Sanatani Bengalis Must No Longer Be Islamist Blood sport

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By Saurav Dutt, Author & Political Analyst.

Today a protest in London’s Trafalgar Square mirrors a similar effort across major cities around the world to support the Sanatani Bengalis, many of whom have been brutalised, victimised and had their temples, homes, businesses and shops damaged, looted, and ransacked at the hands of radical Islamist groups in Bangladesh.

But other than the condemnation of Hindu Bengalis, Hindus, and some leading US spokespersons around the world, the Western Media has fallen in step with much of its pervasive narrative, a prevalent orthodoxy which makes clear that Hindu lives matter less than others. They remain untroubled by the attack of temples countrywide in Bangladesh-which is ongoing-instead passing it off as a disproportionate cry of condemnation of Hindu ‘nationalists’ who are far too willing to cry tears over perceived slights and ‘thin-skinned’ prevarications.

How did this particularly shameful episode begin? And that too over the most important time of religious patronage for a Bengali Hindu, that of Durga Puja?

Bangladeshi brothers and sisters who are facing an onslaught of violence, rape, arson and destruction of their livelihood at the hands of extremists fell afoul of the designs of the Bangladeshi Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jamaat-e-Islami.

According to reliable sources, at least 1500 Hindus homes have been burnt, 315 Hindu temples have been vandalized and destroyed, more than 10 Hindus brutally murdered, 23 Hindu women and girls raped, hundreds have been critically injured, and hundreds of Hindu businesses and shops burned and ransacked. It began with the planting of the copy of the Quran at the feet of Ganesh in the Durga pantheon at Nanuyan Dighir Par Temple on the night of October 12 after which pictures on social media spread rapidly with many Durga Puja pavilions and Hindu temples and homes across Bangladesh then being attacked and vandalised, including an ISKCON centre in Noakhali, and several people killed in violence that erupted over alleged blasphemy at a marquee in Comilla

It’s not the first time this has happened in Bangladesh, and Bengali Hindus were also subject to Islamist hatred in March of this year where over 80 houses of Hindus in the village of Sunamganj, were attacked and vandalised by supporters of Islamist group Hefazat-e-Islam.

What the Western media, and their Indian lickspittles around the world, have failed to appreciate or conveniently ignore (take your pick) is that Bangladesh is no stranger to such racial riots during the annual Durga Puja festival; only this time the hooliganism seems particularly virulent. Lest we forget the gravity of the hatred and violence, hooligans armed with metal bars, bamboo and batons have been vandalising and desecrating temples and makeshift Durga Puja sites around Bangladesh, throwing in arson and looting into the mix as the Islamist goons continue to torch thousands of homes of the Hindu community. It’s a human rights violation of an incredible order and other than words of condemnation from Bangladeshi Hindu organisations, and Hindu news outlets like Republic Bharat, there’s been a distinct silence in the air even though targeting religious sensitivities to stoke communal tension in not new to the region.

Hindus of Bengal had witnessed the infamous 1946 Noakhali Riot and Kolkata Killings as a prelude to the bloody partition at the behest of Islamists. In 1964 a sectarian violence erupted in Bangladesh on the alleged theft of hair of Muslim’s most revered prophet Muhammad in Kashmir, India and of course we cannot forget the genocidal campaign in 1971 by Pakistan military forces.

Bangladesh has been remarkably slow in dealing with protecting its Hindu minority even though there is abundant video evidence of panic-stricken Hindu women, girls and children protesting at the damage being inflicted by hooligans.

Even though these incidents are intermittent they occur every year around the time of Durga Puja with depressing regularity and human rights groups and media in the West either pause for a moment to ponder why their conceited vision of secularism and pluralism isn’t going to plan, or-like in the United Kingdom-they remain silent altogether even though there are Hindus in the current ruling government and numerous Bangladeshi MP’s who feel it is only incumbent upon them to comment on the country of their heritage when it is convenient to do so.

These MPs, these Western media outlets, these commentators, these pseudo intellectuals, pseudo secularists, and airhead celebrities, continue to lecture India and Hindus about how best to maintain, propagate, and instil their culture and heritage whenever they like, saving their outrage for any Hindu who does not conform to their narrative, yet is unable to lift a finger (on social media or elsewhere) to express their horror at what is unfolding in a country that is fast becoming an Islamist terror cell in the region.

Meanwhile, like in Trafalgar Square today, at the Bangladeshi High Commission in London yesterday, Bangladesh’s minority organisations and civil society members continue to protest the week-long violence, demanding strong action from the government against the hooligans. Yesterday, several thousand people from different religions attended a six-hour sit-in demonstration at Shahbag in Dhaka after the Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council, an umbrella of religious minorities requested so. Twenty-two organisations, prominent civil society members and some public representatives were also there, all of whom were demanding government action to ensure protection of the religious minorities in Bangladesh. This mirrors the programmes taking place in other parts of the country and the world.

How many more Durga Pujas will have to be ruined? And will the world understand that Bengalis suffering around the world do not only encompass Bangladeshis, but Hindu Bengalis who have been victimised ever since the creation of Bangladesh? Who will speak for them?

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