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Four-legged Demon

January 16, 2013

For people belong to different religious faiths in Bangladesh, last year was a terrible year. Their lives and property had become easy prey to communal violence.

Incidents of Sathkhira and of Cox’s Bazaar had made their entries into the front page of dailies. Yet there are many incidents which the mainstream media simply overlooked. Take for instance the case of 12 year old Chakma girl who was abducted and raped by a Bengali on the outskirts of Dhaka. Not a single daily or a TV channel covered the news.

In the wake of attacks on minorities, many traumatized families are leaving Bangladesh.

The minority among the minority communities had severely suffered. Particularly those who are living in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). In a press release, Manusher Jonno Foundation, a Bangladeshi NGO, reveals that 23 indigenous women were raped and murdered in the last six months.

The persecution is still going on and all these are happening when a secular government is in charge of running the country. Till to date, what we have seen that the few perpetrators involved with attacks against the minority people were detained, but their backers and mentors have not yet been arrested.

A sustain campaign is going on in CHT to outnumber the indigenous people. Bengali settlers are still installing themselves in CHT, threatening the bread and butter of thousands of indigenous people who have been living there for hundreds of years. Over the last ten years, population of CHT has unusually increased. This dramatic increase in population is notably visible in the district of Bandarban and its neighboring district of Cox’s Bazar. Even govt.’s own statistics, recent population Census carried out by Govt. sole statistical department Bureau of Statistics, cannot hide this increase.

I often wonder how the Bengalis who once were the oppressed have become the oppressor. Can we diffuse the tension in CHT by simply outnumbering the indigenous people? How does a community like Chakma or Saontal pose a threat to Bangladesh? Do the communal ghosts and residue of Pakistan still exist in our society? Did we do enough to put strong resistance against this evil force?

The story of a detergent’s TVC goes like this: a suited man stopped his car in a traffic signal. An untidy boy heading for his home also stopped his bi-cycle next to his car. The man looked down upon the boy and made a derogatory comment about the boy’s dismal condition. Noticing that, the boy quickly tidied himself up and replied:”You know the difference between you and me is just two wheels! I will soon catch you up!”

I would like to re-phrase the boy’s sentence. The difference between a beast and a man is just two legs! As the barbaric attacks on women and minorities continued unabated, we will soon be evolved into a four-legged demon!

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