American activist visits Barak Valley
From our Staff Reporter
SILCHAR, Feb 21: With a firm determination to highlight the pathetic
plight of the displaced Bengali Hindus in the international arena, Dr
Richard L Benkin, founder of Forcefield of Interfaith Strength, a
Washington-based human rights organization along with Sydney-based human
rights activist Miriam Jones visited Silchar and border district
Karimganj to have a first hand account of the Bengali Hindus who had
been compelled to leave Bangladesh by the Islamic fundamentalist. Dr
Benkin and Jones visited Dohalia, a village in Karimganj bordering
Bangladesh on Saturday. However, their mission could not be termed as
successful, as a local companion said that none of the displaced Hindus
want to admit that they had actually shifted from Bangladesh fearing
that this might hamper their chance of getting Indian citizenship.
However, Dr Benkin found a Hindu Bengali in Karimganj who had shifted to
India four years back.
Later talking to The Sentinel over telephone from Karimganj, Dr
Benkin, who had been working on the displaced Bengali Hindus, said, it
was a pity that the international media and human right organizations
were completely in the dark about the hardship these Bengali Hindus had
been going through for decades.
Dr Benkin had, for several years, been travelling around West Bengal
in an effort to gather evidence about the plight of Bangladeshi Hindus
and to bring that evidence to human rights supporters in the United
States Congress and Senate. Benkin said, subsequently he came to know
about Assam where the State Government had began issuing orders of
eviction to many of these Hindus, all victims of Islamic atrocities. Dr
Benkin was surprised to note that the Assam Government had not issued
any such orders to the growing number of Muslims in the State. Benkin
maintained that these infiltrators were attempting to replicate the
demographic shift in Assam as in West Bengal.
At this juncture, Benkin came into contact with Protection Forum for
Bengali Hindus of Assam which held a seminar on December 4, 2010 in
Guwahati to formulate a resolution asking the State to provide
citizenship to the displaced Hindus. Eeresh Bhattacharjee of the Forum
told The Sentinel from Guwahati that Dr Benkin had assured them that he
would mould public opinion in the US for the displaced Bengali Hindus
otherwise India’s bid to attain permanent chair in the UN Security
Council would be challenged.
Dr Rajdip Roy, son of former MLA late Bimalangshu Roy, met Benkin on
Sunday and apprised him about the plight of the displaced Bengali
Hindus. Benkin, who left for Kolkata on Sunday en route to Dhaka, said
he would come back to Barak Valley within a year to assess the
situation. He would then submit a report on the displaced Bengali Hindus
to the UN.