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12 August 2008

Hindus Still "Enemies" In Bangladesh

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Press release
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Dhaka, 11 August 2008: The Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities (HRCBM), an NGO in special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, has, by its Bangladesh Chapter‘s Secretary General Mr Rabindranath Trivedi, who is also an ex additional secretary to the Government of Bangladesh, filed a writ petition to the High Court Division bearing Writ Petition No 6092 of 2008 on Sunday the 10th August 2008. The bench constituted with Justice Khadem-ul-Islam and Justice Masuk Hossain Ahmed of a High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh, have received the writ petition for hearing.

The Vested Property Act represents a major source of insecurity and human rights violation against the Hindu community in Bangladesh. It is clear that the VPA is detrimental to the minorities and religious harmony of Bangladesh.

Former Deputy Attorney General of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh and renowned lawyer Barrister Nikhilesh Dutta will move the writ on behalf of the petitioner.

It may be recalled that the VPA derives from the Enemy Property (Custody and Registration) Order II of 1965, promulgated in Pakistan following a brief war between India and Pakistan in September 1965. This order was directed against the Hindu minority (perceived as an enemy), and was used as an instrument for appropriating land belonging to Hindus accused of supporting India. After Bangladesh won independence from Pakistan, then President of Bangladesh Mujib-ur-Rahman, in his Order No-29 of 1972, changed the nomenclature of the act to "Vested Property Act", without altering the contents of the law.

The Government of Bangladesh has, within the framework of this law, taken possession of properties declared to belong to the 'enemy', by appropriating the property of members of the Hindu minority who had migrated to India, or by appropriating the property of people who were heirs or co–owners. Furthermore, to this day, interest groups of political parties in power and individuals continue to appropriate property belonging to the Hindu community, and indeed to do so with the complicity of the authorities and some influential people.

In a significant number of cases, Hindus are dispossessed of their property even when they are the legal owners of such assets. At least 2,000,000 acres of land have been seized from Hindu landowners under the Vested Property Act.

Posted by the Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities (HRCBM)

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Surajit Dasgupta treats no individual, organisation or institution as a holy cow.