Friday, May 2, 2014

BHBCUC, USA’s Meeting with the US Ambassador to Bangladesh, New York, March 2014

Press Release

For Immediate Release

New York

March 17, 2014

BHBCUC, USA’s Meeting with the US Ambassador to Bangladesh,

His Excellency Dan W. Mozena Held

Dear Minority Rights Advocates/Activists:

Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist & Christian Unity Council, USA is held a meeting with the US Ambassador to Dhaka the Honorable Dan W. Mozena on Sunday, March 16, 2014 at the Gulshan Terrace of Woodside, Queens, New York City. Ambassador Mozena accompanied by two Department of State officials, Dr. Erick Eide and Mr. Christopher Elms, arrived promptly at 9: 45 AM and were greeted by 350 to 400 members of the Bangladeshi-Americans belonging to various Hindu, Buddhist and Christian organizations, a dozen print media and TV cameras (BHBCUC, USA apologizes to the scores of people who, responding to our invitation, enthusiastically came there braving the Sunday morning cold to express their solidarity with the victims of religious & ethnic cleansing in Bangladesh and let the Hon. Ambassador know that America must act to protect them).

Seated on the stage were the three co-presidents of the organization Dr. Jiten Roy, Mr. Julius Gomez and Mr. Ranabir Barua, the Honorable Ambassador Mozena and the two other State Department officials: Dr. Erick Eide and Mr. Christopher Elms. And, the meeting was very efficiently conducted by the organization’s Vice Chairman/Board of Director and an articulate speaker Mr. Bidyut Das.

The meeting started with Anandita offering the ambassador a bouquet of flowers and President Julius Gomez offering him a gift on behalf of BHBCUC, USA.

Figure 1Ambassador Mozena with Presidents Dr. Jiten Roy & Mr. Julius Gomez

Ambassador Mozena was introduced by young Attorney Rakesh Roy and Professor Dastidar by Mr. Akash Das, an intern of BHBCUC, USA. All the presentations were supported by relevant Power Point slides containing pictures portraying atrocities as well as data, which were prepared and/or projected on the screen simultaneously with the speech by BHBCUC, USA Advisor Mr. Ranjit Roy.

The speakers included Distinguished Professor of SUNY Old Westbury Campus, Dr. Sachi Ghosh Dastidar, Dr. Dwijen Bhattacharjya, Lecturer in Bengali/Columbia University, Mr. Amit Chowdhury, Director Policy, Mr. Rup Kumar Bhowmick, Director Communications & Publications, and Ms. Sathi Roy.

Following the welcome address by Mr. Amit Chowdhury, Director Policy, Mr. Rup Kumar Bhowmuck, Director of Communications & Publications, apprised the audience of the fact that BHBCUC, USA was a politically non-aligned Human Rights advocacy group, focused only on helping the religious & ethnic minorities of Bangladesh regain their equal rights and the right to live in their ancestral homeland, Bangladesh, with human dignity and safety of life and property. He pointed out that this organization brutally honest when it comes to presenting facts about which political party or its leaders & cadres have played what role in this on-going state-sponsored campaign of religious & ethnic cleansing in Bangladesh.

In presenting the Position Paper on behalf of the organization, Dr. Bhattacharjya ( henceforth “the paper”) started out by arguing that the vicious campaign of blatant discrimination and religious & ethnic cleansing that has raged in Bangladesh for decades, has been a state sponsored, goal-oriented and targeted campaign. The paper substantiated the claim by citing Kennedy Report of November 1971, Sydney Shanberg’s (NY Times Dhaka correspondent in 1971 who is world famous for his role in “Killing Field”) reports, both of which says that particularly the Hindus were targeted in 1971 – their houses were marked “H,” reminiscent of what the Nazis did to the Jewish population during World War-II.

Then by referring as well as showing in slides such notices served by the Islamists’ as “Leave Bangladesh or face dire consequences,” “Islam has been declared state religion, and therefore you must convert to Islam or leave the country,” “Hindus must convert to Islam if they want to vote., etc.,” including in January 2014, the paper argued that the campaign has always been driven by the Islamic nationalist’s and extremists goal of ridding the country of its minorities through violence.

