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Many Bangladeshi Hindus feel increasingly Unsafe in Muslim-majority nation Bangladesh, are planning to move to Hindu-Majority India
November 19, 2016: As religious violence targeting Hindus continues in Bangladesh, many Bangladeshi Hindus said they feel increasingly unsafe in the Muslim-majority nation, and they are planning to move to Hindu-majority India.
Several Indian ethnic groups in the Indian border state of Assam, however, said they would not allow Bangladeshis to settle in the area, which has for decades been a destination for migrants and refugees from Bangladesh.
“The attack on the Hindus is still continuing in Bangladesh. In fact it has peaked in recent weeks,” Shipan Kumer Basu, president of Bangladesh’s Hindu Struggle Committee told VOA this week.
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[bctt tweet=”The attack on the Hindus is still continuing in Bangladesh.” username=””]
“Many of them want to leave Bangladesh. And, neighboring Hindu-majority India is the only safe destination where they (feel they) can escape (to),” Basu said.
Manjit Mahanta, an Assamese indigenous movement leader, cited the 1985 Assam Accord, which views anyone entering the Assam region from Bangladesh as illegal.
Mahanta said Bangladeshi Hindus would not be allowed to be “dumped” in Assam to “destroy” it.
“Following the independence of India, Assam took the burden of hundreds of thousands of Hindu and Muslim refugees who landed here until March 24, 1971,” Mahanta, a Hindu leader of Asom Songrami Mancha, an indigenous political group, told VOA. “But the illegal Bangladeshi immigrants who came over or are still arriving after that period until 1971 will not be allowed to settle here.”
Violence against Hindus
In Bangladesh, where Muslims make up more than 90 percent of the country’s 160 million people, Hindus have long alleged they have been victims of religious persecution. Beginning last year, anti-Hindu violence has been on the rise in the country.
Hindu community leaders in Bangladesh said 32 Hindus have been killed this year and allege more than 550 Hindu temples or prayer places have been vandalized in religiously targeted attacks.
Most recently, some Islamic groups organized anti-Hindu protests in Bangladesh’s Brahmanbaria district after a local Hindu youth allegedly posted on Facebook an altered image of the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, a Muslim holy site.
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Muslims in the groups demanded a public hanging of the youth, then vandalized 17 Hindu temples, ransacked more than 100 Hindu households and wounded more than two dozen Hindus.
Since Wednesday, protesters in Brahmanbaria have set on fire two Hindu households and vandalized several Hindu idols.
Bangladesh Home Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said security agencies were investigating the attacks in Brahmanbaria and expected arrests to be made soon.
Hindus in the area, however, said they are still scared.
“The attacks have peaked since last month with the hooligans regularly setting fire on Hindu households and vandalizing the Hindu temples and idols,” Nehar Sarkar, a Hindu resident of Brahmanbaria, told VOA.
“Attacks are taking place while police and paramilitary forces are deployed in the area. The government has clearly failed to halt the attacks on us,” Sarkar said.
India’s Citizenship Act, passed in 1955, defines as an illegal immigrant any foreigner who enters the country without valid travel documents or one who stays beyond the permitted time.
A proposed amendment to the Citizenship Act, which is currently under consideration by a committee in India’s parliament, will make Hindus and other religious minority immigrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh eligible for Indian citizenship.
Indian Hindu groups that support Bangladesh’s minority Hindus have welcomed the amendment proposed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.
Bimal Mazumder, president of India-based Bangladesh Udbastu Unnayan Sansad, which supports Bangladeshi Hindu immigrants in India, said the Bangladeshi Hindus fear for their lives and are desperate to flee that country. He told VOA that after the recent incidents in Brahmanbaria, they “are more terrified in Bangladesh and … seeking to flee Bangladesh.”
Despite support from some groups for the Bangladeshi Hindus, anti-immigrant groups in Assam say they will continue their fight against illegal immigration from Bangladesh.
More than two dozen Assamese ethnic groups started a statewide protest in Assam against steps to amend India’s Citizenship Act.
Indigenous group leader Dilip Bora, president of an Assamese literary body Asamiya Sahitya Sammiloni, said that although Bangladeshi Hindus may be facing persecution in Assam, illegal immigration shouldn’t be allowed.
The Indian government’s step to amend the Citizenship Act is biased against Muslims because it aims to keep the Muslims out of its ambit, Bora, a Gauhati University professor, said.
“In a country like India which follows a secular Constitution we cannot follow a policy welcoming the Hindu immigrants and placing a bar on Muslim immigrants. It’s a totally communal policy and we stand against it,” he told VOA.
