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Many Bangladeshi Hindus feel increasingly Unsafe in Muslim-majority nation Bangladesh, are planning to move to Hindu-Majority India

Hindu community leaders in Bangladesh said 32 Hindus have been killed this year and allege more than 550 Hindu temples have been vandalized

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Chittaranjan Arya, a Hindu priest of a temple of goddess Kali in Meherpara village of Narsingdi district, Bangladesh, lies on bed after being hacked by unidentified assailants, Aug. 23, 2016. (P. Chandra/VOA)
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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.

An idol of Hindu goddess Kali is vandalized in Serajganj, Bangladesh, Nov. 6, 2016. According to the Hindu rights activists, this year more than 550 cases of attacks on Hindu temples and idols have taken place in Bangladesh. (S. Newaz/VOA)
An idol of Hindu goddess Kali is vandalized in Serajganj, Bangladesh, Nov. 6, 2016. According to the Hindu rights activists, this year more than 550 cases of attacks on Hindu temples and idols have taken place in Bangladesh. (S. Newaz/VOA)

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.

Legal status

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)

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FIFA World Cup 2018: Indian Cuisine becomes the most sought after in Moscow

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Indian cuisine in FIFA World cup
Indian dishes available in Moscow during FIFA World Cup 2018, representational image, wikimedia commons

June 17, 2018:

Restaurateurs Prodyut and Sumana Mukherjee have not only brought Indian cuisine to the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018 here but also plan to dish out free dinner to countrymen if Argentina wins the trophy on July 15.

Based in Moscow for the last 27 years, Prodyut and Sumana run two Indian eateries, “Talk Of The Town” and “Fusion Plaza”.

You may like to read more on Indian cuisine: Indian ‘masala’, among other condiments spicing up global food palate.

Both restaurants serve popular Indian dishes like butter chicken, kebabs and a varied vegetarian spread.

During the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

The Mukherjees, hailing from Kolkata, are die-hard fans of Argentina. Despite Albiceleste drawing 1-1 with Iceland in their group opener with Lionel Messi failing to sparkle, they believe Jorge Sampaoli’s team can go the distance.

“I am an Argentina fan. I have booked tickets for a quarterfinal match, a semifinal and of course the final. If Argentina goes on to lift

During the World Cup, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia
FIFA World Cup 2018, Wikimedia Commons.

“We have been waiting for this World Cup. Indians come in large numbers during the World Cup and we wanted these eateries to be a melting point,” he added.

According to Cutting Edge Events, FIFA’s official sales agency in India for the 2018 World Cup, India is amongst the top 10 countries in terms of number of match tickets bought.

Read more about Indian cuisine abroad: Hindoostane Coffee House: London’s First Indian Restaurant.

Prodyut came to Moscow to study engineering and later started working for a pharmaceutical company here before trying his hand in business. Besides running the two restaurants with the help of his wife, he was into the distribution of pharmaceutical products.

“After Russia won the first match of the World Cup, the footfall has gone up considerably. The Indians are also flooding in after the 6-9 p.m. game. That is the time both my restaurants remain full,” Prodyut said.

There are also plans to rope in registered fan clubs of Latin American countries, who will throng the restaurants during matches and then follow it up with after-game parties till the wee hours.

“I did get in touch with some of the fan clubs I had prior idea about. They agreed to come over and celebrate the games at our joints. Those will be gala nights when both eateries will remain open all night for them to enjoy,” Prodyut said.

Watching the World Cup is a dream come true for the couple, Sumana said.

“We want to make the Indians who have come here to witness the spectacle and feel at home too. We always extend a helping hand and since we are from West Bengal, we make special dishes for those who come from Bengal,” she added. (IANS)