Bangladesh sees 7.5 million drop in Hindus in 50 years
According to statisticians, with the increase in population there should have been 20.2 million, but instead there are only 12.7 million. Among the causes are emigration due to discrimination and a high mortality rate due to poor living conditions. Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council: "In 1971 we did not fight to create an Islamic state".
Dhaka (AsiaNews) - Bangladesh today has 7.5 million fewer Hindus than it should have had according to the proportions of the religious communities at the time of the country's birth, fifty years ago. This is a figure that is causing discussion just a few weeks before the anniversary of the end of the war of independence, which took place on December 16, 1971.
The first census - held in 1974 - recorded a 13% share of Hindus; today, however, there are only 8.5%. Based on these figures - and bearing in mind that in the meantime Bangladesh's population has grown from 76 million to around 150 million - statisticians concluded that there should be 20.2 million Hindus in the country. Instead, the latest census data recorded just 12.7 million.
The Hindus are the only religious community in the country to record this heavy decrease in population. Among the causes indicated by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) are low fertility rates, but also emigration (often due to discrimination) and high mortality rates (due to poor living conditions).
The decrease of Hindus in what is now Bangladesh is a phenomenon that began even before independence. Suffice it to say that in 1901 the community made up 33% of the population. However, despite the fact that in 1971 the country was born proclaiming equal rights for Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Christians, in practice Hindus do not feel safe, as recent clashes during the Durga Puja festivities brought to the fore.
My uncle's land," says Proshan Jet, a young Hindu from Gazipur, "was forcibly taken away by Muslims. We are often persecuted because of our faith. For this reason many of our relatives have left for India or Europe". This is also confirmed by Rana Dasgupta, Secretary General of the Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council: "Hindus are forced to leave the country because they do not have equal rights. We, people of all faiths, in 1971 did not fight to create an Islamic state".