Hindus Uprooted By Bangladesh Land Administration
Kanuria Mukshudpur under Gopalganj distric filed case of release his ancestral property from VP(Kh) list under section 14 ( Kha) , but Local land officials including Tahsildar in connivance of political goons are spoiling Sheikh Hasina’s good efforts of transferring the property to the owner.
This sort of reports of thousand grievances pouring in different land offices in Bangladesh.
The Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said, ‘The scrapping of Section 14 (kha) of the Vested Property Act had dispelled the complexities over such properties of Hindus. It may be recalled that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in July 2012 asked the Deputy Commissioners (DCs) to perform their duties sincerely for the welfare of the common people as well as to give special attention to rural development and creating more employments. "Remember, the facilities you get, including salaries and allowances, come from the incomes of the common people. Your main objective should be to work for them and you should keep this in mind all the time,” Sheikh Hasina told the DCs while addressing the inaugural session of the 3-day Deputy Commissioners Conference 2012 at her office.
About the government’s ongoing move on digitisation of land records, Sheikh Hasina directed the DCs to ensure correct recording of the land so that the real owners are not harassed. Urging the DCs to be the servants (sebok) of the common people, the Prime Minister also sought their cooperation in fulfilling the pledges of the government given to the common people. She stressed starting the development works from the very beginning of the fiscal year and also urged the DCs to enforce the Vested Property Return (amendment) Act 2011 properly in their respective areas. Mentioning that a transparent, accountable and pro-development administration is needed to build a democratic, moderate and non-communal state system, Sheikh Hasina said one stop service, public hearing day, district web portal and video conferencing are playing a supportive role to this end.
But as a human right group, we have been getting reports from different districts including Dhaka metropolitan that the land administration like AC land and Tahasilders in the field are demanding high stake of money for mutation, transferring land under VP Act (Kha) list. On the other hand Land ministry issued circular in May 2014 stating if the incumbent does not release land with in a year of this circular would automatically turn those lands under government custody.
It may be stated here that the circular issued by additional secretary (law) to the Ministry of Land Md Ibrahim Hossain Khan vide no- 31.00.0000.045.065.12(Part)-242 dated:22 May 2014 enjoys that anybody claiming property included in the newly repealed vested property ‘kha’ schedule property requires to establish his titles in respect of the property claimed within the period of one year from the date of publication of the circular, failing which the property shall become government khas land under the provision of Section 92 of the State Acquisition & Tenancy Act-1950.
Reports gather from all concerns of the country indicate that more than Six lakh (0.6 million) mutation cases have already been filed before the Assistant Commissioner (Land) and Tahsil offices in the country and May more are being filed everyday. Then for even 1%( one percent)of the person cases has not been disposed of since the annulment of Kha list and things have been made extremely difficult for the relief seekers by the beurocratic Mechanizations on dubious grounds which in most cases tantamount to extortion and denial of justice. It this present state of things continues, these cases can not be disposed of even in twelve years and the sufferers will be those who have already suffered for last fifty years.
‘It should not be enough to repeal the Vested Property Act, but it should be made an effective implementation so that the members of the minority communities are not deprived.’ Awami League advisory council member and minister without portfolio Suranjit Sengupta said there are many obstacles to make the Vested Property (Repeal) Act into an effective law.
‘The beneficiaries adopted many tactics and resorted to dilly-dallying and dirty tricks in making the law effective. The conspiracy is still on, Suranjit said, ‘The philosophy of father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was that the members of the minority community were not subjected to legal hassles only because for their religious belief. Later, Bangabandhu’s philosophy in this regard was incorporated in the constitution.’
Human Rights Congress for Bangladesh Minorities ( HRCBM), an NGO in special consultative status with ECOSOC of the United Nations and also registered under Bangladesh society Act, appeals to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh to kindly look into the matter on the priority basis so that the sufferers are not made to suffer further losses and humiliation at the behest of interested quarters, which is the sole beneficiaries of the Vested Property Laws ,the government never got benefit out of vested property. Bangladesh Non-Muslim Citizens Society strongly demand immediate cancellation of the circular in question and urge upon the government to direct the Land Revenue field offices to speedily dispose of the cases within specified period, otherwise all good intentions of the government shall go in vain.
Rights groups in Bangladesh earlier urged the government to expedite the implementation process of the Vested Property Return (Amendment) Act with a view to ensuring social discipline and justice by returning those lands to the genuine owners. “The government will have to make people aware about the provisions of the law through state-run BTV, private television channels and newspapers and let them know what needs to be done to establish their rights,” The Hindus have been suffering a lot since long centering the issue. “It’s now being delayed again. We apprehend that people might be deprived of their due rights.”