By describing select heart rending cases of atrocities that occurred between 1988 and 2014, e.g., that of the Logang Massacre of the indigenous people on April 10, 1992 by Prime Minister Begum Zia’s armed forces and Muslim settlers (referring to the letter that 17 US Congressmen wrote Prime Minister Begum Zia expressing concern it was stated that 600 residents of that village were systematically killed after raping their women and looting their dwelling houses), the Banskhali Massacre, the slaughtering of the internationally famous Buddhist monk Gnanajyoti Mahasthabir, Principal Muhuri, the celebration of their election victory by the cadres of BNP and Jamaat-
e- Islami by raping 200 girls in one night (The Daily Star Editorial), and the case of rape-murder where they urinated in the mouth of dying person begin for a drop of water, the paper further argued that when the deadly combination of BNP and Jamaat-E- Islami returns to power Bangladesh becomes a “killing field” for its minorities as well as the secular Muslims (the case of the cadres of BNP gang raping a secular Muslim girl after their election victory in 2001 was cited).

Although everything that was included in the Position Paper was shown in the Power Point slides along with the presentation, the Hon. Ambassador was also provided two books: one our own publication Bangladesh: a portrait of covert Genocide (2004) and Professor Barakat’s book (about the effects of Enemy Property Act on the minorities), in which such documents as the letter that 17 US Congressmen wrote to Begum Zia in November 1992, expressing concern over the Logang Massacre, the Kennedy Report of 1971, the Shanberg Report, American Taliabn John Walker Lindh’s interview with CNN On Line etc., were conspicuously flagged.

Referring to Professor Barakat’s resercah the paper Dr. Bhattacharjya told the audience that BNP and Awami League both seized the highest quantiy of peroperty during the time they were in power, and, thus, there is little difference among parties when it comes to minority persecution/cleansing.

Upon firmly establishing that the minorities have been persecuted regardless of which party has been in power, varying only in terms of the degree of intensity, the paper argued that while the goal of the Islamic extremists ( Jamaat, Shibieer and its allies) behind this campaign has been to (i) rid the country of its “infidel” population, i.e., the Hindus, Buddhists and Christian including the indigenous peoples, so the country could be turned into a monolithic Islamic; the goal of the Islamic nationalist BNP has been also been the same for a different reason: reduce Awami League’s vote bank by 14%, so it could never win the parliamentary election again. The Awami League’s goal has been totally different -- by not preventing or stopping pogroms by using the the police or armed forces, when the attacks are conducted against the minorities, it has always wanted to show the world how evil BNP and Jamaat-E- Islami are. Thus, to all the parties the minorities are simply an expandable commodity, and not human beings like them.

The paper then pointed out how BNP reinstated the killers and murderers of 1971 into politics and started the process of Islamizing Bangladesh through the passage of the 5th amendment and how Lt. General Ershad firmly established Islam as the state religion through the 8th Amendment, thus rendering the minorities as 2nd rate citizens and other religions as less important. It also pointed out that Awami League and its so called secularist allies put a permanent seal on the issue by reaffirming what Lt. General Ershad had done to the minorities by passing the 8th Amendment or the State Religion bill. Dr. Bhatatcharjya argued that by taking this unthinkable backward action Awami League reverted to its original character that it had when it was born as the Awami Muslim League.

The paper further argued that Bangladesh experienced an astronomical rise in Islamic militancy during the BNP-Jamaat rule between 2001 and 2006. It pointed out that Prime Minister Begum Zia - Nijami’s government provided shelter to the shipload of Al-Qaeda soldiers who entered Bangladesh by M. V. Mecca after the fall of Kandahar.

By citing the American Taliabn John Walker Lindh’s interview with CNN On Line, the paper pointed out that they sent a full Brigade of Bangalee jihadists to Afghanistan to fight alongside Bin Laden’s’ Ansar Al Islam and the Urdu speaking Pakistani brigade. He clearly told the Ambassador that the combination of BNP and Jamaat is lethal one, which brought Bangladesh to the brink of being turned into a semi Taliban state. The paper citing two famous reports established that Islamic Chatra Shibeer is the third most danger non-governmental armed terrorist group in the world and hence must be banned along with Jamaat-E- Islamic, which is its funding source.

He said that in 1971 it is today’s leaders of the Jamaat-E-Islami who collborated w ith the pakistani army in the killing of 3 million unarmed civilians raping of 200, 000 women and the exodus of nealry 10 million people to India, majority of whom were minorities. Pointing out that a lot is being said about the trial of the War Criminals, but BHBCUC, USA holds the postion that if anyone is found guilty of crime agsint humanity in during the war or afterwards, that person must be brought to justice like the Nazis are being tried and punished if found.

The paper also pointed out how the minorities were shocked and stunned again and again by the centrist party of Awami League and its secular democratic allies. This included reference to the Father of the nation Bangobondhu’s refusal to return the Ramna Kali Temple to the Hindus after liberation, deliberate failure to to repeal the Enemy Property Act (thus allowing successive government seize 2.8 million acres of land from the minorities), and create Hindu, Buddhist and Christian Foundations along with the Islamic Foundations that he had created through legislation.

