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Atul Brahmachari | HENB | Dhaka | Jan 7, 2017:: Scores of indigenous children in Bangladesh, including those from Hindu, Christian and Buddhist families, are being trafficked in crime rings and forcefully converted by radicals into Islam.
The Dhaka Tribune+ reports that police have rescued at least 72 children in the past seven years from crime rings that target underprivileged families and lure their children away with false promises of a better education and lifestyle. But, thousand of actual victims are unreported but feared to be 100 times than the rescued 72.
Actually, the fanatical Islamist groups are engaged to convert the children into Islam without the parents’ knowledge. The Islamist groups engaged in this heinous crime are just following the method as Christian Missionaries usually adopts to convert non-Christians.
The poverty-stricken Hindu, Christian, Buddhist and Tribal families are reportedly manipulated by the radical Jihadi groups to send their children away, but recent arrests of criminals involved in the crime ring have exposed the true intentions of such groups.
Investigation has revealed that a Machiavellian group has initiated some members of the indigenous community and sustained them financially in order to manipulate them. These new initiates go from door-to-door in underprivileged, indigenous households which are predominantly Christian or Hindu in around seven upazilas.
The neo-converts enroll the children in madrasas around the country where they are indoctrinated and converted.
During a police raid on Jan. 1, four non-Muslim children were rescued from the Betchhara locality under Roangchhari upazila, aged between 9-13 years, who were the victims of human trafficking and forced conversion.
The trafficking cases have been investigated for years, the report noted, with Buddhist children targeted as well.
In one major case in January 2010, 33 Buddhist children were rescued from a motel in Bandarban town, while another 16 indigenous children from Habib Residential Hotel were rescued a month later before they could be trafficked to Dhaka.
Aung Cho Mong, president of the Bandarban sadar upazila human rights commission, said if awareness is raised for how such children are trafficked, then parents will be better informed and less willing to hand over their children.
The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization commented on the story, adding: “Indigenous communities in the Chittagong Hill Tracts are often already victims of land-grabbing and displacement. The forced religious conversion of young children adds yet another facet to the already severe marginalization of ethnic and religious minorities in Southeast Bangladesh.”
In 2013, indigenous student activists rescued six Tripura children from Fakirapul Bus Terminal in Dhaka. The six children were part of a batch of 19 children being trafficked from Chimbuk to a Madrasa in Pirojpur. The other 13 children had gotten away from the clutches of the traffickers in Chittagong and raised an alarm, leading to the rescue of the former six aforementioned.
This trend of fishing non-Muslim children of poor families from the water of vulnerable minorities for selling them to crime & conversion racket in Bangladesh are now well exposed through the current police records of recent years.
__input from Dhaka Tribune.