Kevin Boiragi: The recent and ongoing political, fundamental, and societal turmoil have made us somewhat paralyzed, with our cognitive thinking. Albeit, the nature and the number of violence against minorities, especially over Hindus have raised concerns that resulted in making pleas to international communities, the safety over general lay people regardless of religious background remains unanswered, and a matter of shame, as it seems, remains less prioritized.
Take the ongoing and ever increasing issue of rape for instance, where primarily girls from their early childhood to women, and in some cases, widows, and seniors over sixties are constantly being raped, the cases of murdering victims are also on the rise. These victims belong to both majority, and minority religious, and beliefs groups. Do we see enough strategies incorporated for- a) bringing the perpetrators under the justice; b) ensuring compensation, and safety to the victims; c) strategies and amenities that would prevent such acts from happening in the future?
Strategies addressing for instances, financial instabilities, and crippled recreational facilities and shrinking cultural activities concerning lay people are less monitored. Although by definition Bangladesh has entered in the league of middle income countries, it does not ensure financial stabilities over general people. There are ample researches being done discussing stress incurred with lack of financial stabilities affecting the normal mental health of people. Excess of stress leads to, in some cases, violent activities; conflicts arise with the law and enforcement and with the justice system.
On a ground level, the rising violent acts done and bear with everyday people can be equated as an outcome of living with financial stress countrywide. To recover from these stresses, one of the ways is to become physically active. This does not mean to work harder, but to pass leisure time while being physically active. Question is do we have enough parks, or places where we can go and refresh our mind for a bit? Do we have cultural practices to enlighten the livelihoods? Do we send our kids to music school, art school, or even inspire them to engage with games? No, we don’t, and can’t as far as the securities to children are concerned.
With the minority issue, regrettably so, the birth of this country although was not based on religion, but rights; we have come far across holding religion in our core and diminishing rights of others, especially of those who belong to the minority category.
These days, there is even a new initiation of minority category with the people who think positive and whose thoughts are outspoken and logically contradict with popular religious beliefs. The violence has become so dire as if without uprooting these minorities once and for all, these self proclaimed “Jihadis”, and so called “Muslims” will not stop. I have, in good faith, used these terms because these are ordinary people like you and me, and by no means are practitioners of Islam, but hatred.
Yet, they have, along with the people including the politicians and, sorry to say, our PM, have succeeded in diverting peoples beliefs over fundamentalism. Criticizing PM is necessary on this ground shortly because as the leader of the government, when the PM confirms her allegiance in sending troops to secure Mecca instead of ensuring safety of the Mandirs, Pagodas, and Churches, and peoples’ safety in her own country, literally shows her incapability in addressing this intolerable violent acts over minorities, and at the same time, supports the perpetrators in their core beliefs. The priority here has been given over “Muslims”, and only “Muslims”, over people of the state.
Finally, addressing minority issues are important, but ensuring safety for all is equally important. By safety I mean, amenities, and strategies that would make people safe and would not let them to fall through the cracks and become Jongis, or fundamentalists. An environment that promotes humanity over religion, rights over oppressions (be it financial instabilities and others) is indeed required, and to ensure this the PM herself needs to take the lead and associated responsibility.