A momentous event took place in the UK parliament, with a discussion of human rights violations of minority communities in Bangladesh, in the presence of a large audience and the attendance of many MPs. One anonymous rape victim was also present, listening in silent awe to the vehement denunciation of her tragic fate and that of many others in Bangladesh.
It was revealed that:
- There was widespread and seriously under-reported atrocities in Bangladesh against minorities belonging to Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian faiths and those of none.
- The most heartrending were the stories of countless rapes, many of them gang rapes and also involving minors, by Muslim Jihadis, with the active collusion of the authorities, since prosecutions are rare.
- Endless desecration of religious places, destruction of idols, because they apparently offend Muslim sensibilities against the so called idolatry. Again, redress is rare.
- Systematic ethnic cleansing in order to seize the property of refugees, who are fleeing in a constant flow to India. The beneficiaries are apparently officials and supporters of both the Islamist BNP and the Awami League.
- Legalized discrimination in jobs and public appointments and the total absence of institutional mechanism of the kind that exist in most countries to monitor treatment of minorities and ensure fair play.
- Worsening of the situation in recent years for the minorities with an epidemic of savage killings of priests, secular bloggers and anyone questioning the behavior of the Islamists backed by foreign powers, especially Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
- Pakistan views such atrocities as a means for empowering its supporters in Bangladesh and curbing any Indian influence in the country.
The British MPs have agreed to urge the UK government, a major donor of economic aid to Bangladesh to do the following:
- Monitor the situation across Bangladesh to create an official database, as a prelude to action in individual cases.
- Allocate funds from the UK aid budget for training of the police and judiciary in dealing with atrocities against minorities
- Expedite prosecution and provide security for minorities within their communities
- Allocate funding from the official aid budget to enable victims of hate crimes to resort to legal action in order to seek justice.
Here is the report prepared by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for British Hindus on the persecution of minorities in Bangladesh: Bangladesh Minorities in British Parliament
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Dr. Gautam Sen taught international political economy at the London School of Economics and Political Science for over two decades.