Source: News Bharati English23 Nov 2016 15:20:18

Dhaka, Nov 23: India’s eastern neighbour Bangladesh will become a country with zero Hindu population from now if the current rate of ‘exodus’ of Hindus continues, warns a Dhaka University Professor.

Professor Ajoy Roy said that 774 Hindus from Bangladesh left the country every day from 2001 to 2012 and if this is allowed to continue then after three decades there will be no Hindu in India’s eastern neighbour, he warned.

In Bangladesh, Hindus constitute roughly 8.2 percent of the total population.

Prof Roy said that the rate of exodus in the past 49 years points to this direction. Roy authored a book titled “Political Economy of Reforming Agriculture-Land-Water Bodies in Bangladesh”.

‘Dhaka Tribune’ quoted eminent economist and researcher Dr Abul Barkat supporting Prof Ajoy Roy on this issue. He was addressing the book launching ceremony at Senate Bhaban of Dhaka University.

From 1964 to 2013, around 11.3 million Hindus left Bangladesh due to religious persecution and discrimination, he said. It means on an average 632 Hindus left the country each day and 230,612 annually.

From his 30-year-long research, Barkat found that the exodus mostly took place during military governments after independence.

Before the Liberation War, the daily rate of migration was 705 while it was 512 during 1971-1981 and 438 during 1981-1991. The number increased to 767 persons each day during 1991-2001 while around 774 persons left the country during 2001-2012, the book says.

DU teacher Prof Ajoy Roy said the government grabbed the properties of the Hindus during the Pakistan regime describing them as enemy property and the same properties were taken by the government after independence as vested property.

According to the book, these two measures made 60% of the Hindus landless.

Roy came to the conclusion after closely following the immigration data and patterns of the country for the last 30 years. 

Exodus patterns

In his three-decade-long research, Roy found that most of the families left the country during military governments. One of the key reasons for the Hindus to leave the country was due to rampant land-grab during Pakistan's rule before 1971. 

When Pakistan was ruling Bangladesh, authorities took away the land of the Hindus by describing them as enemy property, Roy said, leaving 60 per cent of Bangladeshi Hindus landless.

Retired Justice Kazi Ebadul Haque said the minorities and the poor were deprived of their land rights. For example, when a shoal rises in a river the local leaders register them in the name of poor people, but the same leaders file a case and take the land under the possessions showing the court’s stay order.

The deprived people remain deprived, he said, adding that the land management system should be reformed.

Dhaka University Prof Farid Uddin Ahmed said that the government has to ensure that the indigenous people would not be affected or harmed. “The government must ensure that the people do not think about leaving the country for once.”

No accurate estimation of indigenous people

Discussing on a separate book titled “Political Economy of Unpeopling of Indigenous People: The case of Bangladesh” published yesterday, former NHRC chairman Prof Mizanur Rahman said that there was no accurate estimation of the indigenous peoples living in the country.

He mentioned that at least 22 indigenous groups had disappeared from the country.

Prof Mizanur also urged Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma alias Santu Larma to inform the indigenous peoples of the Chittagong Hill Tracts about the 1997 Peace Accord.

In his speech, Bangladesh Adivasi Forum President Santu Larma agreed that the implementation of the Peace Accord was not the only solution to the crises in the CHT region.

He added that the current stance of the ruling party would not solve the disputes through different reform programs rather they want to hinder the process. “We need a people-oriented government. But the reality of state mechanism does not allow this to happen.”

Santu Larma, also chairman of the CHT Regional Council, claimed that over 50 indigenous groups were on the verge of extinction, but they want to live with dignity with the remaining indigenous groups.

Prof Mizanur said although the prime minister had taken a stance in favour of the indigenous peoples, the ruling party leaders were involved in heinous activities against them.

Addressing the programme as chief guest, Civil Aviation Minister Rashed Khan Menon urged rights activists to stand by the side of the indigenous peoples.