'Are We Afraid of Bangladesh?': Indian Nationalists Slam Modi's 'Inaction' Over Attacks on Hindus

© REUTERS / MOHAMMAD PONIR HOSSAINBangladeshi activists join in a torch procession demanding justice for the violence against Hindu communities during Durga Puja festival in Dhaka, Bangladesh, October 18, 2021
Bangladeshi activists join in a torch procession demanding justice for the violence against Hindu communities during Durga Puja festival in Dhaka, Bangladesh, October 18, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.10.2021
A claim posted on Facebook about the holy Quran being desecrated during the celebration of the Hindu festival of Durga Puja on 13 October sparked massive violence across several districts in Bangladesh. At least 10 Hindus have been killed, around 1,000 have sustained injuries, and women have been raped by Islamist mobs, according to reports.
Prominent Hindu organisations as well as politicians have slammed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government over its “lack of action” in firmly protesting the targeted attacks on members of the Hindu community in Bangladesh.
Leading Hindu organisation Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), an ally of Modi’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), held a massive demonstration at the Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi on Wednesday.

“The Government of Bharat [India] should act tough and exert all appropriate pulls and pressures on the government of [Bangladesh] Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, so that her government would proactively disallow any sort of persecution and discrimination of the indigenous minority Hindus in her country”, VHP Joint General Secretary Dr Surinder Jain said in his address at the Bangladesh High Commission.

Jain said that the Indian government must also send a “fact-finding delegation” of parliamentarians to Bangladesh to investigate the anti-Hindu violence in the country.
Jain, a key VHP representative, also handed over a memorandum at the Bangladesh High Commission, calling upon Prime Minister Hasina to put an end to attacks against Hindus.
Police stand guard next to a vandalised temporary place of worship set up on the occasion of Durga Puja festival in Comilla on October 14, 2021, after hundreds vandalised several Hindu temples across the Muslim-majority country following furore over footage of a Koran being placed on the knee of a figure of the Hindu monkey god Hanuman during a religious festival - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.10.2021
Hindus Celebrating 'Durga Puja' Attacked in Bangladesh Over Quran Desecration Claims
Hindus comprised around nine percent of Bangladesh's population in 2011, according to the latest federal census. Bangladeshi Hindus share a strong cultural affinity with their counterparts in India.
In recent years, major concerns have been expressed in India over the persecution of minority Hindus under the Hasina government in Bangladesh.
In fact, the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) passed by PM Modi's government in 2019 called for fast-tracking citizenship applications from persecuted minorities from Bangladesh, among others.
Virat Hindustan Sangam (VHS), a Hindu nationalist organisation, also held a demonstration at Bangladesh’s Deputy High Commission in Mumbai over the recent spate of attacks in the country.
Subramanian Swamy, a federal lawmaker from the Bharatiya Janata Party, on Wednesday questioned the federal government on Twitter.
He wondered if the prime minister was “afraid of Bangladesh”, as he questioned the lack of protests by the Modi government on the matter.
Suvendu Adhikari, a politician from Modi’s BJP and the opposition leader in the West Bengal state assembly, has asked that the Hindu community in Bangladesh be granted “immediate relief”.
Describing the “escalating communal violence” in Bangladesh as “extremely worrying”, senior Congress politician and former federal Minister Milind Deora has called for the resettlement of minority Hindus from Bangladesh.
Despite rising domestic pressure to take up the attacks on Hindus in Bangladesh with Dhaka, New Delhi has so far refused to publicly condemn its eastern neighbour.

“We note that the government of Bangladesh has reacted promptly to ensure control of the situation, including the deployment of the law-enforcement machinery”, Indian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said on 14 October.

The Indian official also added that New Delhi's diplomats in Dhaka are in close touch with the Bangladeshi authorities.

UN Demands Action, PM Hasina Urges Restraint

The United Nations (UN) has asked the Bangladeshi government to probe the attacks.
"Recent attacks on Hindus in Bangladesh fuelled by hate speech on social media, are against the values of the Constitution and need to stop", said Mia Seppo, the UN resident coordinator in Bangladesh.
On Wednesday, the US State Department also “condemned” the attacks on minorities in the country and asked for them to be “investigated fully”.
Prime Minister Hasina, meanwhile, held a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, asking for strict action against those involved in the anti-Hindu violence in the predominantly Muslim country.

“We must urge people not to react. If someone dishonours the holy Quran, the Quran does not give us the authority to go and vandalise something that belongs to their religion. Even if it is not right, and may be a crime, we must remember that Islam does not give such authority to any Muslim”, Hasina told her Cabinet colleagues, as per a report on the local website Bdnews24.com.

The Bangladeshi authorities have reportedly arrested at least 450 people and lodged around 71 cases in connection with the attacks.
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