Author Archives: Vishnu Chaturvedi

Book Review: An Era of Darkness by Dr Shashi Tharoor

An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India, is a fantastic new book by Dr Shashi Tharoor that outlines the destructive presence of the British in India from the 17th Century until India gained her independence in 1947. It has long been understood that England had brought infrastructure, social reform, democracy and the rule of law to a continent, which in their opinion, was otherwise ravaged by wars, disease, civil distress and famine.

Prior to the publication of this book, Dr Tharoor had provide a fantastic and at times humorous account at the Oxford Union Debate of just how malevolent the British presence was in India upon which, this particular segment went viral over the internet. Subsequent to the debate, Dr Tharoor was inspired to write a detailed account of British rule in India, premised on the fact that many of the current generation of Indians were genuinely unaware Britain’s past atrocities.

Dr Tharoor has successfully provided a clear cut and concise overview on the humble beginnings of the East Indian Company and how through deceit, treachery, bribery and corruption, were able to establish a reign of terror over the regions of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. The first chapter sets out to provide the reader with an overview of how the wealth was drained from these regions followed by the deindustrialisation and destruction of the ship building, steel and textile industries. Subsequent chapters aim to discuss and effectively refute the notions that British established political unity, democracy and the free press.

In addition, much information is provided on the concept of divide and rule that precipitated into dissention between people of different so called castes, religions and race which continue to haunt the Indian subcontinent to this day. For those seeking to gain a true perspective on the real history of British rule in India will certainly not be disappointed. I have thoroughly enjoyed this book from cover to cover and highly recommend it to those seeking to gain a true perspective on the presence of the British in India and for Indians and people of Indian origin to develop a sense of self respect.

Best Wishes,

Janardhan

 

NYC Bengali Hindus protest new violence against Hindus in Bangladesh

Fresh anti-Hindu violence has erupted in Bangladesh, this only a week after 15 Hindu Temples and 100’s of Hindu homes were set on fire by Islamic radicals. This week two more temples have been set ablaze along with several Hindu dwellings, causing Hindu families to flee their residences. The pogroms were sparked by a supposed facebook post which was described as being offensive to Islam.

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Despite often touting itself as a “secular democracy”, the state religion of Bangladesh is Islam and until relatively recently it was state policy to seize Hindu lands under a series of “Enemy Property Acts”, a policy which has only been partially rectified. Additionally, in the past year Bangladesh has become a growing haven for ISIS which has claimed responsibility for several terror attacks against non-Muslims within the nation.

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Due to the ongoing and prolonged violence against non-Muslims, many Bengali Hindus have immigrated to the United States, particularly to NYC. In light of the fact that their family members live under such difficult circumstances, the Bengali Hindus are known for being particularly vocal, bringing their grievances to the streets with large demonstrations.

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This week dozens of Bengali Hindu organizations, headed by the Hindu Council of North America, demonstrated in Jackson Heights, Queens to bring attention to the plight of Hindus in Bangladesh. The demonstrations coincide with the launch of a video and petition campaign put out by Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, calling for the protection of Hindus and other non-Muslims within Bangladesh.

Seven houses of Hindus torched by Islamists is Bangladesh

Reported by The Daily Star

The post-electoral violence against the Hindus shows no sign of abating as seven homes of the community in Chittagong were torched and four idols of a temple were desecrated in Netrokona yesterday.

The barbaric arson attack on the Hindu properties at Muhuripara village in Satkania of Chittagong was carried out by miscreants after it came to light that a Hindu day labourer had voted on January 5.

“We saw a cautionary message written on the wall of a local shop that reads if any Hindu member goes for voting, all the houses of the community will be torched,” voter Haradhan told our district correspondent.

He added: “I was the lone member in the community who had gone only to see the polling centre. Then the local union parishad member persuaded me to cast my vote and I did.”

The attack started by setting fire to the house of Haradhan around 2:50am. It soon spread to six other houses of Haradhan’s neighbours before locals doused the flames.

Pinki Das, a housewife of the village, said, “We were asleep when criminals set Haradhan’s house on fire. All of a sudden, my husband’s cell phone started ringing.

“After receiving the call, I found no one was responding from the other end. At that time, I also heard a lot of noise coming from outside.”
Sensing that something went wrong, she came out of her house and found that her neighbours’ homes were burning by the raging blaze.

However, Pinki’s house was saved as the locals managed to douse the flames soon. Fire fighters reached the spot at 4:30am only to see the blaze was contained.

Shahadat Hossain, station officer of Satkania Fire Service Station, said the fire damaged the property worth Tk 4 lakh.
Shariful Islam, upazila nirbahi officer of Satkania, said none of the houses of Hindus was attacked in Satkania soon after the election.
Yesterday’s incident required investigation to ascertain whether it happened as post-election consequences, he added.

