‘We are targeted by Hindu fundamentalists’

Allege female members of Bangladesh Hindu Law Reforms Council

Bangladesh Hindu Law Reforms Council (BHLRC) leaders yesterday alleged that a vested quarter has been attempting to resist the rights of Hindu females at any rate by conducting unreligious activities in the name of religion.

The demand for curtailing anybody's rights can never be democratic and lawful, Prof Mayna Talukdar, chair of Dhaka University's Sanskrit department and president of the organisation, said at a press conference in Dhaka.

BHLRC organised the press conference at Jatiya Press Club in protest against "communalism and spreading rumours through social media".

During her keynote presentation, Prof Talukdar said, "We have become the eyesore from the fundamentalists, reactionists and vested quarters within the Hindu community. They have been making slanderous comments and hatred against the supporters and colleagues of our movement, particularly the general secretary of this organisation and the female members, whom they are also harassing on social media."

"…they are running false campaigns saying that the Hindu women will not remain in the Sanatan religion if they are given their due rights and they will convert out of the Hindu religion. They are enforcing illegal and unlawful programmes against the rights of Hindu and Buddhist women," she added.

She demanded that the government take legal action against such offenders.

In a written statement, she said Hindu women, the disease-affected persons (men and women), and the gender-diverse population are deprived of properties under the existing Hindu family laws in Bangladesh though there is no gender discrimination in the Hindu laws in India, Nepal and Mauritius.

The BHLRC placed six demands before the state. The demands are -- equal rights to property for women, people with disabilities and gender-diverse communities; cancellation of the provision for multiple marriages of a man during the lifetime of his wife; introduction of divorce in special necessary spheres; recognition of women's guardianship on children; women's rights to adopt children; and making marriage registration compulsory.

BHLRC's General Secretary Pulak Ghatak; Vice President Suvash Saha; Treasurer Pulak Raha; and Office Secretary Mita Rani Roy Chowdhury were also present at the press conference.