The horrific anti-Hindu pogrom launched in Bangladesh from the eight day of Durga Puja onwards, has proven to be the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Hindu response to such persecution and targeted violence in the past has been sporadic and localized protests, and loads of apathy. But that finally seems to be changing.
Protests by Bangladeshi Hindus accompanied to rallying cries of Joy Sri Ram, Har Har Mahadev were the first sign that we were not going to take things lying down anymore. This was followed by more protests in West Bengal, Assam, other parts of Bharat and internationally such as in USA and UK.
Yesterday, ISKCON organized a coordinated series of protests at 740 ISKCON temples across 170 countries. ISKCON devotees performed Harinam Sankirtan ( congregational chanting of the holy name) to condemn the violence in Bangladesh.
At one such protest, holding banners that said, ‘Protect our temples in Bangladesh’ and ‘Stop violence against Hindus’ several devotees gathered at the ISKCON temple in Pune, Maharashtra on Saturday morning and protested against the attacks and killings of Hindu minorities in Bangladesh.
Radheshyam Das, President of ISKCON Pune temple in Maharashtra, Bharat said, “ISKCON has been working for world peace for the last many years in different countries. We work for social causes. ISKCON performed services for the people even in Bangladesh during the Covid crisis. We are protesting peacefully against the attacks in Bangladesh. World leaders should stand with us.”
“The ISKCON temple in Bangladesh was demolished. Some ISKCON devotees were also killed in attacks in the last few days. Women were also attacked. Forceful conversions of Hindus are being done. We demand that the Bangladesh government rebuild the temples demolished by the anti-social elements. Also, amendments should be made in the Bangladeshi law for protection of Hindu women and minority communities. We demand the United Nations and the Indian government take up steps for protection of Hindus and minorities in Bangladesh,” said Shwetdeep Das alias Sanjay Bhosale, vice president of ISKCON.
Members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) also took part in the protests.
The official ISKCON twitter handle also shared photos and videos of peaceful protests by devotees in other locations across Bharat – Habibpur, West Bengal; Punjabi Bagh and Jantar Mantar, New Delhi; Varanasi; Tirupati; Rourkela, Odihsa; Kanpur, UP; Faridabad, Haryana;
Here are some of the videos and images of protests in international locations.
Sri Radharam Das of ISKCON said, “From Tokyo to Toronto, we are conducting prayers and protests about what ever happened in Bangladesh. We hope the Bangladeshi government should take strict steps. We are disheartened over what happened.” Her further stated that the protest will happen peacefully and they want the arrested accused in Bangladesh to be hanged to death.
“Hindus are shocked and saddened by the series of violent attacks on their fellow community members, an ISKCON temple and its members in Bangladesh,” said ISKCON spokesperson Bimal Krishna Dasa earlier.
“As part of the demonstration, participants will express solidarity with the Hindus of Bangladesh and demand justice and safety for them from the country’s government,” he added.
Last Sunday, October 17, ISKCON had held demonstrations outside the Bangladesh Deputy High Commission in Kolkata seeking action against those who carried out the anti-Hindu pogrom in Bangladesh and attacked ISKCON and other Hindu temples and ashrams.
Members of ISKCON Mayapur and Kolkata on Sunday took out a candlelight march, sang kirtans to the accompaniment of ‘khol kartal’ and chanted ‘Hare Krishna’ at both the places. Mayapur is the global headquarters of ISKCON.