See posts, Bangladesh Anti-Hindu Pogrom 1990, and Bangladesh Anti-Hindu Pogrom 1992.
General was welcomed in 2009 and again on India's independence day, August 15, 2012 in Delhi by India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and later by India's (Bengali) President Pranab Mukherji.
Read in Bengali: 2012 http://www.anandabazar.com/15bdesh1.html Anadabazar
Times of India
Ershad on nostalgia trip
Pinak Priya Bhattacharya, TNN 8 December 2009, 05:40am IST
DINHATA: Ailing and bed-ridden, Asit Chakraborty (79) couldn't recognise the face that stared at him at first. Then the man uttered three words "I am Peyara” and Chakraborty instantly knew who the man was. It had been 63 years since Chakraborty had last seen Peyara, the man the world knows as Hussain Muhammad Ershad, the former dictator of Bangladesh. The 79-year-old Ershad returned to his hometown in Cooch Behar's Dinhata to a rousing welcome from the locals. It isn't every day that a former president goes on a morning walk down the dusty streets of Dinhata. Ershad did so on Monday. Accompanied by his son Eric Ershad, he entered India through the border town of Changrabandha. Ershad spent around 30 minutes with Chakraborty, enquiring about his family and other friends who had stayed back in Dinhata. Born in Rangpur (now in Bangladesh), Ershad had studied in Dinhata, his hometown. He left for Rangpur in 1946 after completing his matriculation. Ershad's father left for Bangladesh in 1950. His five brothers remained in Dinhata and have stayed on at their ancestral house. The former president was all praise for India's role in the independence of Bangladesh. "Bangladesh can never repay Indiaâ€™s debt. Without the active cooperation of India, Bangladesh would never have gained independence. India has done a lot for Bangladesh's development and is still playing an important role. After all, India can never deny its responsibility towards its neighbour," Ershad said. Later in the evening, Ershad met two more friends â€” Bijor Roy and Sudhir Saha. Roy recalled that in his schooldays Ershad was a good footballer and played striker. The former president has been savouring local delicacies that includes Boroli, a fish found only in the north Bengal rivers and lasa, a locally grown vegetable which, Ershad claims was his favourite dish. Apart from the local bigwigs who have flocked to his residence next to Dinhata's Forward Bloc office, representatives from the Greater Cooch Behar People's Association "which has been demanding a separate state” met Ershad, seeking his support. The former president remained non-committal. The former Bangladesh president has something else on his mind for his hometown. Ershad wants a rail link between Kolkata and Dinhata, passing through Bangladesh. "I will raise this issue with the Bangladeshi prime minister Sheikh Hasina and also Indian railway minister Mamata Banerjee," Ershad said. So happy is Ershad with his stay in Dinhata that he has already made up his mind to extend the nostalgia trip to December 10. Earlier, he was scheduled to leave on Tuesday.
A letter to Times of India:
It is good to know that dictator General Ershad is enjoying a trip to “Hindu India.” Indians in general and Hindus in particular suffer from amnesia. Let us not forget that Ershad let loose two anti-Hindu pogroms in 1990 and 1992 when thousands of Hindu mandirs, ashrams, smasans, libraries and tens of thousands of homes and businesses were destroyed; mothers and daughters abused. During 1992 pogrom I visited at least half-a-dozen destroyed smasans from Chittagong to Sylhet. During 1990 pogrom I visited dozens of mandirs including the Dhakeswari Mandir torched and destroyed with the deity gone forever. No one was punished. Yet he imprisoned Major Deb for years for demanding reconstruction of the 9th Century Ramna Kali Mandir destroyed by Army of Islamic Republic of Pakistan and its Bengali Islamist allies for absolutely no reason. In 1987 I met his Land Minister Sunil Gupta to ascertain why 1.5 million acres of land, thousands of homes, ponds and businesses were confiscated from Hindus through Enemy Property Act by declaring Hindus enemies of the state. It is time that he apologizes to all Hindus and all Bangladeshis for his sin.
Dr. S. G. Dastidar
December 8, 2009