Monday January 22, 2018
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Bangladesh Minority Council welcomes India’s pressure on safety of minorities

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Bangladesh

By Kamran Reza Chowdhury

Religious minorities may flee Bangladesh if attacks on them continue, the spokesman of a minority coalition group warned Friday.

Rana Dasgupta, general secretary of the Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Unity Council, applauded a statement from India’s foreign minister earlier this week that Dhaka must punish the perpetrators of such attacks.

“My organization welcomes the call of Sushma Swaraj. She rightly pointed out the plight of the minorities in Bangladesh. The attacks on the minorities must stop,” Dasgupta told BenarNews.

India has reason to be worried about the attacks on minorities in its neighbor, Muslim-majority but constitutionally-secular Bangladesh, Dasgupta said.

“If the attacks continue, the minorities will leave the country and take shelter in India. The government must take measures so that the minorities do not leave the country,” he said.

Nirmal Rozario, general secretary of the Bangladesh Christian Association, also welcomed the diplomatic pressure from Bangladesh’s giant neighbor.

“Sushma Swaraj’s call will expedite the government move to protect the minorities who have become the common targets of the radicals. In the age of globalization, every country is impacted by the events in its neighboring states,” Rozario told BenarNews.

‘Secular, progressive and liberal’

India’s minister of external affairs (EAM) brought up the matter during a meeting with Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali of Bangladesh in New Delhi on Wednesday.

“Referring to recent incidents of attacks on minorities in Bangladesh, EAM sought swift action against the perpetrators of the crimes by the Bangladesh authorities,” India’s foreign ministry said in a statement Wednesday about the discussion.

“FM Ali assured that [the] Government of Bangladesh was conscious of the importance of checking the activities of radical forces in the country and expressed the commitment of his Government to safeguarding Bangladesh’s secular, progressive and liberal character,” the statement said.

On Feb. 21, a priest was slain and two devotees were wounded in an attack on a Hindu temple in Panchagarh district, in northern Bangladesh.

It was the first killing of a member of the country’s small Hindu community since militants issued threats against religious minorities last year. Two Hindu temples were bombed in Dinajpur district of northern Bangladesh in December

Hindus currently make up about 10 percent of Bangladesh’s 168.9 million people.

On Jan. 7, attackers stabbed to death an 85-year-old Christian convert and doctor in the southwestern district of Jhenaidah. Two Christian priests have been attacked, and at least 30 other members of the tiny Christian minority have been threatened, since mid-2015, church leaders say.

On Dec. 25, a suicide bomber targeted an Ahmadiyya mosque in northwestern Rajshahi district.

On Nov. 26, militants sprayed bullets inside a mosque of the minority Shia Muslim community in the northern district of Bogra, killing a muezzin who was in his 70s. In October, militants bombed a procession of Shiites in Dhaka, killing two.

‘No space in Bangladesh’

Following the killing of the Christian doctor in January, the country’s home minister vowed to go after people who attack religious minorities.

“The people of Bangladesh are pious but they are not radicals. So, the militants will get no space in Bangladesh,” Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told BenarNews.

The Middle East-based Islamic State group claimed responsibility for many of the attacks, but the government has denied its presence in Bangladesh, saying local militants are using the IS brand to “add value to their names.”

Militant attacks this year have targeted intellectuals and foreigners as well as members of religious minorities.

In late September, Italian aid worker Cesare Tavella was gunned down in Dhaka’s diplomatic zone. Less than a week later, Japanese agriculture expert Kunio Hoshi was shot dead in the northern city of Rangpur.

Four secular bloggers and a publisher were brutally murdered in 2015 in machete attacks by suspected militants. Four other people were injured in those attacks.

Maulana Farid Uddin Masud, a top Islamic cleric, stressed that such violence is contrary to the tenets of Islam.

“Islam has not allowed anyone to carry out attack on the minorities. Islam strongly promotes peaceful coexistence of all faiths,” he told BenarNews.

“So, the government must protect all minorities from the attacks on the militants who have been misinterpreting the peaceful religion Islam.” (Published with permission from BenarNews)

Next Story

India China’s Fight Over the Doklam Plateau Explained

Doklam or Donglang, is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India

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picture from- indiaopines.com

By Ruchika Verma

  • India and China have an old history of disputes
  • This time, the dispute is regarding the Dokplam Plateau
  • The area is of strategic importance for both the nations

Disputes between India and China are not at all uncommon. The rivalry between the two nations is famous. There have been several disputes between the two on the India-China border in past, and there seems to be no stopping for these disputes in the present or future, for that matter.

India and China have a n old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com
India and China have an old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com

In June 2017, the world witnessed yet another dispute arising between India and China. This time the dispute was about China building a road extending to Doklam Plateau, which both nations have been fighting over for years now.

Also Read: China is likely to get involved if India disrupts $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

History of the dispute 

Doklam or Donglang (in Chinese), is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India. India doesn’t directly claim the area but supports Bhutan’s claims on it.

India fits into the picture, as this plateau is an important area for India. Not only is Bhutan one of the biggest allies of India; China gaining access over the Doklam Plateau will also endanger India’s borders, making them vulnerable to attacks.

Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan's borders.
Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan’s borders.

Apart from the hostile history of the two nations, the Doklam Plateau is also important for India to maintain its control over a land corridor that connects to its remote northeastern States. China building a road through Doklam surely threatens that control.

A complete timeline of what happened in the recent Doklam Standoff 

On 16 June 2017, Chinese troops with construction vehicles and excavators began extending an existing road southward on the Doklam plateau, near India’s border. It was Bhutan which raised the alarm for India.

On 18 June 2017, India responded by sending around 270 Indian troops, with weapons and two bulldozers to evict the Chinese troops from Doklam.

On 29 June 2017, Bhutan protested against the construction of a road in the disputed territory.  According to the Bhutanese government, China attempted to extend a road in an area which is shared both Bhutan and India, along with China.

Between 30 June 2017 and 5 July 2017, China released multiple statements justifying their claim over the Doklam plateau. They cited reasons as to why the Doklam standoff wasn’t really needed. And how China has not intruded into India’s territory to incite the standoff.

On 19th July 2017, China asked India again to withdraw its troops from the Doklam. On 24th July 2017,  Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in his statement, asked India to withdraw and behave themselves to maintain peace.

India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC
India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC

Also Read: Why India Must Counter China’s High-Altitude Land Grab?

What followed till 16th August 2017 was China constantly alleging India of trying to create trouble. They accused India of trying to disturb the peace and not withdrawing the troops, even after repeated reminders. They also accused India of bullying.

India, however, kept quiet during the whole fiasco, only releasing a statement regarding their stand and position at the Doklam standoff.

On 28 August 2017, India and China finally announced that they had agreed to pull their troops back from the Doklam standoff. The withdrawal was completed on that very day.

On 7 September 2017, many media reports claimed that both nation’s troops have not left the site completely. They were still patrolling the area, simply having moved 150 meters away from their previous position.

On 9 October 2017, China announced that it is ready to maintain peace with India at the frontiers. India reacted in affirmative, the peace was established when Indian Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman’s visited Nathu La.

The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay
The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay

The Doklam issue, for now, is resolved. However, given the history of disputes between India and China, it won’t be a surprise if the issue resurfaces again in near future.