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Citizenship Amendment Act will not help us: Bangladesh Hindu leader – Mrit News

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Leading Hindu figure in Bangladesh seeks minority affairs ministry.

Leading Hindu figure in Bangladesh seeks minority affairs ministry.

A leading member of the Hindu community of Bangladesh has said that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) of India will not help them deal with the challenges ahead. Interacting with a visiting team of Indian journalists on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, Monindra Kumar Nath, President, Mohanagar Sarbojoneen Puja Committee said that the community’s real aim is to have a minority affairs ministry and a special permanent commission for the minority religious communities. 

“We do not welcome this special law from India. Such laws are not helpful. We do have certain problems like many others but we are from Bangladesh and we will remain here. No one wants to leave his or her motherland and take refuge in a neighbouring country. People leave their roots only in extremely unfortunate circumstances and there is no certainty for their future in such situations. We will deal with whatever challenges we have by mobilising our community in a coordinated manner within our country,” said M. Nath who is also the Joint General Secretary of the Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council. 

The Sheikh Hasina government faced a major challenge last year when a communal disturbance broke out in Brahmanbaria and Comilla in the eastern part of the party and spread quickly to Chittagong. The phase witnessed mob attacks on the Durga puja pandals. But Mr. Nath said that the number of Durga puja celebrations in the country has in fact nearly doubled during the last 12 years, from 10-15,000 to 30,000. The Mahanagar Sarbojoneen Puja Committee is the central religious body of the Hindu community in Bangladesh as it grants permission to community members to hold Durga puja celebrations across the country.

Mr. Deb acknowledged that the Sheikh Hasina government has been proactive in dealing with majoritarian tendencies, though some sporadic incidents of intimidation of the minority Hindu community is reported from time to time. He said that over the years, representation of the community has also increased in Bangladesh. “We have increased representation in the bureaucracy and in the law and order machinery. But we need to have a minority affairs minister and that is what we are campaigning for. That apart, there should also be a minority affairs commission that will ensure rights of the minority groups in the country,” said Mr. Nath. 

India enacted the Citizenship Amendment Act in 2019, though the Government is yet to frame the rules of the Act. The law is aimed at granting citizenship to the persecuted members of the Hindu, Buddhist, Parsi, Christian, Sikh and Jain communities of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

Mr. Nath said that the Sheikh Hasina government has reached out to the minority communities and has helped the historic Dhakeshwari temple of Dhaka in regaining the property that it had lost earlier. Bangladesh is also building a Buddhist pilgrimage centre in Lumbini, Nepal, which will cater to the Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government has a Ministry of Religious Affairs. The Ministry looks after the issues involving all mosques, temples, churches, pagodas and Gurdwaras in Bangladesh. Mr. Nath argued that the issue of a separate ministry will be part of the agenda of the minority communities as the country gets into election mode for next year.. 

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