Different organisations staged protests in Chittagong city yesterday, protesting the attack on Hindus in Satkania.
In Netrokona, four idols of Harulia Kali Mandir in Barhatta upazila were damaged by miscreants in the wee hours of yesterday morning.
President of the temple committee Pronab Chandra Ghosh told our district correspondent that the idols were newly built and kept on the temple premises to dry them up.

“Four masked criminals entered the temple premises after midnight and desecrated the idols in front of me and ran away,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Hindus of Gopalpur village in Thakurgaon had urged the government to reach a permanent solution regarding security threats on their lives.

Niranjan Barman, a local fisherman, told our district correspondent that he was assessing the long term practicability of continuing his livelihood in the village.

“Now we are getting media attention, we have adequate security. What will happen when the spotlight will die down,” he questioned.
However, the Hindus of Malopara village in Abhaynagar of Jessore were making efforts to lead a normal life, forgetting the horror of attack on their properties, our district correspondent reported.

The village, which was without power earlier, had been brought under the network of power grid to ensure security of locals.
Dirt paths were also being covered with tarmac to diminish remoteness of the Hindu village.

Meanwhile, civil rights activists began a long march towards Malopara from Madaripur yesterday morning, protesting the recent attack on Hindus.

Published: 12:00 am Saturday, January 18, 2014

Last modified: 9:24 pm Saturday, January 18, 2014

Hindu Minorities attacked in 4 districts of Bangladesh

Reported by The Daily Ittefaq 

Ittefaq Report

Jamaat-Shibir cadres launched despicable attacks on Hindu communities in four districts the day after the 10th parliamentary elections. Hundreds of houses of the minority community were torched and looted since Sunday night in Dinjapur, Jessore, Satkhira and Thakurgaon. A large number of Hindus took shelter in the temples, while others have fled to other villages. They are too scared to return even after assurances from local administration.

Dinajpur: Jamaat-Shibir cadres torched at least 150 houses in Hindu communities in Kornai village since Sunday night. At least 350 houses and 50 shops of five villages including Pritampara, Sahapara, Profullahpara, Telipara, Madhabpara and Ajaypara.  Residents of at least eight unions in different upazilas of the district are the worst sufferers of the violence. 20-25 Hindu families from affected remote villages had left their homes and taken refuge in nearby towns. To handle the situation, law enforcement agencies have launched a joint drive in the district from Monday to restore law and order. However, this has not proved to be enough to remove the security concern among the minority people.

Jessore: Miscreants vandalised at least 46 Hindu houses and establishments and torched 6 more on Sunday night. They accused the victims of voting for Awami League. About 200 residents of Malopara took shelter at Deyapara village across the river Bhairab following the attack.  Jessore Police Super Jaydev Kumar Bhadra inspected the villages. In instant response, Avaynagar administration distributed 200 blankets among the victims. There have been allegations that police, ruling Awami league leaders and the administration didn’t promptly respond to their calls of help. Police arrived much later after the carnage was complete.

Thakurgaon: Led by Jamaat, opposition men yesterday unleashed fierce post-election violence upon the religious minorities in Thakurgaon. The marauding Jamaat-Shibir and BNP activists clashed with law enforcers and ruling party men, attacked election officials and went on a rampage. They damaged and looted 65 houses and 30 shops and set afire paddies stored at courtyards in several homes. Locals in two villages in Thakurgaon Sadar upazila alleged that Jamaat-BNP men, brandishing lethal weapons, roamed through their areas and threatened to kill them for casting votes.

Satkhira: After a clash between Awami League and BNP supporters, Jamaat-BNP men with sharp weapons, sticks and iron rods attacked the Hindus and others Awami League supporters. Several hundred Hindus and ruling Awami League leaders of Satkhira have been fleeing their homes over the last few days in the wake of massive violence unleashed by Jamaat-Shibir men in the district. Satkhira Superintendent of Police Chowdhury Manjurul Kabir said the situation would improve as the election hype dies down.

BNP, Jamaat attack Hindu village in Jessore

Reported By The Daily Star 

BNP, Jamaat attack Hindu village in JessoreBNP-Jamaat activists vandalised and looted 130 houses and torched 10 others at a Hindu village in Abhaynagar upazila of Jessore tonight hours after the end of voting in 10th parliamentary polls.

The mayhem started as two men — Biswanath Sarkar and Shyamol Sarkar — of Chapatola Malopara village, went to the Chapatola Aliya Madrasa polling centre earlier on the day, ignoring the opposition’s embargo, reports our Jessore correspondent quoting Emdad Hossain, officer-in-charge of Abhaynagar Police Station.

More than 200 activists of BNP and Jamaat, led by local opposition leader Ariful Aksu and Kashem Ali, entered the village around 6:00pm blasting 15 crude bombs and injured Biswanath and Shyamol, the police official added.

