Situation of Hindus in Bangladesh is the same as that of a donkey in water

I was utterly shocked looking at the photo of the dead body of little angel Dev Dutta, 9. He was abducted and his lifeless body was found after sixteen days on June 25, 2018, in a sack bag with his hands and legs tied tightly. The perpetrators may have thrown him in the water alive in a sag bag, or maybe, he was killed first and then thrown in water? Just close your eyes for a moment and imagine what the child may have gone through. I felt traumatized, just thinking the inhuman torture that this little angel may have gone through.

Bangladesh's Hindus mourn the kid.
Bangladesh’s Hindus mourn the kid.

We say children are like angels. Those who can kill an angel with such brutality cannot possibly be human beings. Are they? The mere images are too graphic for me. Looking at the scene of his mothers’ crying, one can easily imagine the pain she was passing through. Her sorrows knew no limit. Are not you moved? Are you moved by the crying of a mother who lost her child to such inhuman cruelty?

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The incident took place at Chitliya village, located in Kushtia’s Mirpur subdistrict. Dev Dutta’s father had filed a lawsuit against the land grabbers who tried to forcefully acquire his ancestral temple land, known as ‘Debottor’ property. In revenge, the perpetrators abducted the little child and demanded a huge ransom. The poor father could not pay that. The perpetrators carried out the gruesome murder of the 9-year-old school going little child. His body was recovered, tied up, inside a sack bag. Who knows how much suffering Dev Dutta went through? But his death is unacceptable, Period.

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The two criminals accused to Dev Dutta’s killing were shot dead by the police. Though ‘crossfire’ is not a lawful way, but sometimes it seems, what else could be done? Dev Dutta died, but maybe that was good for him? Bangladesh is not his country! He is not a son of the soil, but a Hindu. Being born in Bangladesh, a Muslim majority country, was a crime for him? Hindu land, Hindu women are already considered “ganimater maal” (gained in war/public property for Muslims). Now, looks like, Hindu children also are included in that category?

Some people may say that this very incident is not religiously motivated. Good for them, but let me ask them if Dev Dutta was not a Hindu, would he have been killed like that? Does Muslims try to grab forcefully Mosque properties? On the contrary, everybody forcefully grabs Hindu lands, that includes, Ragib Ali, Dabiruddin MP and many more. There are ample incidents of torture and murder too involving those land grabbings.

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Some deaths hit people conscience hard, Dev Dutta’s death may have shaken the administration and thus two alleged perpetrators were killed in close range. But it is also true that the police did not care enough to rescue the little boy alive, most likely due to religious bias and bureaucratic ineptitude. Who cares about a poor Hindu’s son, or the son of a non-believer? Moreover, land grabbing of Hindu minorities in Bangladesh has reached an epic at this time and this particular case is among thousands of related cases.

My question is, did the tied up dead body of a little angel moved you at all? Did you felt the pain? Did you shed tears? Did you protest? Dev Dutta’s lifeless body reminds a lot of us, the dead body of Aylan Kurdi (Alan Sheni), the child of a Syrian refugee who died drowning in the Mediterranean Sea. There was a worldwide reaction to Aylan’s death, but no reaction for Dev Dutta. Why?

Aylan was drowned at sea while trying to flee war-torn Syria. Dev Dutta is a direct victim of crimes against humanity. Why did the people of Bangladesh not feel for Dev, the way they felt for Aylan? Why was there no protests, no outrage? Ah, cause he’s a Hindu in Bangladesh, our death is too common to create worldwide distress signal?

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Aylan was killed by nature, the world wept for him. But Dev was killed by men, did the people of Bangladesh cry for him? No! Still, those who think that this an isolated incident, not religiously motivated, let me tell you a short story.

Credit for this story goes to Palash Bhattacharya. It goes something like this: A man boarded a boat full of people with his donkey. As the boat started sailing, it began to rock with the tides. That frightened the donkey and it began jumping around rocking the boat even more. The passengers were scared of drowning. The owner of the donkey was unable to calm it down. This is when an elderly passenger suggested that he be allowed to soothe the donkey. Given the chance to do so, the elderly man, with the help of a few others threw the donkey overboard. The donkey, in a desperate attempt to its own life, began swimming and then grabbed on to a rope with its teeth. Upon receiving the signal of the old man, the donkey was pulled back on to the boat. This time the donkey after being pulled back on to the boat, went to a corner and sat quietly.

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The other passengers wanted to know the logic behind this. The old man said, upon being thrown in water, donkey realized the true danger. It realized that the boat was relatively safer and they also understood that the safety of the fellow passengers. Hence the donkey quiets down. The condition of the Hindus in Bangladesh is the same as that donkey in the water. The majority of Bangladesh Muslims will not empathize with the situation unless they’re in the water like the donkey? In the donkey’s case, there was a wise and compassionate man and a rope on the boat for its’ rescue. But for the case of Hindus in Bangladesh, the chances of finding such compassionate wise men or ropes are much, much harder.

Sitangshu Guha

(The column was published in Daily Bhorer Kagoj, a national daily in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 04 July 2018 but has been reproduced in English with the Author’s expressed approval and the views of the writer’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the view of