Religious minorities against faith-based campaign in electionsNew Age Online
The Hindu Buddhist Christian Oikya Parishad Tuesday urged the government, political parties and Election Commission to take necessary steps to avoid faith based campaign and propaganda in the next national polls.
Citing bitter examples from past elections, Oikya Parishad leaders said such religious and communal campaign and sermons may lead to violence against religious minority voters and their family members.
The Parishad also demanded that the government insert safeguard measures for the minorities in the Constitution, keep 60 reserved seats for them in the House to empower them politically, form a National Minorities Commission and a ministry to advance their various causes.
They also demanded bringing culprits to justice who had violated women immediate after 2001 elections and publishing the probe report on the matter.
The Hindu Buddhist Christian Oikya Parishad made the demand at a press conference organised by the Parishad itself at the Dhaka Reporters Unity.
The leaders said they would launch movement to press home their demands through rallies and meetings in all the districts across the country beginning after Eid-ul-Fitr.
Reading out a written speech, the Parishad’s general secretary Rana Dasgupta said that all the political parties had begun campaigning much ahead of the next Jatiya Sangsad elections.
He alleged that in the past elections to five city corporations, religion and communalism were used indiscriminately, straining communal harmony.
Rana said Bangladesh’s religious minorities---from their past experiences during national elections---are now afraid of religion based violence and terrorism.
He said that the members of religious minorities were attacked under different excuses as a part of eliminating them from the country and their number is decreasing ever since the liberation of the country.
Referring to the population censuses, he said population of minority community has come down to 9.7 per cent in 2011 from the earlier figure of 14.6 per cent in 1974.
He alleged that a total of 11 lakh people, mostly religious minorities, were forced to leave the country during 2001 to 2011 as fanatic violence sparked and demanded ensuring safety and security to them so that they could exercise their voting rights fearlessly.
The organisation’s presidium members Nim Chandra Bhoumik, Hubert Gomes and Subrata Chowdhury and its assistant secretary Bhikkhu Sunandapriya were also present.
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