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We, Bangladeshi Hindus, want to live in a liberal country that respects our rights, but this is not the reality. Therefore, we want India to be our second home.

Benjamin Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu Photo Credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO

Recently, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that India is Israel’s second home. We Bangladeshi Hindus applaud his speech. We apologize for the fact that in 1947, the Indian subcontinent was divided into two parts, India and Pakistan. Now, Pakistan has been divided into two parts, East Pakistan which is now Bangladesh and West Pakistan.

During these turbulent times, some Hindus have been sheltered by India and others have been living in Bangladesh as minorities. We very much want for the Hindu minority in Bangladesh to also view India as a second home and for the Bangladeshi refugees to receive their rights in their native land. Presently, this is not the reality. Even though the Bangladeshi Hindus share the same language and culture as the Indians in West Bengal, the Bangladeshi Hindus are still viewed in India to be infiltrators and are brutally repressed in Bangladesh.

It is true that in recent times our brothers in India have stood up for us. Recently, the Indian High Commissioner in Bangladesh Harsh Vardhan Shringla was forced to declare that he hopes that Bangladesh will continue its brotherly attitude in the future regardless of religion and race due to fears of violence ahead of the national elections. Recently, the Hindu community in Bangladesh called upon India to ensure their protection. “We want to live in a liberal country,” a member of the Nirmal Kumar Chatterjee Committee stated. “We want a liberal Bangladesh.”

But Bangladesh, as it stands presently, behaves anything but liberally towards the Hindu minority to our great sorrow. Historically, Bangladesh has brutally repressed the Hindu minority ahead of elections and it appears as though these elections will be no different. Recently, Abhishek Gupta, the President of the Indian Chapter of the World Hindu Struggle Committee, said that our Hindu brothers and sisters are being murdered, raped and harassed in Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, noting that we as a Hindu majority country will have to understand the situation and to take responsibility for our Hindu brothers and sisters.

 According to recent reports, a female Hindu member of the Chattapaltal Union has suffered from sexual harassment and faced rape threats. A fellow union member has told her that if she does not marry him, he will kill her sons and daughter. These threats come after two teenage girls in Tripura village were murdered after they refused to marry a Muslim.

In addition, there are allegations that local Awami League leads have seized Hindu lands worth 15 million taka. As a result, the local Hindus in the Paul community are now facing great insecurity even though the local Awami League denied the allegations that they were involved in this particular incident of Hindu land seizures. However, a billboard was raised over the Hindu land in question indicating that the area was up for sale, even though the local Hindus objected to the billboard. According to local sources, the billboard was raised in order to grab the Hindu land and that this is routine behavior in order to seize Hindu property via various types of threats, intimidation, etc. and then the Awami League comes to oppress the Hindus publicly in the open market.

As Bangladeshi Hindus, we ask for India to shelter us as our women are systematically raped, our men are murdered, our lands are routinely seized, our temples and holy places are desecrated and our idols are smashed. We seek for you to grant to us the same courtesy that you gave to Netanyahu. At the same time, we also want for you to continue to apply the pressure on the Bangladeshi government for only via international pressure will our plight improve.

Unfortunately, the Western powers do not care about us for we are not Christian, we are not white and we are not European or from a land with massive oil resources. However, despite this fact, we expect for our brothers in India to care about us for we Hindus are all united as one family and we seek for Israel, as the voice of those whom the international community neglects, to take a stance for us as well and help us to make India our second home as well as to obtain minority rights in our native land, just as the Jews in America got minority rights and have Israel as a second home. Only with the help of Israel and India do we Hindus have a fighting chance of obtaining a decent status in India and minority rights in our ancestral homeland. According to Gupta, we can trust that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will support us.