Enemy Property Act turned Vested Property Act
The Catastrophe for Hindus in Bangladesh
By
R. P. Sharma & Sitangshu Guha
June, 2006

  Background

 Upon a 190-year British colonial rule, the proposition of independence in early 40s of the Indian sub-continent based on 2-nation theory was the blander most to make this land ever vulnerable of communal incidents between people of two religions namely the Hindus and the Muslims. Soon after the proposal, popularly known as the ‘Lahore Declaration', made in public in 1940 at Lahore, the communal tensions got momentum in the whole undivided India resulting several riots that killed thousands and made several others rootless of the either side. The most devastating two in the then undivided Bengal were in 1941 in Calcutta and in 1946 in Calcutta , Dacca & Noakhali. Easy to understand that these were pre-planned as to make the 2-national theory valid telling that the two communities became most intolerant to each other, even they open began bloody fighting between them. These gave the then so-called great leaders most footings claiming the division of India based on religion. Ultimately the division took place in August 1947 with a fashion of unique & peculiar instance in the world history till date that a newly named country of `Pakistan' with its two parts differing each 1200 miles from the other at two opposite sides of the country with its original name of `India'. Despite the fact that religious commonality cannot be the essential engine for building a country or a nation, the so-called 2-nation theory obviously depicts that India was meant for ‘Hindus' and Pakistan was meant for ‘Muslims'. However, there was presence of other religious populations who seemed to be ignored due to the dominancy of these two mighty communities.

According to the principle once the division was sharpen, and decision of migration of Hindus from Pakistan to India and the vice-a-versa by virtue of 2-nation theory was certain. There was around 43 million population in the then East Bengal turned East Pakistan which is the present Bangladesh on the day of division of India in mid of August 1947, of whom around 28% were counted as to around 15 million Hindus. However, the Hindus were rich in all respects here in possessing & controlling the economy & wealth, educational & cultural advancement and socially & politically. Having had political debacle, they were psychologically weaken and at the same time were threatened by the majority by virtue of the political decision to leave their (the Hindus) homes of thousands of years and relations rooted to the deepest of their birth land. As a result millions migrated to India . Also other millions were left in the then East Pakistan , however, with full of uncertainty and under continuous threat of life, prestige, properties, wealth and what not, only just because of great affection to the home of their own. On such natural home sick, they had to pay the highest at numerous times as in 1948, 1952, 1962 and 1964 while the majority jumped on them cracking everything each time. Hindus' only wrong is why they love their homeland and why they do not leave that forever. Yes, the majority – the Muslim community was success at all the times to kill & conquer the lives of innocent minorities, their properties, wealth and women. Cruelty does not know any mercy that the majority possesses the only characteristic helps bringing lucrative output as a result of 2-nation theory! This the independence of Indian sub-continent brought to the fate of minorities of this part of the world.

However, complete evacuation of a certain community or certain religion from a certain part of the world is impossible unless all of them are killed or committed suicide or converted to other religion in any way. This has become crudely true for the Hindus of the then East Pakistan and present Bangladesh . The out-migration of Hindus from the then East Pakistan declined the Hindu population from 28% to 15% of the total population in mid ‘60s. The process of out migration of Hindus continued even after the independence of Bangladesh and still it's a no-stopped process. The table below depicts the census reports from 1941 to 2001 available at the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics how the Hindu population declined here over the years.

Census Year

Hindu Population (in %)

1941

28.0

1951

22.0

1961

18.5

1974

13.5

1981

12.1

1991

10.5

2001

9.2

Further, it is observed, upon October 2001 election, the rate of out-migration of Hindus has decreased notably due to the all out atrocities by the islamist-oriented elements under the direct shelter of the present islamist-oriented government in Bangladesh . Few individual levels of research and analytical reports say, at present the Hindu population here has further declined much below than 9 percent.

This huge migration of a community with longitudinal prosperous heritage, strong socio-economical and cultural background created multidimensional problems in the then East Pakistan . Out of those, economy and properties became the most vulnerable since it was easier for ‘human' to move, but the not that easier at all to take away properties, specially the immovable properties, i.e. the lands, the houses, the shops, the temples, place of cremation etc with the Hindus while they out-migrated from East Pakistan to India. Even it was impossible to sell out those overnight due to the reasons of their hurriedness to migrate and non-presence of capable buyers in the then East Pakistan. Also it was not much possible to exchange those properties between the migrated Hindus and Muslims from either part due the reasons of inequality migrations, i.e. Hindu out-migrants from East Pakistan to India were much higher than Muslim in-migrants from India to East Pakistan, and also matching of properties, understanding and transfer process took long time between such parties, if found to exchange mutually. As a result the migrated Hindus had to leave most of their immovable properties in the custody of their relatives, sometimes with proper registration process and sometime without any registration.

These immovable properties left behind by the migrated Hindus came to scene as crude problem later on for the remaining Hindus in the then East Pakistan and present Bangladesh that this article has an impetus to depict.

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