Interview/Dr Richard Benkin : Hindu population dwindling in Bangladesh

Interview/Dr Richard Benkin : Hindu population dwindling in Bangladesh

World renowned Human rights activist, professor and academic
Dr Richard L Benkin, while on a visit to Kerala spoke to Organiser Correspondent Arun Lakshman on a variety of issues relating to the Ethnic cleansing of Hindus in Bangladesh. Excerpts from the interview

Hindu population of Bangladesh is diminishing fast. What is the real cause in your opinion?
Hindus in Bangladesh are of course dwindling in size and if protective measures are not taken with an immediate nature, there are possibilities of the Hindus being totally cleansed in that country. I am doing studies at a miniscule level on this issue wherein the population of Hindus is reducing at an alarming rate from 35 per cent in 1947, to 20 per cent during 1971 and to 7 per cent  in 2016. The Hindu population is on a great fall. This is leading to the total cleansing of the Hindus in this country which has to be opposed tooth and nail and there has to be international pressure on this matter. The intolerance of the Muslims is the major reason for the dwindling Hindu population of Bangladesh.

Hindus should form a self defense force in Bangladesh : Dr Richard Benkin

Dr Richard Benkin, noted academic and human rights activist from the USA has said that the Hindus of Bangladesh should form a self defense force among themselves under the law of that land to save themselves from being extinct. Dr Benkin was speaking at a function organised by the Fraternity of Trivandrum professionals and Swadeshi Jagaran Manch here at Thiruvananthapuram
Dr Benkin further said that the Hindu population is fast dwindling in Bangladesh. The learned scholar attributed this dwindling of size to the atrocities it faced from the radical Islamic elements of that country. He said that the Hindus will soon be ethnically cleansed in Bangladesh if the international community including India does not act with immediate effect. He said that he would be reporting to the US state department on the ethnic violence faced by the Hindus of Bangladesh and said that he has already sounded the Indian Prime Minister on the same.
He also said that Bangladesh is turning into a haven of Islamic radicals and the action taken by Sheikh Hasina against the Jamat Leaders has not much effect as all those who are given capital punishment are old while the young generation is equally or more dangerous in radicalising the country and attacking the minority Hindus. Swadeshi Jagaran  Manch state convenor Ranjith Karthikeyan  welcomed the gathering and H Ramakrishnan of Fraternity of Trivandrum professionals  proposed a vote of thanks .
Another programme was held at Kozhikode under the auspicious of the Bhratheeya Vichara Kendram on March 10, 2018. Dr Benkin spoke at length in the programme on the above mentioned subject. Prof KP Somarajan, President of Bharatheeya Vichara Kendram, Kozhikode unit, presided over the function  in which Bharatheeya Vichara Kendram Kozhikode unit  secretary VG Mohankumar and treasurer MN Sudenraj spoke.    n

Bangladesh is a democracy with Awami League and Bangladesh National Party ruling the country regularly. Even during this democratic rule, how can you feel that Hindus are being victimised?
It can be said to be a democracy but not in the term attributed to democracy. People may think that Begum Khalida Zia of the Bangladesh National Party is more dangerous to Hindus but in reality Sheikh Hasina is also a trouble maker to Hindus as both these leaders look the other way when Hindus are systematically attacked and raped and killed.

Can you attribute some of the incidents of attack against Hindus in Bangladesh?
The Hindus of Bangladesh are living in constant fear of being attacked any time by the majority Muslims of the neighborhood and this is exactly what is happening there for the past several years. The Hindu temples are being regularly desecrated and under aged Hindu girls are being raped and killed and Hindu children are also being attacked and killed. The Hindus’ business establishments are forced to pay money to these people and there are several instances of Hindu families being forcefully made to vacate the land. Their properties are being grabbed by powerful Muslims with the law enforcement agencies turning a blind eye towards these atrocities. This has created a fear psychosis among the minority Hindu community and they are coming in large numbers to India but sadly this is not news for International media as those who are subjected to these atrocities and crimes are poor Hindus.

Please give us some incidents which have taken place against the Hindus in Bangladesh.
A 14-year-old Hindu girl Subarna Karmarkar was abducted by a group of Muslim youths while she was returning home from her school in Kalapara in the state of Barisal. The leader of this gang of Muslims who abducted her was Jewel, a 22-year-old Islamist.They kidnapped her and fled on their bikes and when she cried for help, no one came to her rescue. Her father went to the police station but was said that no kidnapping had occurred and that there was no evidence. Subarna is missing to this day. Another 14-year-old girl named Tanasree Roy was kidnapped from her home in Mohadipur in Barisal by two Muslims, Zikrul Islam (24) and Mohd Razzak Ali (22). Her father Rajendra Nath Roy said that the girl was kidnapped from their house at around 10 am and filed a complaint at Kotwali police station. Even though witnesses identified the perpetuars of the violence police did not take any action. Her father said that they were constatnly under threat from the abductors. She is still missing. There are several thousands of such cases coming out from Bangladesh.