He criticized the Bangobondhu government for looking the other way when the Islamic nationalists & extremists desecrated deities and temples during the Durga Pooja in October 1972, thus signaling to the Islamists that minority persecution was all right in secular democratic Bangladesh as it had been in Islamic Pakistan.

The paper accused Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government for all the above plus her failure to prosecute the perpetrators of crime against the minorities despite the existence Shahabuddin Commissions’ report which lists thousands of them.

He also pointed out how it took decades before the minorities got access to the Ramna Kali Temple and finally repeal the Enemy or Vested Property Act, under tremendous international pressure, which was still an exercise in chicanery in that the losers of property , unlike the Jews of Nazi Germany or the Armenians of Turkey, cannot reclaim their property. He also criticized Prime Minister Hasina for her failure failure to take decades before addressing the issues only under tremendous international pressure (e.g. rebuilding the Buddhists Temples under international pressure but not the hundreds of Hindu Temples that have been destroyed). The position Paper also criticized Prime Minister Hasina for her failure to implement the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord of 1997 that she herself had signed.

The paper pointed out that although whenever a minority candidate was nominated they won the parliamentary election, e.g., 14 in the 2008 election, the centrist Awami League and its allies refuse to nominate them, and that there is not single cabinet minister in the current cabinet, whereas in India there have been several Muslim Presidents and even the current External Affairs Minister is a Muslim.

The paper pointed out that due to the campaign of discrimination and atrocities there has been an exodus of 16 million minorities to India since 1971, who live there as stateless people for India doesn’t grant asylum to Bangladesh’s minorities and thus they were not economic migrants, which is what has been claimed by the agents of BNP and Jamaat, who have consistently denied that minority persecution has ever occurred in Bangladesh.

Having thus very fairly criticizing all the political parties and arguing that perpetrators of crime against the minorities are primarily the cadres of BNP and Jamaat, Dr. Bhattacharjya profusely praised Awami League for completely separating the state and Mosque/Church and for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s stellar records in combating terrorism, women empowerment, child mortality, economic development, generation of electricity, etc and that her government does not bar the promotions due to the minorities which is why they vote for the secularists and that he himself would also vote for Awami League, if he were to go back to Bangladesh. He clearly let the ambassador know that, as in every nation, the minorities always tend to vote for the relatively more secular party and they will thus vote for Awami League and its allies, as would he himself.

Dr. Bhattacharjya, gratefully acknowledged the assistance the secular democratic people of Bangladesh have provide whenever the minorities have have come under attack by the cadres of BNP and jamaat and pointed out that in every country the minorities have been able to survive and even regain their rights only with the help of the secular democratic forces of the majority group and that the same is the case in Bangladesh, too.

Having said that, he urged the Ambassador to support the secular democratic forces in Bangladesh and roll the country back into a secular democratic state like his predecessor Ambassador Moriarty did in Nepal.

He pointed out that the religious minorities of Bangladesh looked up to the United States to device a permanent solution because it has done so all over the world, e.g., in East Timor, South Sudan, Bosnia and the likes.

Dr. Bhattacharjya suggested that the US take the following steps to accomplish that goal:

i. Advise BNP and Jamat-E- Islami to end their vicious campaign of religious & ethnic cleansing in Bangladesh.

ii. Advise Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to take precautionary measures whenever attacks on the minorities are anticipated, and not use them to show the world how evil the BNP and Jamaat are for the world already knows that.

iii. Encourage Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to constitutionally uphold secular democracy (as opposed to Islamic democracy that her party has perpetuated by reaffirming Islam as the state religion through the 15th Amendment to the constitution).

iv. Encourage Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to enact a Hate Crime Law and try the perpetrators of crime against the country’s minorities under that law in a special tribunal, starting the process using the Justice Shahabuddin Report or Probe Commission report.

v. Encourage Prime Minister Hasina to create separate foundations for the Hindus, Buddhists and Christians like the existing Islamic foundation.

vi. Encourage Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to complete the trial and punishment of the perpetrators of crimes against humanity (If this is done the Islamist will not dare conduct pogroms against the minorities and secular Muslims of the country. Trial of those criminals is as non-negotiable as that of the Nazis, RSS and).

vii. Encourage Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to empower the country’s minorities politically and economically.

viii. Advise Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to rehabilitate and compensate the victims of violence by rebuilding their places of worship, dwelling houses that have ever been destroyed by the religious nationalists and extremists, and making arrangements for dealing with their psychological trauma.

