No Hindus will be left in Bangladesh 30 years from now if the current rate of ‘exodus’ continues as on an average 632 people from the minority community leave the Muslim-majority country each day, according to an eminent economist. “The rate of exodus over the past 49 years points to that direction,” Dhaka Tribune quoted Dr Abul Barkat, a Dhaka university professor, as saying.
There will be no Hindus left in the country three decades from now, Barkat said in his book ‘Political economy of reforming agriculture-land-water bodies in Bangladesh’ which was published on November 19, the paper said.
From 1964 to 2013, around 11.3 million Hindus left Bangladesh due to religious persecution and discrimination which means on an average 632 Hindus left the country each day and 230,612 annually, he said at the book launch ceremony at the Dhaka University (DU).
From his 30-year-long research, Barkat said he found that the exodus mostly took place during military governments after independence in 1971, its said.
Before the Liberation War, the daily rate of migration was 705 while it was 512 during 1971-1981 and 438 during 1981-1991. The number increased to 767 persons each day during 1991-2001 while around 774 persons left the country during 2001-2012, the book says.
DU professor Ajoy Roy said the government grabbed the properties of the Hindus during the Pakistan regime describing them as enemy property and the same properties were taken by the government after independence as vested property, the report said.
According to the book, these two measures made 60 per cent of the Hindus landless. Retired Justice Kazi Ebadul Haque said the minorities and the poor were deprived of their land rights. DU professor Farid Uddin Ahmed said the government has to ensure that the indigenous people would not be affected or harmed, the report said.
Former National Human Rights Commission chairman professor Mizanur Rahman said there was no accurate estimation of the indigenous peoples living in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh Adivasi Forum President Santu Larma said, “we need a people-oriented government. But the reality of state mechanism does not allow this to happen”.
Larma, also the chairman of the CHT Regional Council, claimed that over 50 indigenous groups were on the verge of extinction, but they want to live with dignity with the
remaining indigenous groups.
Barkat dedicated the book to his childhood friends who belonged to ‘Buno’ indigenous group, but now remain traceless. “I have not heard about them since long… May be they were forced to leave the place by the land grabbers and have gone to India and took a different name,” Roy added.