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Samakal
Date: 26 January 2019
News Title: "Dhaka Commentary Lauds Law Enforcers for Ensuring Safety of Minorities During 11th National Polls"

Editorial: "Remedy for Minorities' Fear"

 

It would not be an exaggeration to say that elections are frightening for minorities in Bangladesh. Past experiences suggest that things like arson terrorism are nothing uncommon during elections in Bangladesh. Idols get vandalized. Some of the minority communities get assaulted. Shops get looted. Earning people get beaten up. Minority families become forced to hide their adult female members inside the house. Whereas, they are also the citizens of Bangladesh. They born in the lands of Bangladesh. They fought for Bangladesh. They sacrificed their lives during the liberation war of 1971. Those who vandalize idols and attack minorities, they are not unfamiliar, they are very familiar faces. They either live in neighboring houses or in neighboring villages. They get invited to the houses of minorities during Puja [a prayer ritual performed by Hindus] or other occasions. Such harmony and love for each other disappear due to the practice of evil-politics. People forget about communal harmony. People become violent like animals. But is everyone turn into an animal? The answer is no. If a hundred people come to burn the temples of minorities, a few people try to stop them. Because everyone does not turn into an animal. Regardless of the number of people who try to stop such mayhem, in most cases, they failed to stop the extremists. That is why minorities in Bangladesh remain worried before and after the polls. There is a UN declaration for minorities. The 'Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities' was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1992. In the first article of the declaration it has been said, "States shall protect the existence and the national or ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic identity of minorities within their respective territories and shall encourage conditions for the promotion of that identity." It further states, "States shall adopt appropriate legislative and other measures to achieve those ends." The essence of the UN declaration is – the state has to emphasize on protecting the dignity of the minority groups and ensuring safety and development of them. The UN declaration for minorities has been completely implemented in Bangladesh. Whereas, in the past, minorities had been attacked before and after the elections. The scenario was quite different during the 2018 election. No incident of torture on minority families has been reported anywhere in the country. There was no such fear, anxiety, or uncertainty before and after the 2018 election like the previous elections in the past. People went to the poll centers peacefully. They exercised their voting rights. They went back home relaxed and slept in peace at night. Total 79 candidates of minority communities contested in the 11th national parliamentary election. Among them, 18 have been elected. It is a big achievement for minorities. The law enforcers should be thanked for ensuring the safety of minority groups during the polls. We expect the government would continue to remain beside minorities so that they do not have to face any kind of insecurity. If the government remains sincere, it would not be difficult for the authority to fulfill this expectation of the minority groups.