Hindus in Bangladesh
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8.4% in 2011; 10.7% in 2017
Hindu population in Bangladesh rose by 2% [points] in 2017: Swaraj in RS
Countering perception that the population of Hindus in Bangladesh was declining, the government quoted official records of that country to state that it has instead risen by 2% [points] in 2017. Responding to questions in the Rajya Sabha, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj also said the government has from time to time raised the issue of the plight of minorities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and other countries at the bilateral level. As per statistics of the Bangladesh Bureau, in 2011, there were 8.4% Hindus in the country, which has risen to 10.7% in 2017.
2016: Uncertainty takes over
The Times of India, Jun 16 2016
Migration fears as Bangla zealots go after Hindus
With Bangladesh caught in a spiral of violence against religious minorities, its dwindling Hindu population is again talking migration. “I don't know if it's IS decapitating Hindus, but this persecution isn't the same as before,“ Kajal Debnath, head of the Bangladesh Hindu, Buddhist, Christian Unity Council, told TOI from Dhaka.
“Earlier, they raped, torched temples and houses, forcing Hindus to flee. It was about grabbing Hindu land and property .Now, they are slaughtering landless Hindus. The message is different,“ he adds.
A fresh wave of Hindu migration will start quietly , he says. This time, the journey to an Indian passport will be easier following the Modi government's decision to amend laws to grant citizenship to Hindu refugees fleeing persecution.
The first wave came in 1947. Then came the 1971 exodus sparked by the Bangladesh war. Since its independence, Bangladesh's Hindu population has dwindled to 8% from 14% of its total.
“Though PM Sheikh Hasina gave Hindus prominent positions in her government, most of them remain marginalised and persecuted,“ says Dhaka journalist Saleem Samad. Islamisation “gathered momentum when Generals Zia ur Rahman (1977-1981) and HM Ershad (1982-1990) held office,“ he says.
Bangladeshi Hindus faced attacks in 1992, after the Babri demolition. About 30,000 homes, offices and places of worship were destroyed.
In 2013, after the International Crimes Tribunal sentenced 1971 war criminal, Jamaat leader Delwar Hossain Sayeedi to death, Hindus were attacked.
After the 2014 elections that returned Awami League to office for a third term, Khaleda Zia's BNP and Jamaat workers reportedly raped and looted Hindus.
Targeted violence against minorities intensified in 2014 after al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) announced its arrival. Indian intelligence sources say it's behind the killing of most of the atheist bloggers. Adding to the threat to Hindus, in December 2015, IS vowed to expand operations to south Asia.
Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), sources say, is inching towards the IS. Since last year, JMB and IS have intimidated Christians and Hindus. Three priests have escaped murder and three killed.
IS's online magazine, Dabiq, in its 14th edition, boasted about killing priest Jogeshwar Roy. The magazine interviewed Shaykh Abu Ibrahim al-Hanif, IS chief in Bangladesh, who claimed “widespread support for attacks on Hindus, Christians, Qadiyanis and other minorities“.
Hasina's government has denied the role of AQIS and IS in the violent attacks and blames BNP and Jamaat. “Why is the PM silent,“ asks Debnath.