15th amendment in Bangladesh Constitution – Will it change problematic minorities’ life in BangladeshIBG News

Mangal Sobhajatra – Depty High Commission of Bangladesh


এক সাগর রক্তের বিনিময়ে বাংলার স্বাধীনতা আনলে যারা
আমরা তোমাদের ভুলবো না

Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina’s government brought the 15th amendment to the constitution. Sheikh Hasina’s government introduced the 15th amendment to the constitution in the first term of three consecutive terms. Many amendment proposals were passed together. In it the four principles of the seventy-two constitution came back. But the ‘state religion Islam’ remained. The right to religion-based politics remained. The proposal of the constitution was given some consolation by adding ‘in the name of Almighty Creator’ in an additional Bengali sentence with ‘Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim’.

But what is the character of the constitution? Fifteenth Amendment-Post-Constitution One of the four basic principles of the state is ‘secularism’, on the other hand the ‘state religion’ of this state is Islam. What does that mean? The combination of ‘duck’ and ‘hedgehog’ in the constitution is ‘duckling’. And as a result of the right to religion-based politics, all the anti-independence Jamaat or other anti-state political parties based on Islam remained in force. In other words, secularism was mixed with a handful of theology in the constitution. We are now carrying this ‘duckling’ constitution.

The country became independent by waging a war of liberation against religion-based Pakistan. One of the goals of the War of Liberation was to establish a secular, democratic, just and egalitarian state. With that goal in mind, Bangladesh under the leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman drafted the constitution in 1972. That constitution mentioned four principles of the state. Secularism, democracy, nationalism and socialism. With the assassination of Bangabandhu and his family on 15 August 1975, the four principles of the constitution were killed. Secularism goes into exile. Comes ‘full trust and faith in the Most Merciful Allah Tayala’. That was the beginning of the reverse journey of the liberation war in Bangladesh.

Zia-Ershad’s military government and their subordinate civilian governments have taken the opposite path. Ziaur Rahman proposed ‘Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim’ in the proposal of the constitution. Secularism was sent into exile. He paved the way for religion-based politics and gave the defeated Jamaat-e-Islami a chance to reorganize. Hussein Muhammad Ershad came and made Islam a ‘state religion’. In one fell swoop, he made all other religions of the country ‘second class citizens’.

After the end of Zia-Ershad’s military rule, Khaleda Zia’s democratic rule came. But Begum Zia’s BNP is practically the ideological successor of Ziaur Rahman. As a result, change was not desirable there. In 1996 came the government led by Sheikh Hasina, the daughter of the father of the nation. But the change in the service was not possible as it did not have the required two-thirds majority to amend the constitution. Khaleda Zia’s government came again. This time with Jamaat. Top war criminal communal leaders are all ministers. The rise and development of extremist religious sectarian terrorism is state and government-sponsored. Then came the two-year unconstitutional undemocratic Fakhruddin-Moinuddin rule. On December 29, 2008, Sheikh Hasina’s government returned with a huge majority. With the leftists this time. Running for three consecutive terms.

Initiative to change the constitution in the first term. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court ruled that the entire rule of Zia-Sattar-Sayem and the period from the beginning of Ershad to 1986 were invalid. As a result, the changes that were made in the four principles of the state through the 5th amendment of the constitution during the tenure of Ziaur Rahman are illegal. In the same vein, the right to religion-based politics is also illegal. Ershad made the 8th amendment regarding the introduction of state religion in 1986. As a result, it did not become illegal in the court of law. But was the 7th amendment morally valid, which was in conflict with the birth identity of Bangladesh and the core consciousness of the state? The Awami League also fought against this 7th amendment at that time. Today’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was the leader of that fight at that time.

Sheikh Hasina’s government introduced the 15th amendment to the constitution in the first term of three consecutive terms. Many amendment proposals were passed together. In it the four principles of the seventy-two constitution came back. But the ‘state religion Islam’ remained. The right to religion-based politics remained. The proposal of the constitution was given some consolation by adding ‘in the name of Almighty Creator’ in an additional Bengali sentence with ‘Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim’.

