Violence Against Minorities in Bangladesh

18th December is celebrated as the Minorities Rights Day every year. Although messages of equality and justice are proclaimed regularly in social media, have we ever looked at the real scenario. Around 9.4 percent of the population of Bangladesh belongs to the religious minority and around 1.8 percent belong to the ethnic minority. For years, these people have fallen victim to oppression, inequality, and violence.

Increase of Violence against Ethnic Minority:

In 2015, 85 girls from the ethnic minority communities became victims of violence. A report published by Oxfam in 2007 showed that, more and more women and girls from ethnic minorities had been falling prey to violence, which includes rape and gang rape, attempted rape, killing after a rape, physical assault, abduction, sexual harassment and trafficking. It seems that the fate of religious and ethnic minority communities did not change in independent Bangladesh at all.

Increase of Violence against Religious Minority:
Bangladesh is a Muslim majority country but secularism is a basic principle of the constitution. But in the past couple of years, Bangladesh has seen a sharp rise in religious extremism. On November 10, 2017, at least 30 Hindu homes were burnt to the ground by thousands of protesters, predominantly Muslims, after a local Hindu uploaded a ‘blasphemous Facebook posting’ insulting Islam and the Prophet in Rangpur. Around 8000 people attacked the Hindu village and it was mayhem. In January 2017, the UN published a report that showed there were 1,471 incidents of violence against religious minority groups.

What Leads People To Such Violence:
Crimes against minority groups generally result from extreme prejudice. Offenders may not always be motivated by hate. Sometimes they may commit crime out on anger or sheer ignorance. Religious and Political ideologies sometimes don’t align and people seem to be really unacceptable and intolerant towards the views of others. People in Bangladesh are ethnocentric. But this ethnocentric attitude can give rise to racism, cultural violence, and insensitivity.

What to do to Prevent such Violence:

Act- In times of moral crisis, maintaining neutrality is the worst form of sin. Your apathy may be regarded as acceptance. Always stand up and speak out loud.
Support the Victims- As a member of the mainstream society, it’s a responsibility on our part to stand by the victims of the minority groups.
Educate yourself and Others- Start by educating yourself with different definitions of minority groups. Research about them and learn the differences.
Teach Children Tolerance and Acceptance- Children learn from their families. The bias behavior usually develops from the family. Outside the home, schools must also remain vigilant to provide lessons of acceptance and tolerance.
The world can do with one less opinion- Social media today is all about judgment and hate speech. It’s very important to keep track of our words in social media because our judgment of an incident might be completely incorrect. It is always okay not to have an opinion on the things which we don’t know about. The world has so many opinions, it can certainly do with one less.

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