Here is an appeal by the Indian Subcontinent Partition Documentation Project to Bangladesh Prime Minister Mrs. Hashina Wazed as she and her Awami League Party to bring back secular Constitution as promised in her winning election manifesto. This was written before adopting a Constitution Amendment in 2011.
Indian Subcontinent Partition Documentation Project Inc.: ISPaD
c/o Politics, Economics and Law Department, State University of New York, Old Westbury, NY 11568
February 21, 2011
The Honorable Sheikh Hashina Wazed
Prime Minister of Bangladesh
Government of People’s Republic of Bangladesh Old Sangsad BhabanTejgaon, Dhaka 1215, Bangladesh
Dear Prime Minister Wazed:
We are writing on this auspicious day of 21st February on behalf of well-wishers of Bangladesh living in the U.S. We understand that Bangladesh is planning to keep non-secular Constitution alive with “Islam as State Religion” and keeping an Islamic verse written in Arabic as the national symbol. We respectfully urge you to bring back the secular Constitution that all people of Bangladesh fought for. The proposal also betrays the election pledge made by the Awami League Party, and sacrifices made by language martyrs. This proposal, if adopted, will retain institutional discrimination against Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian minorities and against many secular Muslims making them third class citizens of a country for which they shed their blood. As you very well know that the vast majority killed by Pakistani Army and Bengali Razakars for the liberation of Bangladesh were Hindus, leaving aside Awami leaders and Muslim activists. We believe this effort to keep an unjust Constitution is the mirror image of the efforts made by some to deny the role of Sheikh Mujib in creating Bangladesh, but in this case the unjust Constitution denies the disproportionate sacrifice of one group for independence of the nation. We need the minorities to be equal partners in the development of the nation.
We are pleading to you, to the ruling Awami League and to the Parliament to reconsider the proposal and bring back the secular non-discriminatory Constitution of 1972 that the nation fought for. Please keep “Joi Bangla” in Bengali script as the national symbol. For some reason if you still plan to keep the Islamic verse in Arabic, we would like to suggest that please also include “Bhagaban Amader Desh O Dasher Mangal Karun,” in Bengali alphabet.
Dr. Sabyasachi Ghosh Dastidar, New York
Dr. Jiten Roy, New York
Mr. Ramen Nandi, New Jersey
Mr. Dilip Chakravorty, New York
Mr. Pratip Dasgupta, New York
Dr. Shefali Sengupta, New York
Dr. Rudtranath Talukdar, Texas
Mr. Ratan Barua, New York
Mr. Pabitra Chaudhuri, New York
Copy: President of Bangladesh; Speaker of the Parliament; Leader of Opposition; Law Minister; Human Rights groups; Minority Rights groups; News media; U.S. Congressmen Crowley and Pallone; USCIRF; Bangladesh Ambassadors in D.C. and U.N.