More than ten thousand people in three districts of Barak Valley part of Assam on Monday gathered to protest violence on religious minorities in Bangladesh. They burnt Bangladesh's National flag, attempted to cross Indo-Bangadesh international border and called for boycotting Bangladeshi products, officials said.
The protest was called by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) where members of several organisations, including Bharat Sevasram Sangha, Sankar Math, Gauriya Math, Bajrang Dal, women's wing of RSS, joined.
In Karimganj district, where the border is divided by the Kushiyara river, hundreds of protesters attempted to cross it and go to Bangladesh. While in Hailakandi, Bangladesh's national flag was burnt to mark the protest.
The protesters sent memorandums to prime minister Narendra Modi and requested the government to stop all kinds of trades with Bangladesh. They also blamed that Bangladesh is trying to vacate the Hindus and this act of violence is part of that conspiracy.
Former MLA from Karimganj district and senior BJP leader Ranjan Das said, "If India cuts all the trade relations with Bangladesh, like we did it with Pakistan in past, the country will be bound to starve. Also, India is the largest consumer of Bangladesh's food products. We are going to boycott each and every food product coming from Bangladesh. We have sent a letter to prime minister Narendra Modi and requested him to give a strong message to Bangladesh so that the Hindus living there don't face harassment anymore."
President of Karimganj BJP, Subrata Bhattacharjee, said, "Bangladesh has forgotten that India saved them from Pakistan and gave them the identity of an independent nation. Our forces won the war against Pakistan in 1971 and if we wanted, the entire country would have been part of India at that time. The people attacking Hindus in Bangladesh should understand that we can do this even today if required."
After taking out a massive rally in Karimganj district, the protesters gathered at the bank of Kushiyara and suddenly some people jumped into the river. They said, "We are going to Bangladesh to protect the Hindus there." However, border security forces stopped them and requested not to do this again.
In Cachar district, the rally started from Subhash Nagar ground and thousands of protesters gathered in front of the deputy commissioner's office.
VHP leader Mithun Nath while addressing the protesters, said, "We worshipped the same idol here which were vandalised in Bangladesh. I was surprised to see people dancing here on the streets while going for immersion. As if they don't know what is happening with the Hindus in Bangladesh and how the idols of Maa Durga were vandalised there. It's time we started thinking of ourselves as global Hindus and stop pretending as seculars."
Purna Chandra Mandal from VHP said, "It has been proven that the Quran was placed along with Durga idol by a Muslim man in Cumilla pandal. Still, more than 200 pandals across 30 districts in Bangladesh were vandalised by Muslims. ISKON temple, where there was no Durga Puja, was attacked and devotees were killed. It is a part of a conspiracy to vacate Hindus from Bangladesh. If this continues, we'll enter into Bangladesh's territory in mass numbers to protect our brothers and sisters."
He appealed to the Muslims in India to protest against the acts of violence in Bangladesh. He said, "...If they do not condom the act of violence in Bangladesh, we will consider that they are supporting it. It is time to make it clear that we are not going to act like hypocrites. There will be violence against violence."
Mrinmayanananda Maharaj from Bharat Sevasram Sangha, Vigyananda Maharaj from Sankar math, Abhayacharan Krishna Gauriya Math, Santanu Naik from the VHP also spoke during the protest in Silchar.
Meanwhile, some other leaders also raised voice against violence in Bangladesh and also questioned the government of India for being a silent spectator.
Former deputy speaker of Assam assembly and a senior BJP leader, Aminul Haque Laskar, said, "Sheikh Hasina once said that the Hindus in Bangladesh have their right to practice religion and festival is for everyone. But her inactive attitude after the Durga Puja incident is helping the miscreants attack more and more Hindus. I appeal to her to prove that she cares for Hindus residing in Bangladesh and take some appropriate steps."
Rajya Sabha MP from West Bengal and former MP from Silchar, Sushmita Dev questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi's silence on this matter. She said, "India gives maximum credit line to Bangladesh when it comes to international trade. Now, when Hindus are being killed in Bangladesh, Narendra Modi is silent. At one point, Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sharma said that Hindus are safe in Bangladesh and there is no reason for more migration. But we can see how safe they are."
Echoing Sushmita Dev's remarks, Assam Congress's working President Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha said, "I think Modi ji is too impressed by hilsa fish and mangoes of Bangladesh that he ate. It seems the Hindus who were attacked there are not considered Hindus by the BJP government. It's been almost a week but our prime minister is yet to respond."