The appalled villagers swam across the adjacent Bhairab river and took shelter on the other side at Diyapara village to escape the brutal attack, the OC said.

Agitated activists then vandalised and looted at least 130 houses and set fire on 10 others, he said.

On information, the joint forces rushed to the spot around 9:00pm and brought the situation under control, the OC added.

The joint forces have started a drive to find the miscreants who were involved in the atrocity.

Jamaat-e-Islami calls for strike in protest of Abdul Quader Mollah’s execution, swears revenge from Awami League

Reported By India Today

Bangladesh’s Jamaat-e-Islami party has called for a nationwide dawn-to-dusk general strike on Sunday in protest of the execution of its leader Abdul Quader Mollah.

The announcement to observe the general strike, a day before Bangladesh celebrates the Victory Day, Dec 16, was made minutes after Mollah, the party’s assistant secretary general, was hanged on Thursday night, bdnews24.com reported.

“The government has killed Mollah in a planned way ignoring calls from international community and the people of Bangladesh,” acting head of Jamaat Maqbul Hossain said in a statement on party’s website.

Earlier in the day, after the Supreme Court rejected Mollah’s petition to review his death sentence, the party in another statement had said: “Awami League will have to pay for each drop of Abdul Quader Mollah’s blood.”

He had refused to seek presidential clemency following the Supreme Court’s rejection of a review petition of his death sentence on Thursday.

Mollah, who was hanged at 10.01 p.m., was the first person convicted for crimes against humanity committed during the 1971 war of independence to walk to the gallows after being sentenced to death. His hanging came three days before the country celebrates the 42nd Victory Day, which commemorates Bangladesh’s triumph in the nine-month bloody war against the Pakistani occupation forces in 1971.

He was buried at his ancestral home in Faridpur’s Sadar Upazila at the family graveyard at Amirabad village around 4.20 a.m. on Friday after funeral prayers, said district magistrate Mohd. Mamun Shiblee, who supervised the burial.

Another Hindu village comes under Jamaat-Shibir attack

Reported By Dhaka Tribune 

 

The vandals beat 12 women as the males fled the scene sensing the attack. They did not spare even the children during the attack

  • 5 shops and 2 houses of minority Hindu community people were vandalised and looted by Jamaat- Shibir men on Thursday
    Photo- Dhaka Tribune

At least five shops and two houses of minority Hindu community people were vandalised and looted by Jamaat- Shibir men on Thursday, the last day of the opposition-sponsored 71-hour countrywide rail-road-waterways blockade.

Patgram Upazila Chhatra Shibir leaders Rana Islam reportedly led the attack on the Hindu people of Ghoshpara village under Patgram upazila around 9:30am.The spot is 5km off the upazila headquarters.

Another Hindu-populated village Shafinagar under the same upazila is just 3km away from Ghoshpara also came under attack by BNP and Jamaat-Shibir men on October 27, the first day of the opposition-called 48-hour shutdown.

The vandals beat 12 women as the males fled the scene sensing the attack. They did not spare even the children during the attack.

Upazila administration and police rushed to the spot after three hours around 12:30pm, said locals.

Police arrested local Union Parishad Member and former Patgram upazila unit president of Chhatra Shibir Nazrul Islam on charge of aiding and abetting Rana Islam, said Patgram Police Station OC Sohrab Hossain.

About 200 to 250 Jamaat-Shibir activists and supporters led by Shibir leader Rana Islam brought out a procession in the area and they immediately swooped on Hindus’ shops and houses in the village, police said.

The Jamaat-Shibir men assaulted Devi Rani Ghosh, Anjoli Ghosh, Shilpi Rani Ghosh, Charu Bala Ghosh, Sandhya Rani Ghosh, Namita Rani Ghosh and others in the village, police added.

Villagers said the attackers damaged their properties worth about Tk20 lakh.

A number of aggrieved villagers alleged that some local Awami League men too incited Jamaat-Shibir men to the violence.

Patgram Upazila Parishad Chairman Ruhul Amin Babul said the area is the safe den of Jamaat- Shibir men. Taking the advantage of countrywide blockade programme they attacked the Hindus who are innocent and do not belong to any political party.

“They did so to create panic in the area and use that to their advantage.” Patgram Upazila Nirbahi Officer Rafiqul Haque confirmed the communal attack saying that administration would do everything possible to protect the minority community there.

OC Sohrab Hossain said Shibir leader Rana Islam is a most wanted criminal and police has conducted several drives to arrest him.

Lalmonirhat Deputy Commissioner Habibur Rahman said he asked the UNO and OC to tackle the situation and arrest the criminals. He will visit the spot and exchange views with Hindu people, he said.

