Hindu Vivek Kendra
«« Back
Talibangla Republic

Talibangla Republic

Author: Editorial
Publication: The Times of India
Date: May 28, 2002
URL: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow.asp?art_id=11206399

For a country that won its political spurs by renouncing religion as the basis of nationhood, Bangladesh has come full circle. Nearly. Proudly secular at birth, the Bangla polity, under Begum Khaleda Zia, is headed inexorably towards a theocracy. Succumbing to pressures from the Jamaat-e-Islami - a key coalition partner in her government - Begum Zia has embarked on a dangerous course of 'Islamisation'. Having already changed the constitution by replacing the principle of secularism with the "sovereignty of Allah", the government is now contemplating the imposition of strict sharia laws. It recently announced a ban - since revoked - on a number of satellite and pay channels on TV on the ground that they propagate "anti-Islamic" values. The role of the Jamaat in Talibanising Bangladesh is doubly ironic. One, because it was historically opposed to the creation of Bangladesh. And two, because its ideological influence is wholly disproportionate to its political standing. This is of a piece with a general subcontinental trend where ideological extremism, while not being politically powerful, is increasingly setting the terms of public discourse. Of immediate concern in the present context, however, is the terrible impact that this is having on the lives of Bangla minorities.

International human rights groups have extensively documented the rising tide of anti-minority violence in Bangladesh, ranging from rape and killings to desecration and destruction of places of worship. Last December, an Amnesty report pointed to the large- scale involvement of cadres, both from the Jamaat and Begum Zia's own Bangla National Party, in the perpetration of these hate crimes. Among the targeted minorities are not just Hindus but also Christians and Buddhists. This deserves condemnation in the strongest possible language. No religion or political ideology in the modern world can justify the denial of certain minimum rights to minorities. Among them, the right to life, property, equality and religious belief. The persecution of Hindus in Bangladesh is thus not an argument, as many from the sangh parivar have suggested, for the persecution of Muslims in this country. Equally, those in this country who routinely accuse human rights groups of a pro- minority bias should note that the same groups are as solicitous about the fate of minorities elsewhere. Finally, in today's globalised world, national sovereignty can no longer be regarded as inviolable. As in the case of Modi's Gujarat, therefore, the global community must do all it can to reverse Begum Zia's retrograde agenda.

Back                          Top

«« Back
  Search Articles
  Special Annoucements