What do you feel is the role of the civic society to stop this violence?
The Civic society of the European and American and Indian governments has to intervene in this. I have already sounded to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on this and the US State Department is properly aware of what is happening there. This will lead to putting pressure on the government of Bangladesh to enforce stricter laws on the atrocities against Hindus. More than that I feel that the Hindus of Bangladesh should resort to self defence under the purview of the law of that country which would give lot of self confidence to the Hindu community of Bangladesh.

 Are there any Hindu organisations in Bangladesh that  look after  the Hindus who are suffering from these atrocities?
Of course there are several organisations in Bangladesh who are working for the welfare of Hindus and supporting them in times of crisis. However, I must say that the Bangladesh Minority Watch led by the mercurial Rabindra Ghosh is the one Hindu organisation which has stood up against the atrocities meted out to the Hindus in a big way and my coming into contact with him has led to the exposure of this issue internationally. He can be called as a saint  devoted to the cause of the suffering Hindus of Bangladesh with the whole life dedicated to this matter and solving most of the issues which are coming before him.

Can you site some examples wherein you have seen or interfered?
Myself and Rabindra Ghosh had been to the police station to aid and support a Hindu family whose land was forciblily grabbed by the Muslims. The policemen looked the otherway round and was clearly hand in glove with the land grabbers and when we forced them that we would complain to the courts and the international community will come to know, they had to relent and action was taken. Tragically, indeed when the Hindu girls are abducted and raped, most of them are not welcomed back in the traditional village Hindu families that leads to a double edged support to the Muslims as these girls totally ostracised even from family end up as the second or third wife of the abductor. The children born to these hapless girls are striclty grown under Islamic beliefs thus leading to a state of horror for them. Of course now things are changing and Hindu families are more poised and accepting the realities.

Were there desecrection of temples in Bangladesh?
Yes, the descrection of temples is a major issue in Bangladesh and for that matter all Muslim dominated places wherein they never allow other faiths to coexist. For example, near Sudrapur a Shiva Mandir was attacked and its idols were broken by a mass of Muslim fanatics supported by the then ruling Awami League cadres. It  may be noted that the Police station was only 18 metres away from the temple and still the police looked the other way. When contacted the local police station in charge Tafazal Hussain, he declared “The temple is intact, only a few idols are destroyed!” This  is the attitude of Bangladeshi police to an attack on Hindu temple. This is only an example and I can point out hundreds of thousands of such incidents of desecreation of temples by the Islamists of Bangladesh to frighten and malign the minority Hindu community.

Bangaldesh is going for elections in around seven to eight months time. What do you feel will be the situation around that time vis a vis Hindus ?
Elections are historically the period in Bangladesh when the Hindus are systemetically targetted and attacked. The world community should arise and information on these attacks should be splashed across the globe so that the perpetuators of violence does not have the will and guts to attack the Hindus during election time as historically happening. More than that the Indian government can also put some pressure on the Bangladeshi administration on the possibilities of violence and bloodshed against the Hindus during election time. According to me, prevention is better than cure and the world Hindu community should act now so that there is no killing and maiming of innocent Hindus in Bangladesh by organised gangs aided and abetted by the Islamist groups of that country. There has to be a wake up call to prevent such attacks and there is no point in lamenting on the plight of the Hindus once such a murderous attack takes place.

We have travelled from Thiruvananthapuram to Kozhikode by road in Kerala, whats your feel on the state?
Kerala is lush green and beautiful and can indeed be considered as a beautiful place with natural beauty. However while driving across the state, I found that the Keralites are unnecessarily  worshipping leaders like Stalin, Lenin and Cheguvera  and they are all over the state in bill boards. They don’t get such reverence anywhere across the globe and theirs is a failed ideology. This I found a bit embrassing for a society  to adore people who have no forebearing on this country. You should adore and worship your own hearoes and heroines which are aplenty in this great country. This, I found, is  one reason that the communists of Kerala could not connect with other groups and people. Here people are in their imaginary world without seeing the real world and the developments which are taking place outside.  

Sunday, March 25, 2018
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