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Assam-based local Muslim community leader Hafiz Ahmed said that BJP-led governments in India want to work only in the interest of the Hindus.
The government “does not want to pay attention to the problems of other religious communities, like Muslim and Christian,” Ahmed, who is the convener in Assam of All India Secular Forum, told VOA.
“Now, when the bill to help the illegal Bangladeshi immigrants get Indian citizenship finally becomes amended, the religious harmony in the Assamese society will be disturbed,” Ahmed said. “I also fear that it could also lead to religious riots between Hindus and Muslims.” (VOA)
Along with the undeniable natural beauty, the Kashmir valley has developed a reputation for adventurous activities like trekking, hiking, and river rafting. Kashmir has maintained its charm, allowing us to time-travel into beautiful destinations which make one forget about the stress and worries of life. The hikes in Kashmir offer adventurers to go on a self-discovery trip through nature's lap over the mountains while taking in the breathtaking scenery that surrounds them on their journey. In addition to the hikes, there are many thrilling adventure activities, like rock climbing, rope climbing, etc. Trekking across the region of mountains and lakes will allow you to experience living in the "Paradise on Earth," and you wouldn't want to return to your regular life after that.
The following are some of the finest hiking destinations in Kashmir:
#1: Kashmir Great Lakes Trek: You will be transported to a heavenly and unseen aspect of Kashmir on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. In addition to three high-altitude passes and five river valley crossings, this is the only trip in the Himalayas that includes seven alpine lakes, each of which is a stunning shade of green, blue, or turquoise. The extravagance is limitless and breathtakingly stunning every day: infinite blue sky, a larger-than-life backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, colourful meadows overflowing with wildflowers, river crossings are just a few examples of what you will encounter during the trek.
You will be transported to a heavenly and unseen aspect of Kashmir on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. | Photo by prayer flags on Unsplash
#2: Sonamarg-Vishansar-Bandipora Trek: The Sonamarg-Vishansar-Bandipora trek is a one-of-a-kind experience that provides a glimpse into Kashmir's undiscovered regions. Sonamarg, famously known as the Meadows of Gold, is the starting point for this fascinating journey that is the perfect experience for anyone looking to get away from the frantic tourist rush. This trek is a fascinating journey that allows nature enthusiasts to bask in the splendour of nature's grandeur. The trek goes over many high mountain passes, some as high as 4000 metres in elevation. The hiking route, in addition to providing breathtaking views of the magnificent Vishansar Lake, provides visitors with the chance to see more than 50 alpine lakes.
Sonamarg, famously known as the Meadows of Gold, is the starting point for this fascinating journey. | Photo by YASER NABI MIR on Unsplash
ALSO READ: Top 10 Beautiful Sights To VIsit In Kashmir
#3: Tral-Narastan-Marsar Trek: The Tral-Narastan-Marsar trek is filled with a range of exciting experiences from beginning to end. The hiking trail passes past a waving saffron field, beautiful meadows, and several streams. The path also crosses the Dachigam National Park, where there is an opportunity to see various animal species. Trekkers may take in spectacular views of the high mountains running parallel to them as they cut and pass through Narastan, a Hindu pilgrimage place.
The Tral-Narastan-Marsar trek is filled with a range of exciting experiences from beginning to end. | Wikimedia Commons
#4: Chhatargul-Mahlish-Gangabal: The journey, which passes through beautiful locations such as Chattargul, Mahlish, Kolsar, and Trunkul, provides a peek into an utterly uninhabited wilderness of Kashmir. There are lakes and meadows adorned with flowers along the route as one trek into the alpine wilderness. Trekkers can also enjoy fishing in the crystal clear lakes, camping, or just seeing towering snow-capped mountains while on their journey.
There are lakes and meadows adorned with flowers along the route as one treks into the alpine wilderness. | Wikimedia Commons
#5: Kolahoi Base Camp Trek: The Kolahoi Base Camp trek in Kashmir has been famous since the early 1900s and has been a goal for many seasoned hikers from across the world. While Srinagar serves as the beginning point for the trip, it is in Aru Valley that the actual hiking begins. The Kolahoi Base Camp Trek is a gentle adventure that is ideal for novices and families with children. The breathtaking sight of the peaks rising into the sky on the horizon of the Pirpanjal and Karakoram ranges is certainly worth capturing. It is considered to be one of the most popular treks in the Kashmir valley.
