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Suchismita Dutta | HENB | Kolkata | march 26, 2021:: Fifty years after the gruesome massacre of the Bengali Hindus by the Pakistan Army and the Bangladeshi Razakars during the Bangladesh Liberation War, the events were commemorated for the first time in West Bengal as 1971 Bengali Hindu Genocide+. At a press conference organized by Paschimbanger Janya (literally meaning ‘In The Interest Of West Bengal’) at the prestigious Kolkata Press Club, the organization’s president Dr. Mohit Ray affirmed that the massacre of Bengali Hindus during the 1971 war constituted a genocide under the United Nations Genocide Convention of 1948. He was seconded by none other than Prof. Tathagata Roy, former Governor of Tripura and Meghalaya and author of many books on persecution of Bengali Hindus in East Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Dr. Mohit Ray began with a brief introduction of Paschimbanger Janya, an organization he founded to promote the Bengali Hindu narrative as the counter culture against the quasi-Islamist political culture promulgated by the Left Front and assiduously pursued by Trinamool Congress. He dwelt on how the eminent Bangladeshi free thinker and writer Taslima Nasrin was exiled from West Bengal on one fine morning in the autumn of 2007 to please a pack of Islamists and since then only Shariat-compliant literatures are allowed to be published from West Bengal. Dr. Ray then read out messages from Prof. Achintya Biswas and Bimal Pramanik, both of whom couldn’t make it owing to health reasons. He then introduced Premtosh Dutta Chowdhury of Sylhet who had fought as a freedom fighter in the Bangladesh Liberation War, but was later forced to leave his country because he was Bengali Hindu.
Dr. Mohit Ray went on to narrate that Bengali Hindus were targeted for elimination through massacre and ethnic cleansing by the Pakistani military regime as the ‘final solution’ for the East Pakistan, where the naive Muslims were being Hinduized by the Bengali Hindu presence. That 90% of the deaths and refugees were Bengali Hindus are a testimony to that, Dr. Ray said. He called for a recognition of the event as ‘Bengali Hindu Genocide’ at the global level and a ban on all official activities of Pakistan in West Bengal, till they acknowledge their complicity in genocide. He also called for the construction of a genocide museum.
See the Press Note in Slide Share: https://www.slideshare.net/upanandabrahmachari/1971-bengali-hindu-genocide-in-east-pakistan-by-islamist-razakars . https://www.slideshare.net/upanandabrahmachari/slideshelf
Prof. Tathagatha Roy suprised everyone when he began his speech addressing the audience as Bengali Hindus. He stressed on the documentation of the Bengali Hindu Genocide and Bengali Hindu history in general. He quoted U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower to put forward his apprehension that if the genocide is not documented, the ideological descendants of the perpetrators and bystanders would deny that the genocide ever took place. He went on to narrate a few graphic incidents of the train massacres of 1950, emphasizing that the genocide of 1971 didn’t happen all of a sudden. He shared his experience as of the very writers who have written on this topic and hoped that some day some professional historian would come forward to document it.
The last speaker at the event was Khagendra Nath Mandal, who too fought for Bangladesh in the 1971 Liberation War, but later had to immigrate to India as refugee. He narrated some of the tragic events of the 1971 massacres. Dr. Mohit Ray concluded the event with a call for commemorating the Bengal Hindu Genocide on 27th March every year, as it was on this very day that the Ramna Kali temple was destroyed by the Pakistan Army and 200-300 devotees massacred. The press conference were attended by a slew of press photographers, who were handed a press note. Around sixty people including press representatives had turned up the Kolkata Press Club for the event. Dozens were waiting outside and denied entry by the security personnel owing to pandemic situation.
Read also: Remembering 1971 Genocide.
Courtesy: Paschimbanger Janya/Wikipedia/The Hindu/Indian Express.