Condemning the reports of attacks on the minority Hindu community in Bangladesh, the United States on Monday said that freedom of religion or belief is a human right.
A US State Department spokesperson said, “Freedom of religion or belief is a human right. Every person around the world, regardless of their religious affiliation or belief, should feel safe and supported to celebrate important holidays.”
Bangladesh has been rocked by communal violence that took place during the Durga Puja festivities in the nation and nearly six people have died and hundreds have been injured so far.
“The State Department condemns the recent reports of attacks on the Hindu community in Bangladesh,” the spokesman said.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has promised to bring justice, saying those behind the violence will not be spared.
Pranesh Haider, a member of the Bangladeshi Hindu community, has urged the US State Department in a statement to “ensure that no further harm comes to the beleaguered Hindus of Bangladesh.”
He also urged US-based watchdog groups and media houses to highlight the gravity of the violence in Bangladesh.
Utsav Chakrabarti, the Executive Director of HinduPACT, said, “It is especially horrifying to see the last remaining Hindus in Noakhali being attacked in this way, 75 years after Islamists demanding the creation of Pakistan, killed 12,000 Hindus and forcibly converted 50,000 to Islam in October 1946.”
HinduPACT, a US-based Hindu advocacy group, said that the community continues to be a target of organised hate and discrimination in Muslim-majority Bangladesh, where the minority population has decreased steadily to nine percent now from 28 percent in the 1940s.
“This recent wave of violence confirms the danger indigenous Hindus continue to face. Fifty years after nearly 2.8 million of them were killed and another 10 million of them turned destitute and made to become refugees by the Pakistan Army in 1971, during the independence struggle of Bangladesh, Hindus continue to be targeted for their faith,” it said.
Courtesy – www.dnaindia.com