The Kolahoi Base Camp Trek is a gentle adventure that is ideal for novices and families with children. | Wikimedia Commons
Kashmir's natural splendour, with its beautiful valleys and towering mountains, is really unlike anywhere. Trekking through various valleys and peaks while taking in the scenic beauty is something that always calms the heart and provides us with memories that we will remember for a lifetime.
Keywords: Kashmir, Lakes, Alpine, Hiking, Trekking, Treks, Sonamarg, Gangabal, Kolahoi, Chhatargul, Mahlish, Tral, Narastan, Marsar
The Pitru Paksha starts after the Full Moon day, and this day marks the beginning of the waning phase of the Lunar cycle. This event is roughly of 15-day period, and is of great significance. From this day, rituals like Tarpan or Tarpanam and Shradh are carried out to pay respects to dead relatives and ancestors.
It is believed that from the very first day till the last day, the unhappy souls of the deceased return to the Earth to see their family members. So, in order to ensure that the dead attain Moksha, i.e. to get liberation, family members of these souls quench their thirst and satisfy their hunger by performing the Pind Daan, which includes offering food consisting of cooked rice and black sesame seeds. The literal meaning of Pind Daan is the act of satisfying those who no longer exist physically.
For fifteen days, prayers are offered in temples and rituals are performed to help the souls get free from the cycle of birth, life, and death, and attain salvation.
At the same time, the Pitru Paksha is also an important period for people with Pitru Dosha, which means the curse imposed by the ancestors. Hence, in order to ask forgiveness, people perform Shradh rituals and offer food to the crows, who are considered as living beings that represent the dead. It is believed, if the crow eats the offered food, the ancestors are happy and pleased. But, if the crow doesn't eat the offered food and flies away, the ancestors are not happy.
The event of Pitru Paksha is widely observed by Hindus from all over the world, and they perform prayers and rituals in order to gain their ancestors blessings.
At the heart of Bangalore city, a large 300-acre space of lush greenery and heritage stands as a symbol of the city's past, present, and future. Cubbon Park is every child's favourite park, every Bangalorean's haven of fresh air, and altogether, the city's pride.
It stands testament to the past, in terms of the diversity of flora it houses. Bangalore traffic in the recent past has grown into a menace, but the stretch between MG Road and Cubbon Park is always a pleasurable place to stop and wait for the signal to turn green. The gust of wind that blows here, and the smell of mud, coupled with floral scents instantly transports citizens to Old Bangalore, where the weather was fine, and the trees loomed over roads with thick canopies that did not even allow rainwater to penetrate. Cubbon Park is also a historical site, and one of the few remaining monuments of colonial heritage in Central Bangalore. It houses many statues and among them, the most famous is that of Queen Victoria, which faces the St. Mark's Square.
The stretch outside Cubbon Park is cool and well-shaded from the canopy of trees over it. Image source: wikimedia commons
At present, Cubbon Park is known for the cultural hub that it is. It houses Jawahar Bal Bhavan, which is a large theatre that hosts film festivals through the year. Festivals, poetry open mics, and other such shows are conducted on the lawns every Sunday. A small stream runs through the park, where boat rides are held occasionally when the water level is high enough. There is a children's park on one corner, and a government-maintained aquarium, two-storeys tall, with exotic fish.
The Park has been renamed many times in the past. It was originally named Meade's Park, after Sir John Meade, the acting commissioner of Mysore in 1870. It was later changed to Cubbon Park after Sir Mark Cubbon, who was the longest-serving commissioner of the Mysore state. In 1927, the park was renamed after the Mysore Maharaja Sri Krishna Wodeyar, to celebrate his silver jubilee, since the park was developed during the reign of his ancestors. Even though it is officially named Sri Chamrajendra Park, it is still known as Cubbon Park all over the city. In fact, Bangalore was alluded the sobriquet of 'Garden City' because of the rich botanical diversity of this park.
Art Installation at Cubbon Park Image source: wikimedia commons
In many parts of the country, governments have renamed structures, places, and cities to remove traces of colonialism. But, in a city like Bangalore, there is too much evidence of the British rule. Many of the most prominent attractions of the city are known by their British identities despite the change in name. Even the city's name continues to be Bangalore, despite having been changed to Bengaluru. Last year, the British era and its achievements were celebrated in Cubbon Park when Sir Mark Cubbon's statue was moved from the grounds of the Karnataka High Court and placed in the Park.
Keywords: Cubbon Park, Mark Cubbon, British Colonialism, Cultural hub, Garden City