Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s failure to protect religious minorities in India from attacks of religious bigots belonging to the ruling Bharatia Janata Party has triggered protests against his visit to Bangladesh.
Political parties, diplomats, intellectuals rights activists have demanded that the Bangladesh government should cancel the visit scheduled for March 17-18.
Modi himself and his party the BJP pursue a communal ideology with records of bigotry activities in Indian cities Gujrat and New Delhi, they said.
Modi is expected to attend a public ceremony organised by the Bangladesh government marking the birth centenary of the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on March 17.
‘Welcoming him [Modi] in the birth centenary of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman will be a clear insult to Mujib,’ Gonoshasthaya
Kendra founder Zafrullah Chowdhury said at a human chain programme on Thursday.
Desh Bachao Manush Bachao Andolon organised the human chain in front National Press Club in Dhaka.
Thirty seven people were killed till Thursday evening in riots instigated allegedly by BJP activists as they launched attacks on people who were agitating in different parts of Indian capital New Delhi against introduction of Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens by the Modi-led ruling coalition.
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party on Thursday expressed deep concern over communal violence in New Delhi as scores of people belonging to both Muslim and Hindu communities were killed in the attacks.
The BNP expressed hope that the Indian government would take steps for restoring normalcy and maintain stability in the region, according a statement of the party signed by senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.
Left Democratic Alliance will hold a black flag march on March 15 and 16 protesting at the visit of Narendra Modi to Bangladesh.
The LDA, Jatiya Mukti Council and several left-leaning organisations will hold a rally in the afternoon on March infront of the National Press Club in Dhaka and across the country on March 16, according to a press release.
The LDA and the Ganasamhati Andolan, a left-leaning party, will also hold separate rallies in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka in the afternoon on Friday protesting against violence launched by the BJP activists and killing of scores of people in the last few days.
Socialist Party of Bangladesh general secretary Khalequzzaman too protested against communal violence unleashed on people who were protesting against introduction of CAA and NRC by the BJP government, according to a press release.
He also called upon people in Bangladesh to remain alert so that religious harmony is maintained here.
Political scientist Professor Dilara Chowdhury said Narendra Modi’s visit here would put the government into a delicate and embarrassing situation.
In a democracy, it is very common that people forge protest against visit of an unwelcomed person, she said, adding that, ‘Unfortunately there is no democracy here. So people may become active on social media to register their protest.’
Bangladesh Enterprise Institute president Humayun Kabir said, ‘It is a difficult time as there is clear and strong public protest on social media against incidents happening [in New Delhi].’
Humayun, also a retired diplomat, said that there should be a longer vision keeping in consideration potential consequences of hosting a foreign guest in a difficult time.’
Hefajat-e-Islam Bangladesh chief Shah Ahmad Shafi demanded that the government cancelled the visit of Narendra Modi stating that people in Bangladesh do not want to see Modi, an anti-Islam and anti-Muslim person, here.
Modi instigated, directly and indirectly, killing of scores of Muslims in different states in India, including Gujrat, Kashmir and New Delhi, Shafi said, according to a press release.
Leading rights activist Nur Khan said Bangladesh was created through a series of non-communal movement and the war of independence.
‘Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had upheld non-communal spirit throughout his political career. So, we should express our inability to welcome Modi in the birth centenary of Sheikh Mujib as Modi’s party was providing instigation in communal attacks,’ Nur said, adding that the BJP led by Modi has turned the movement against CAA and NRC into a communal matter.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Foreign affairs