ix. Encourage Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ban religious extremists parties like Jamaat-e-Islami, Islami Chatra Shibir and Islami Oikya Jote who have links to terrorist activities as per proposal of European Parliament.

x. Advise Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to fully implement the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord of 1997, so the indigenous peoples of Chittagong Hill tracts may live in peace.

xi. Encourage Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to empower the country’s minorities politically and economically (Please note that, in her current cabinet there is not a single full minister from among the minority groups.)

xii. Consistently promote and support the secular democratic forces.

xiii. Provide a permanent solution to the problems facing the minorities of Bangladesh like you did in East Timor, South Sudan, Bosnia and the likes.

Dr. Bhattacharjya ended the presentation of the position paper by reiterating three requests to the Hon. Ambassador:

i. Consistently promote and support the secular democratic forces in Bangladesh.

ii. Roll Bangladesh back into a secular democracy that it was at birth.

iii. Device a permanent solution to the problem facing Bangladesh’s religious and ethnic minorities.

Professor Sachi Dastidar’s valuable paper focused on the minority exodus of over 50 million people under duress, which was supported by a detailed statistical analysis, very much like the papers he previously presented at two Congressional Hearings in Washington D.C., in 2008 and 2011.

Ms. Sathi Roy’s insightful paper focused on the use of rape and conversion as tools of choice in the campaign of religious and ethnic cleansing. It argued that when these tools are used in combination the victims have no alternative but to leave the country because no parents want to witness their daughters violated again and again in front of their eyes.

Responding to the presentations, Ambassador Mozena held the hands of the introducer from the young generation, Attorney Rakesh Roy and Akash Das, and said, they were the future of Bangladesh.

He said having traveled throughout Bangladesh he noticed that at the deeper level the majority group was willing to live side by side with the minorities as they have for centuries; however that he has also witnessed this harmony disrupted through violence against the minorities again and again, in 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, etc. He argued that in order to maintain that history of peaceful coexistence Bangladesh’s majority group must respect the rights and dignity of the minorities. He said a few times that he personally believed and also it was the U. S. policy to protect the minorities everywhere. The ambassador said that Bangladesh could not make progress complete neglecting the minorities, and hence minority persecution must stop.

The Hon. Ambassador said he believed in Lord Krishna’s statement that he is present inside every human being, and thus he believes that people must love each other. He ended his speech by thanking BHBC, USA for hosting this event.

In the question/Answer session, Dr. Jiten Roy asked: “We hear that another election might be held soon. But experience shows that, another election is unlikely to help the democratic process because the opposition parties never go to the parliament. What another election would certainly do is cause another wave of atrocities against the country’s minorities followed by yet another wave of minority exodus. So, what would be the point of another election soon?

The ambassador skillfully avoided this question.

The meeting ended with the thank You note from Mr. Ranabir Barua, President who had previously introuduced Councilman Weprin to the audience.

Finally, on a different note we would like our fellow human rights advocates/ activistsworldwide to know that, the man who has created counter-Oikya Parishad committees in various places defying the central committee yet claiming that he was the international coordinator of this organization, and who had his surrogate writers write articles in New York's weeklies likening Major General C.R. Datta to the traitors Jogendra Mandal and Rasaraj Mandal and then e-mailed to most of you in order to defame him ( He also did the same thing with the General Secretary of the Central Committee Advocate RananDas-Gupta the prosecutor of Delwar Hossain Syedee and Salhauddin Qader Chowdhury), simply because they refused to make Oikya Parishad a tool for promoting the his political masters, called many people of New York City trying to dissuade them from coming to our event. Recipients of that villain’s call contacted us one after another to find out what was going on, but did show up, thus overcrowding the hall, and raising the number of attendees to well above 350 ( Journalists told us they never saw so many people show up at a meeting so early in the morning and then attend it for three hours on their feet.)

Thank you.


Mr. Rup Kumar Bhowmick, Director Communications & Publications

On Behalf of

Presidents: Dr. Jiten Roy Ph. D., Mr. Julius Gomez & Mr. Ranabir Barua

General Secretary: Dwijen Bhattacharjya, Ph. D. & Treasurer: Mr. Dilip Chakraborty

Chairman/Board of Directors: Mr. Shyamal Sharma

Vice Chairman/Board of Directors: Mr. Bidyut Das

Members Secretary: Mr. Ranjit Bhaduri

Director Policy : Mr. Amit Chowdhury & Director Organizaiton: Mr. Bappi Sen Chowdhury

No comments: