The visuals and documentaries on the lives of Hindus in Bangladesh that surface regularly on various platforms are not only heart-rendering but also disturbing. In a recent documentary shared by Bangladesh’s DBC News channel, a Hindu family of 3 young women and their elderly aunt reveals the atrocities they have suffered which have rendered them homeless despite having a land of their own.
Sumitra De shares that there is no end to her miseries. She can’t even sleep at night. Tears pour down her wrinkled, hapless eyes. Her brother and brother’s wife had passed away in 2009 and 2013, leaving three little girls. Sumitra Devi and her other brother decided to take care of these three nieces; none of them had married. Unfortunately, Sumitra Devi’s brother who was the sole breadwinner of the house doing odd jobs also passed away due to health issues and lack of treatment. Sumitra Devi is now left with the three nieces who are pursuing their studies. One of these three nieces is working on a government project while pursuing her studies and earns a meagre sum of 8000 Bangladeshi Taka. This is the only income that this family of four has to run their kitchen and home.
Sumitra Devi laments that she cannot cook any good food for the girls. She goes to the market and picks rotten vegetables like leaves and potatoes so that she can buy those at cheap prices and cook those for the girls. She is scared wondering what would happen to these girls after she is gone. For reasons unknown, the elderly lady is also not given the elderly pension that women of her age are provided by the government.
However, their agonies are not limited to this. The family had land and a home of their own. But a large-scale project that has come up near their land had claimed the land that belonged to this family, alleges one of the girls. The video shows that a huge establishment has been constructed by the name of Zarina Sikder Gate. Their land was grabbed making a road to the project and the Hindu family was ousted from their own home.
Despite having a house of their own, these three girls, along with their ageing aunt, have been forced to take shelter in a rented shabby and broken tin hut. The living conditions in which these defenceless women have been forced to survive are dreadful. “We have our own home, but are forced to live in someone else’s place,” laments an elderly Sumitra De.
One of the girls highlighted how they were being harassed by random men passing by their home. Earlier, when their uncle was alive, their life was a little better. But now they are only left with the little income brought home by one of the sisters. The last assets they had, their land, has also been snatched from them.
News of grabbing Hindu lands including temple lands has been surfacing regularly from present-day Bangladesh. In most cases, the land is grabbed by influential Muslims who are more often than not hand-in-gloves with the authorities. In several instances, those who are accused of land grabbing belong to the ranks in the administration and political hierarchy. The Hindus continue to be a soft target and the miscreants are further encouraged since they know that the former will not be given any protection either by politicians or police. The future of the Hindus in Bangladesh, thus, remains precarious and under constant threat.