But what is the character of the constitution? Fifteenth Amendment-Post-Constitution One of the four basic principles of the state is ‘secularism’, on the other hand the ‘state religion’ of this state is Islam. What does that mean? The combination of ‘duck’ and ‘hedgehog’ in the constitution is ‘duckling’. And as a result of the right to religion-based politics, all the anti-independence Jamaat or other anti-state political parties based on Islam remained in force. In other words, secularism was mixed with a handful of theology in the constitution. We are now carrying this ‘duckling’ constitution.

This time, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, while exchanging greetings on the occasion of Janmashtami, addressed the leaders of the Hindu community and said, “Why do you repeatedly call yourself a minority? Are you not a citizen of this state? Aren’t you the people of this country? Isn’t this your homeland? This is your homeland. Then why do you see yourself as a minority? ”

But, Hon’ble Prime Minister, when the state recognizes a particular religion as the state religion in principle, no matter what you say, the followers of other religions have no choice but to consider themselves ‘minorities’. This constitutional character of the state is being reflected in every case every day. The persecution of the Hindu community in this country is a daily ongoing phenomenon – can anyone deny that? Even after 1971, it is difficult to get an accurate estimate of how many millions of Hindus have been forced to emigrate. Every day some Hindu family from somewhere in the country is taking shelter in another country. They are being forced to leave their homeland by occupying their land and inflicting various forms of torture on the women of the family. The people below the ‘non-communal’ Awami League are not far behind the communal BNP-Jamaat in occupying the lands of the minorities. The lower floor or why only, how many MPs or former and current ministers are also accused of torturing minorities and occupying their land! Although the Awami League government has shifted from ‘enemy property’ to ‘vested property’, thousands of its grievances have been left unresolved for years. The Awami League leaders and workers on the ground floor are not far behind in terms of possession of vested property.

During the BNP-Jamaat era, there will be no trial for the persecution of Hindus and other minorities – this is the ultimate truth for political ideological reasons. But that is not to say that one after another incidents of persecution of minorities during the tenure of the Awami League, the leading party in the war of liberation, will not be judged – it is very difficult for the minorities of Bangladesh to accept this. Excluding minor sporadic incidents, the trial of violence in Ramu’s Buddhist Palli, Nasirnagar, Malopara, Gareya, Thakurpara’s Hindupalli or Gobindganj’s Santalpalli will be so protracted – even when the country’s religious and ethnic minorities suffer.

In other words, when the Hon’ble Prime Minister says in his mouth – why do you think of yourself as a ‘minority’, then all the other organs of the state are pointing their fingers at you – you are a ‘minority’.

In the manifesto of the last national election, the Awami League had promised to form a Ministry of Minority Affairs. But the formation of a ministry is a long way off, and the long-standing demand for a commission on minority affairs has not been met. Hindus, Buddhists and Christians – these three minority religious communities have three welfare trusts in name only. But if you look at their budget allocations in proportion to the population, you will understand for sure – there is no question of equality – it is nothing more than begging a little for the three religious minorities.

The image of thousands of such inequalities is clearly visible every day. And the temple is broken, the idol is broken. There is a saying in this country- ‘When will you realize that the Durgotsab of autumn is coming? When you see that the temples and idols have been demolished. ‘

In this way you will always explain – you are a minority, you have no rights. And on Vijaya Dashami and Janmashtami, he will eat sweets at Ganobhaban and say sweetly, “Why do you think you are a minority?” You speak of the spirit of the liberation war, you cite the example of the father of the nation, this country is yours and mine, but by dusting off the spirit of the collective farm, you will compromise with the evil communal forces, communalize textbooks and curricula to their demands. Minority ‘identity does not disappear.

Hon’ble Prime Minister, if you really think that you will eradicate the identity of ‘minority’ from a section of the population of this great country and build a state based on justice and equality without any discrimination, then first of all abolish state religion. And if the state cannot be transformed into an egalitarian state in principle, it will not be able to create a practical example. Then the identity of ‘minority’ will not change.

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