ISKCON hosted protest in California against attacks on Hindus in Bangladesh

Ritu Jha-

California-based Hindus from the US, India, and Bangladesh joined the Hindu Kirtan rally, hosted jointly by ISKCON (the Society for Krishna Consciousness) and various San Francisco Bay Area Hindu organizations on October 23, to raise awareness about an attack on Hindus in Bangladesh.

October 13 through October 15, extremists attacked Hindus and their temples in Bangladesh. Women were allegedly raped, shops were looted, idols vandalized and burned, and devotees of ISKCON temples killed.

Participants in the rally chanted “Hare Rama, Hare Krishna” and walked on the street of the city of Fremont in California, holding placards saying, “Justice for Bangladesh minorities”; “Stop violence against Hindus”; “Hindu lives matter,” and “We demand justice for Hindus.”

Justice for Bangladesh Hindus Kirtan protest in Fremont, California held on Saturday, Oct. 23.

 

According to ISKCON, the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Gaura Nityananda Jew Temple in Choumoni was attacked, and two devotees, Pranta Chandra Das and Jatan Chandra Saha were killed. Another, Nimai Chandra Das, remains hospitalized in critical condition. All residential devotees were attacked and sustained injuries, it said.

Arup Roy, the former executive member of the Bangladesh Puja Committee of Northern California, which represents Bangladeshi Hindus in the U.S., sounded hopeful while talking with indica News, saying that with ISKCON taking charge of hosting the protest across the world on October 23, there would be more awareness about the ongoing atrocities against Hindus in Bangladesh.

Roy, a material engineer who grew up in Bangladesh, said he is concerned about his immediate family in Bangladesh.

“We think that the Bangladesh government is very, very strong,” he said, before hinting at a larger conspiracy. “We had high hopes from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. [The government] can control anything, but it looks like there is something going on. They are not controlling it.”

He said that the ethnic cleansing of Hindus has been going on in Bangladesh since 1971, and the percentage of Hindus has dropped from 27 percent at the time to 9 percent now.

He said that this long-term effort, intended to drive Hindus from Bangladesh, has not drawn enough scrutiny from the international community.

“We need justice,” he said. “There should be justice for those who have gone through these atrocities.”

Sri Krishna Purusottama Das, a Sankirtan leader at ISKCON temple in Mountain View, California, spoke to indica News about the reason for holding the rally.

“Singing Hare Rama, Hare Krishna on the road will raise awareness. We are dharmic people. We believe in prayers. So we pray for peace,” he said.

He said another protest has been planned on Friday, Oct. 29, at the Bangladesh consulate in Los Angeles. Das said the organizers have the support of other Hindu temples and the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh.

“We should put pressure on the Bangladesh government and United Nation to take action,” he said.

Ritesh Tandon, an entrepreneur who represents the Uttar Pradesh Mandal of America, told indica News, “Unfortunately, the brutal killing of Hindus is becoming very common in Bangladesh, Bengal, Kashmir, and other parts of the world. It is great to see that we are united, taking a stand for our common cause, and standing together with the ISKCON leadership and temple.”

ISKCON has also started a petition, which has received 62,000 signatures of the expected 75,000, asking the Bangladesh government to take swift action to end the violence against minorities and to take steps to ensure the long-term safety and well-being of all Bangladeshi citizens.

It sought that the perpetrators of these crimes be brought to justice and punished and that security is provided to minorities, including Hindus, Christians, and Buddhists.