Big protest in Bangladesh against Islamic Constitution
Sambuddha Gupta | Dhaka | June 30, 2011.
Dhaka stirs with Big Protests. Thousands of protesters marched in capital Dhaka on Thursday against Bangladesh parliament adopted an Islamic constitution, steering away from a secular political culture, which was enshrined in 1972 constitution.
A half a mile long rally organized by a conglomerate of Hindu and other ethnic groups, left parties and pro-secular groups, chanting anti-government slogans and waving red flags marched towards the parliament, where the ruling party and her alliance lawmakers hastily adopted several amendments to the constitution on Thursday noon.
Hindus and other religious minorities in Bangladesh clearly slammed the approval of the 15th constitutional amendment bill to retain Islam as the state religion as it was against the secular character of the constitution granted and accepted by the new born Bangladesh Republic in 1972. Quashing that National spirit of equality and secularism, Bangladesh’s Parliament approved the 15th Amendment Bill 2011 recently that scraps the controversial nonpartisan caretaker system to conduct general elections and also retains Islam as the state religion. The free thinkers society and a small section in Muslim Community consiting eminent scholars, writers, human rightists also raised their humble voice in the cause of retention of the Secular Constitution of Bangladesh as it was adopted in 1972.
Rana Dasgupta, General Secretary of Hindu Boudhha Christian Oikya Parishad (HBCOP), a key organisation of religious minorities in Bangladesh, said the entire nation wanted the restoration of the spirit of secularism.”We are deeply disappointed…this has violated our fundamental rights and that is why we are rejecting the amendment,” Dasgupta told the news agency PTI. The HBCOP claimed that it deprived the country’s nearly 2.5 crore religious and ethnic minorities from their rights of Hinduism and other religious beliefs. Amongst them, Hindus are the second largest religious affiliation in Bangladesh. There are over 150 million Hindus in the country, according to the 2001 census. Dasgupta said that the HBCOP, headed by former army general CR Datta (Veer Uttam), has called a nationwide day-long hunger strike on Friday on 1st July.
The organisation would also stage a black flag protest in front of the National Press Club in the heart of the capital tomorrow. Dasgupta said.”We fear that the development has pushed us to a situation where the followers of different religious faiths will abstain from casting their votes in next elections or wage a campaign demanding separate election in reserve seats..” He said. “Bangladesh’s 1972 constitution contained four state principles, including secularism that was scrapped under the government of military ruler Ziaur Rahman. Former military ruler Hussain Muhammad Ershad declared Islam the state religion in 1988 by amending the constitution. Currently HM Ershad the chief of Jatiya Party which is aligned with the Awami League-led ruling coalition Government in Bangladesh, is again playing his vital role to retain his Islamic amendments in the present 15th amendment in constitution to abolish the basic principles of original constitution”.
The irritations and the agitations in BD minority groups has no impact perhaps in theCultural Citadel of Asia at Kolkata due to an inertia of Bengal Intellects absorbed with pity secularism equates there not to speak anything about Islamic nuisance and a great PM of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hassina. However, Basudev Dhar, Dhaka correspondent of Dainik Statesman, a flourishing Bengali Daily published from Kolkata regularly reports the persecutions upon the BD minorities and Hindus by the majority Muslims as a most regular feature there.
The onslaught upon the BD Hindus and other minorities are so reckoning, this may be presented in a form of social appeal and deputation to the all Indian High Commissionand embassies including the United Nation forums, so the rights of minorities in Bangladesh cannot be tampered any more. The status of BD minorities are now clearly in a level of existential threat facing a process of ethnic cleansing now so promoted through the softness of constitution amendments with a ensuing hard dome of complete Talibalization of Bangladesh.
And there is a very little difference between Ziaur Rahman, Hussain Muhammad Ershad, Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hassina in the question to accept Islam as a State religion of Bangladesh. They are all pro Islamic and the majority of Muslim people can never be a liberal society to accept the practices of others in open mind in its habit, homes and state politics. Bangladesh is telling this truth once again.