Parliament passed the Vested Property Return (Amendment) Bill aimed at smooth return of the vested properties to their rightful owners. What an irony of fate of Hindus, they are wondering hither and thither after filing case of returning their ancestral property, whereas government machineries in the field behaving otherwise. The district administration changed the land record of Devuttar Property and put as Khas land (Khatian no 1 of DC custody and some cases lease out to Muslims lease .
Over the last four decades in Bangladesh, The religious minorities in Bangladesh have been subjected to every conceivable form of indignity, socio-political discrimination, denial of equity and justice, dispossession of ancestral households under Vested Property Act, unequal application law, violation of Human Rights and Constitutional provisions, terrorizing and humiliation by using rape, vandalizing temples & worship places including forced convert to Islam and forced marriage to under aged girls and finally grabbing lands and compelled them for quit Bangladesh to take shelter in India as “stateless citizens”. Both the Governments of Bangladesh and India knew well that Bangladeshi Hindus were leaving their ancestral home silently and becoming ‘stateless citizens’ in the surrounding Indian States the Indian press and the Government circle at times have been highlighting the issue of the illegal immigrants from Bangladesh living in India.
Bangladesh Government has always maintained that there have been no so-called illegal immigrants from Bangladesh to India. It is interesting that no discussion on minority related issues have yet been held between India and Bangladesh in their bilateral talks or GSS meeting. Bangladesh Hindus have lost 22 lakh acres of their land and houses during the last six years (2001-2006), a Dhaka University Professor says. The market value of this land is Taka 2, 52,000 crore (about $156 million), which is more than half of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) reports Bangladesh dailies in Sept 2007...'This is a man-made problem contrary to the spirit of humanity. We have to get rid of this uncivilised state of affairs to establish a civilised society. Otherwise, we have to face a bigger historic catastrophe,' Professor Abdul Barkat, who teaches economics, insists in his research paper, 'Deprivation of affected million families: Living with Vested Property in Bangladesh'. Thus the estimated total missing Hindu population was 8.1 million during 1964-2001, i.e., 218,919 Hindus missing each year.
In other words, if out-migration of the Hindu population is caused mainly by communal disharmony resulting from the Enemy / Vested Property Acts, the approximate size of the missing Hindu population would be 600 persons per day during 1964-2001. The approximate size of the missing Hindu population was as high as 705 persons per day during 1964-1971, as against 521 persons per day during 1971-1981, decreasing to 438 persons per day during 1981-1991, and rising to 767 persons per day during 1991-2001.The four-decades-old law has seen around a million Hindus lose at least 2.1 million acres of land.
Living with Vested Property in Bangladesh'.
Politically powerful people grabbed most of the Hindu lands during the reign of Begum Khaleda Zia's BNP-led four-party alliance between 2001 and 2006. Forty-five per cent of the land grabbers were affiliated with the BNP, 31 per cent with the Awami League, eight per cent with Jamaat-e-Islami and six per cent with the Jatiya Party and other political organisations, the New Age, Dhaka daily quotes Prof Barkat as saying in his report.
As a result the silent migration of Hindus from this country could not be stopped. The minority community including Buddhist, Christians and Adibashis in Bangladesh participated in the War of Liberation so that in the newly liberated country we would enjoy equal status and rights along with the majority community. But in practice, the persecution of the Hindus continued like Pakistani days even after independence. Whatever the reason, every violence against the religious minority, especially against Hindus and adibashis, was either to take away their property and valuables or to establish terror among them. And also to scare them so they leave the country and the attacker’s beneficiaries could grab their property.
The Bangladesh Land Ministry by its field offices has been complimenting the land grabbers by issuing circulars that violates the rights of minority Hindus which tantamount to uproot Bangladesh Hindus. In spite of all good intention of government of Jananetri Sheikh Hasina to put an end to the miseries of a class of unlucky citizens particularly the Hindu citizens, the present circular of land ministry issued on 22 May 2014 is just a ploy to make a class of citizens’ property less and uprooted. This, according to many, is a kind of state-deception at the behest of beurocratic innovations so long lavishly exercised by the same group of beneficiaries, who always thrive at the misery of minority Hindus. In Bangladesh, being a Hindu means being a victim of oppression, torture and discrimination. This is Hindus fate in Bangladesh. Many may say that these rights pertain to the whole of humanity, why only address them in the context of minorities. True, but it is only through identifying social discrimination and ethno-racialism as social indicators of poverty and lack of justice that we can identify those very factors, which are equally responsible for the underdevelopment of minority communities as well as the hampered growth of a secular and democratic polity.”
Rabindranath Trivedi - the Secretary General, Human Rights congress for Bangladesh Minorities (HRCBM), an NGO in special consultative status with ECOSOC of the United Nations and registered under Bangladesh society Act.