The Bharatiya Janata Party will organise a “long march to Dhaka” on Monday next to protest alleged atrocities on religious minorities in Bangladesh. The party has raised five-point demands to ensure the safety and defend the rights of minority groups in the neighbouring country.
BJP’s Tripura State unit president Sunil Dasgupta said on Saturday that hundreds of party workers and supporters would try to breach the border at Akhaura in Agartala on March 18. He said Central leaders of the party had approved the agitation programme.
“We know we will be prevented at the border, but we cannot remain silent given unending atrocities on minorities, especially Hindus, in Bangladesh,” Mr. Dasgupta said.
He gave a detailed account of attacks on minority communities and their places of worship across Bangladesh. “The Hindus in Bangladesh have no security and are vulnerable to assaults,” he said.
The BJP held Jamaat-e-Islami and its students’ wing responsible for the current phase of religious unrest in Bangladesh that began after the War Crimes Tribunal sentenced to death an Islamic cleric and handed life term to another. The party earlier raised the issue in the Lok Sabha and demanded intervention of the Central government to protect the Hindus.
The minorities had accounted for 46 per cent of the population in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, at the time of the Partition in 1947 and the figure reduced to 28 per cent in 1970; Hindus now accounted for 10 per cent of the population, the BJP claimed.
Mr. Dasgupta lambasted major parties like the Congress and CPI (M) for turning a blind eye to the volatile situation in Bangladesh. He claimed even minorities in India were not safe at the hands of these parties.
The BJP demanded stringent action against culprits responsible for the atrocities; security and safety of people from minority groups; a separate ministry to look after the welfare of minorities; compensation to affected people; reconstruction and protection of religious places in Bangladesh.