Forgotten Bhola tragedy: When 200 Hindu women were raped in 24 hours

Bangladesh Hindus, Bhola riots, Bengalis, Hindu,Suapur, Dhaka, land grabbing, BDMW, Bangladesh Minority Watch, Hinduism, Muslim, Islam

On October 20, a blasphemous post against Islam was posted by a hacker using the Facebook id of Biplob Chandra Baidya Shuvo and Bhola erupted.

The account was hacked to post the message but after the alleged blasphemy, Bangladesh’s Muslim rioters desecrated Temples, assaulted policemen and terrified the minorities. When they kept baying for Shuvo’s blood and attacked the police, the police had to open fire in Burhanuddin Upazila, Bhola on October 20, which killed four people and injured at least 200. Some 5000 unidentified men have been charged by the police for attacking its personnel.

It is being said that the hacker not only posted a blasphemous message but also messaged derogatory words for ‘Allah’ and ‘Prophet Muhammad’.

Islami Chhatra Shibir is being accused of raking up a storm which eventually may lead to another exodus of Bangladesh’s Hindus to India.

But while we are here discussing the tragedy of Bhola in 2019, let me take you back to 2001.

In October 2001, Bangladesh Hindus faced dastardly attacks after the electoral triumph of the BNP-Jamaat alliance. The alliance’s arrival meant gangrapes, intimidation, and murders for the Hindus. Such was the abuse that the Abhayanagar, Jessore’s Hindus faced that several of them jumped into the Bhairab River. Bhairab River was deemed safer than the land that they had seen as a home for long.

There are many news items that describe the violence and the attacks but feel shy of noting the religious motivation behind these attacks on the Hindus across the country.

An article ‘The night of the lost nose-pins’ by Mohammad Badrul Ahsan for The Daily Star noted that:

“IN one night, nearly two hundred women were raped in Char Fashion of Bhola, and amongst them were an eight-year-old girl, a middle-aged amputee and a seventy- year-old woman.”

The commentator further states that ‘so the loathsome thing happened, and Muslim men raped Hindu women.’ This almost seems as if Ahsan was resigned to fate.

But his words that ‘what made them think that Hindu women could be mass-raped because there was a change of government?

It is because the BNP-Jamaat coalition meant ascension of Islamic supremacy and the abuse of non-Muslims like the Hindus was just waiting to happen.

He further stated and it could not be clearer that he knew the answer to his above-posed question:

“They raped in the profane brotherhood of atrocious sensuality, and they chose victims not on the basis of their appeal but on the basis of their faith. “

The faith he omitted in this sentence is Hinduism; A religion followed by more than a billion people.

Supremacy of faith: The biggest problem

There are notable cases where this streak of supremacy is evident like in the case of a Hindu girl told to write Allah instead of God, where educators have been seen asking Hindu students to embrace Islam or when the Hindu students were fed beef despite it being well known that Bangladesh’s Hindus are not beef eaters.

The BNP-Jamaat win of 2001 saw nearly all of the Hindu-dominated parts of Bangladesh like the Barisal, Bhola, Pirojpur, Satkhira, Jessore, Khulna and Kushtia, Jhenidah, Bagerhat, Feni, Tangail, Noakhali, Natore, Bogra, Sirajganj, Munshiganj, Narayanganj, Narsingdi, Brahmanbaria, Gazipur, and even the Chittagong come under attack.

U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2003 – Bangladesh stated that following the October 2001 election, an estimated 5,000 to 20,000 Bangladeshi Hindus and other minorities fled to India to escape violence against the minorities. An unknown number of Hindus, perhaps as many as 200,000, became internally displaced.

The exodus has kept happening and so have the many blasphemies that the Hindus have committed; in 2001 it was exercising the right to vote and daring to be equal citizens, in 2019 it is daring to resist the tide and exist.

P.S: After the attacks in Brahmanbaria, I reached out to Bangladesh Jatiya Hindu Mohajote’s activist Ripon Dey stated a point that I am quoting here verbatim considering that this time too, we see the educated Muslims participating in such riots. He had said:

One thing should be clear; attacks were carried out by the so-called Islamists including well-dressed young Muslim men and even Muslim women who covered their face with Borkhah.

So, it isn’t really the BNP or Jamaat, it is the radical mindset that is extremely difficult to defeat.

Featured Image for representative purpose only.

Namta Gupta