an extreme threat to Bangladesh’s image.
Constitution of the state clearly states secularism is one of the four principles of the constitution. The recent inhumane torture and attacks on minorities in different parts of the country, including Cumilla, are extremely painful, unwelcome and cruel. The Hindu community was celebrating Durga Puja, their biggest religious festival, and in the meantime, communal evil forces stormed their various puja mandap and temples vandalizing idols and their homes, proving once again that Bangladesh is still not completely free of communalism.
Various political parties are reacting to the communal violence and prominent people are also reacting to it, but whatever the response, proper investigation and goodwill from the administration is needed to find out the truth. This is not new in the case of torture of minorities in Bangladesh. According to the Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Unity Council, violence against minorities took place in 2016, with 1471 victims, 1004 victims in 2017 and 806 victims in 2018.
The Hindu-Christian Buddhist Council claims that despite such incidents of violence, the victims have not actually received justice, which is why such incidents are recurring. Some minorities have lost their movable and immovable property due to such violence and most of the time they have been deprived of fair justice.
Secularism is one of the four principles in the governance of Bangladesh and the protection and implementation of this policy is ensured by the Constitution. The protection of the rights of religious minorities is mentioned in the constitution and although there is no separate definition of secularism in the constitution, article 12 of the constitution gives an idea about the issue.
Article 12 states that all forms of sectarianism and discrimination against and persecution of persons belonging to a particular religion shall be prohibited. The provision 28 of the Constitution provides for the protection of citizens from the effects of communalism and similarly prohibits communal behavior. Bangladesh is a country of non-communal consciousness and a country of harmony. People want to live in peace here but some communal people who want to destroy this peace must be found and this is the responsibility of the administration.
Every person in Bangladesh has the right to practice their religion freely and peacefully and those who obstruct it must be punished. Repeated attacks on minorities are not at all conducive to the country’s image, so all must now be on high alert. Such barbaric violence against innocent people cannot continue in a democratic state. There may be a far-reaching evil plan behind the recurring violence against minorities, which is why the state must ensure the security of minorities. A total of 71 cases have been filed and more than 450 people have been arrested in connection with the recent violence at various Hindu puja mandaps and vandalism of idols, and houses.
Those who are actually involved in communal violence should be arrested and brought to justice and exemplary punishment should be ensured otherwise such incidents will continue to increase. Such communal violence is a major obstacle to the country’s ongoing development and stability. There is no chance of seeing the barbaric attack on minorities as an isolated attack. It is a premeditated, purposeful and deeply conspiratorial attack. Father of the Nation Bangabandhu dreamed of building a secular, non-sectarian and non-discriminatory Golden Bengal and if Bangabandhu’s Golden Bengal is to be built, such violent incidents must be brought to justice.
The United Nations has strongly condemned the recent violence in Bangladesh and called for ensuring the safety of minorities. The political parties are blaming each other after this violent incident against the minorities and the political parties must get out of this culture of blaming and must be very vigilant in these areas especially in implementing the spirit of liberation war. All these communal evil forces are lurking in the politics, but everyone must be careful that they do not take advantage of politics in any way.
Measures should have been taken in advance to prevent such violent incidents from happening and to find out if there are any weaknesses. We all need to get out of the culture of blaming each other that exists in our country, otherwise these wrongdoers will always have a chance. Miscreants resort to a variety of tactics and propaganda to further their own vested interests, and law enforcement must be on high alert.
The writer is assistant professor,
B A F Shaheen College Kurmitola,