News desk , London: An event was hosted by SBM UK (Secular Bangladesh Movement) for a visiting delegation from Bangladesh on 5 August in a venue in Hainault, London.
Invited guests were Correspondent for Reporters without Borders, Saleem Samad, Prothom Alo columnist Mohiuddin Ahmed and Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat’s External Affairs Director Ahmad Tabshir Choudhury.
Pushpita Gupta, President of SBM UK initiated a discussion on the state of minorities in Bangladesh. Guest Saleem Samad said journalist Shahriar Kabir has documented the persecution of minority community in several volumes and produced documentary films on the reign of terror unleashed by the BNP henchmen and its alliance of Islamist parties.
Similarly, the government after a judicial inquiry into the violence during post 1 October elections has also published volumes of narratives of persecution against mostly Hindus and Awami League’s local leaders and voters.
He mentioned of Afsan Chowdhury, a liberation war historian and an academic explained lack of socio-economic opportunities, low-intensity hostility at all socio-economic levels including the state, and greater opportunities across the border are the push-pull factors which have led to Hindus crossing through the porous border every day.
The researcher further stated that the Hindus are passing through a disaster situation as their life, property, and peace have all been made to feel insecure by the lack of security, and existing state policies and public action, which are forcing them to escape to another land, another society.
Journalist Mohiuddin Ahmad, said that the first census 1974 of independent Bangladesh registered the population of Hindus to be 13.5% of the total population. This proportion dropped down to 12.1% in 1981 and 10.5% in 1991, while the proportion of Buddhists and Christians remained stable. The population of Hindus was 11.88 million. Despite the population growth, the present Hindu population stands at around 12 million.
If the normal increase rate prevailed, the number of the Hindu community in Bangladesh would have been 32.5 million, but the Hindu population in Bangladesh stood at 12.5 million in the 1991 census. Therefore, the missing population is 20 million or more by now.
Amongst others who attended the gathering were SBM’s advisor were Nooruddin Ahmed, Rita Dey, Shoma Chowdhury, Mitaly Dhar, Shumon Das, Atish Saha, Gianandra Gupta, Laura Brooks, Patrick Hart and Elizabeth Joseph.