– See more at: http://www.dhakatribune.com/crime/2013/nov/29/another-hindu-village-comes-under-jamaat-shibir-attack#sthash.V8RGwY59.rjbFWeZb.dpuf

More Violence And Extortion Of Hindus In Bangladesh

Reported By The Daily Star 

Idols lay in ruins after a mob attacked Hindu temples and homes in Bonogram of Pabna on Saturday. The pack also stormed houses and vandalized them, inset. Photo: Star

Idols lay in ruins after a mob attacked Hindu temples and homes in Bonogram of Pabna on Saturday. The pack also stormed houses and vandalized them, inset. Photo: Star

Idols lay in ruins after a mob attacked Hindu temples and homes in Bonogram of Pabna on Saturday. The pack also stormed houses and vandalized them, inset. Photo: Star

Extortionists, mostly belonging to the BNP and Jamaat, had planned to frame Hindu schoolboy Rajib Saha in Pabna for maligning Islam after his businessman father refused to pay them.

Rajib’s father Babul Saha, a leading trader in Bonogram bazaar, has two grocery shops with warehouses. He had been paying the youths regularly until June when they demanded Tk 2 lakh.

On Saturday morning, the youths went to his house looking for Rajib but found only his mother. They then went to Babul’s shop.

“Around 9:00am, Manik, Khokon and a few others came to my shop. One of them showed me something on his cellphone and said my son had maligned the Prophet. They asked me to bring my son or face dire consequences,” Babul told The Daily Star yesterday.

Babul, who is now under Ataikula police custody for safety, said he did not understand what his son had actually done.

Babul SahaAccording to locals, Khokon is a supporter of BNP and Manik belongs to Jamaat. Selim Khan, leader of Ataikula union BNP and defeated chairman candidate of union parishad election in 2011, was backing the extortionists.

Sources also said a few Awami League men had links with the youths.

The group chose Saturday as it was the weekly market day at Bonogram in Santhia upazila. It was also the occasion of Kali Puja.
Around 10:00am, some unidentified people started distributing photocopies of what they said was a “Facebook page”, claiming Rajib had defamed Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) in a post.
Jamaat-Shibir supporters began agitating around 11:00am. An announcement from the loudspeaker of the bazaar mosque did the rest. Hundreds of people came out clamouring for Rajib’s “execution”.

The youths were waiting for this. They and their men attacked Sahapara and Ghoshpara simultaneously, vandalising and looting around 100 houses from around 12:30pm to 3:00pm.

Locals alleged when a mob started to wreck the houses in the two Hindu villages, law enforcers were busy trying to confront agitating mobs blockading the Dhaka-Pabna highway.

Anil Kumar Sarker of Sahapara said a gang of 10 to 12 youths, armed with sticks, stormed his house around 12:30pm. They left hurriedly after vandalism.
“As soon as they left, I phoned Pabna Superintendent of Police Sirajuddin Ahmed and told him what was happening,” he said. The SP told him, “Police have been mobilised to tackle the situation.”

Anil then rang Deputy Commissioner Ashraf Uddin.
“The DC asked me if I have contacted the SP and when I said yes, he assured me that the SP would take care of the problem.”

Around 1:30pm, over 50 unruly people attacked Anil’s house again.
“At that time I took refuge in the attic with my family and watched through a crack the men ravaging my already-damaged house. Then they set ablaze the idols inside the family temple,” he added.

“It was the day of our Kali Puja and the village was in a festive mood. Suddenly all hell broke loose leaving us shaken to the core.”

There was no trace of police until 2:30pm when a team of four cops arrived leisurely at Sahapara. “The policemen went around the village and left in about 10 minutes, since then none of the law enforcers have come to see us,” said Anil.
Sukumar Biswas of Ghoshpara said ten to twelve marauding groups, mostly youths, created panic by screaming as they rampaged through the village. “They stole gold ornaments and cash and destroyed our refrigerator, TV, computer, beds, tables, utensils and what not.”

A trail of destruction can be seen throughout the villages.
The areas have maintained communal harmony since the independence despite being dominated by Jamaat-e-Islami, a party historically known for practising communal politics.

Eighty-year-old Bishnu Priya Saha said she was born at Sahapara and lived all her life there but never imagined she would see this day. “Here we, the Hindus and Muslims, are living like brothers and sisters for generations.”

Meanwhile, local administration organised a solidarity meeting on the bazaar mosque premises to quell tension and distributed cash, rice and corrugated tin sheets to the victims.

Asked why police failed to protect the Hindu houses, DC Ashraf Uddin claimed forces reached the scene when mob blockaded the road and tried to quell the situation.

OC Rezaul Karim of Ataikula Police Station said they were not informed of the attacks and looting immediately. “My limited force was busy controlling the mob on the highway.”

Police arrested Rezaul Karim of Gaurigram after filing a case in the evening against twenty named and more than a hundred unnamed people.
Contacted, BNP leader Selim said his political rivals were bringing false allegation against him.