By Imran Chowdhury ;
The recent enactment of the citizen amendment act has been passed by the Indian parliament and which has erupted into a flurry of protests and multi channel and multi dimensional kerfuffles.
This is an internal affairs of India in which I have nothing to comment about. Nevertheless, I am amazed to see the ramifications of the people with a selective amnesia. Today that I would like to talk about. Instead of unearthing the causes of the need of such bill, people have erupted furiously on the issue’s present status but forgetting the reasons of the bill as to why it has come into being.
I keep looking at the news and watch the television debates with bewilderment. How cynical people are at times. Because, when my life as an 11 years old was in danger, I was about the face death at any time. When there was no place to hide any more, running like a homeless, address-less family, running and seeking shelter from one village to the other for over 3 weeks, staying with strangers, unknown people in 7 villages. No running waters, to bed to sleep, no cloths to wear and nowhere to go.
Passing sleepless nights, often when the enemy soldiers were coming to those villages or crossing with their convoys on the main highways near the village, the whole village people used to leave their homes and go to the nearest Jute fields to hide for shelter. Wading through knee deep water at night to save their souls, keep their women safe from rapes and indiscriminate killing like the Holocaust; we had no other choice but to run with our heart in our throat to seek refuge to India. Yes, you have guessed it correctly perhaps that I am talking about Bangladesh liberation war of 1971.
The perpetrators of Pakistan and its army carried out a proper Holocaust in Bangladesh in 1971. They literally took a leaf out of Nazi’s and Hitler’s book and replicated it on us during those nine long months of racial segregation, ethnic cleansing, religious genocide, humiliation of women, rapes and looting.
They treated us Bengalis like animals of prey. Finding no choice and fear of humiliation, death and chastity 10 million Bengali Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Christians seemed refuge to India. Including our freedom fighters, military, paramilitary, auxiliary forces and civilian government and private bureaucrats crossed over to India. Had India did not gave us the safe heaven we could not have lived today to write this story nor could we have continued with the freedom struggle.
In 1971, India was herself not the richer country. India was not self sufficient with food at the time. Dependant on USA food aid, economy was growing at sluggish 2.9%. It was riddled with Marxist and Maoist fuelled insurgency and separatist movement opposite the border from erstwhile East Pakistan. Yet, India was a God send Messiah for the people of Bangladesh. The monumental cost of Bangladesh liberation war almost crippled India financially.
The estimated cost incurred by India in 1971 for Bangladesh liberation war stands circa $97 billion dollar in today’s money plus the loss of life of the Indian armed forces to help us liberate from those heinous, barbaric, Neo Nazi Pakistan Army.
Although, the official figures of the Bangladeshi refugees were 10 million but what I have seen by my own eyes, this number is much tighter in reality. India was almost bankrupt bankrolling Bangladesh war. The economy in 1972 and 1972 grew around 0.09%. The people of India and the government officials who were in close contact with the refugee management and the general public were so magnanimous that, I am unable to express by my words here. I as a member of the refugee family, son of a valiant freedom fighter and sibling of martyr freedom fighter will remain indebted to the people and government of India for what they did for us in 1971.
There is a lot of talks about the residues of 1971 Bangladeshi refugees in West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura now and which prompted the NRC and subsequently CAA and there are endless debates going on about my countrymen living in India. There are lots of other races like Sikhs, Punjabis, Afghans living in India illegally and India has been kind enough to do the same what they did to us in 1971. I have never heard much of human rights violation issues in the past.
There is the twist! The twist is for all these migrations, exodus, fleeing, human trafficking and asylums are taking place for the same reason as ours in 1971. The main reasons of the Bengalis pouring into borders, mountains, shores, upstream rivers to India was caused by a particular country and her deep state.
This country has not learned its lessons of continuous humiliations and worldwide known infamously for its unscrupulous malpractices. They have got away scot-free for all their acts of brutality, genocide, Holocaust, ethnic cleansing in Bangladesh after a humiliating defeat and diabolical disgraceful surrender in Dhaka in December 1971.
The same country is still causing these human catastrophe by annihilating, bombarding its own people with artillery guns. Aggressively carrying out religious apartheid, silencing dissidents, force conversion of religions, subjugating minorities, oppressing legitimate independence movements. All of these unilateral ,clandestine, undemocratic and military dictated actions are causing these displacements of innocent peace loving people; seeking refuge legally or illegally to the neighbouring country of magnanimity, passion and respectful towards the displaced people like they did to me in 1971.
They have given an industrial status of mass religious radicalisation and extremism culminating into terrorism. The whole region is on constant alert and are susceptible to fall prey any time into those mass destruction of terror attacks.
It’s ironic, that no one seems to point any finger towards the main culprits who has been perpetuating these human abuses. Instead, busy in inciting religious sentiment, cashing in political gain to keep afloat their sinking boats inter alia many other agendas.
Like, I said in the beginning of my article, these new laws and statues are wholly India’s internal matter and India as one of the bastion of people’s democracy and an epitome of a country with full of praises for her role to save our lives, when the rest of the world specially our same religion majority countries turned a blind eye, will be able to resolve these present crisis amicably. But, I would urge the rest of the world to understand the causes of this plight of the human and condemn those who are engaged in creating these abuses.
If we focus on the treatment of Rohingya in Cox’s Bazaar and not in Myanmar then something is wrong with our consciousness. As a British Bangladeshi I have to respect India’s internal decisions but any move to welcome victims of persecution is to be seen positively because I have seen it before and can’t seem to forget that the cause then and even now is the same. Geo Political Analyst