Bangladeshi minorities will begin a hunger strike today in protest of recent attacks on Hindu-owned temples and shops.
During the Hindu festival of Durga Puja, Muslims—who constitute roughly 89% of Bangladesh’s population—violently attacked Hindu temples. Since the holiday, religiously charged social media content has fueled an escalation of violence, resulting in significant damage and harm to Bangladeshi minorities, primarily Hindus. Today’s hunger strike hopes to drive meaningful policy change to the Hindu’s continued religious persecution.
Over 3,600 attacks against Hindus have taken place since 2013. Regional politics also fuel the violence. India, the region’s common anthropological nexus, also inadvertently spurred additional violence in 2019 with the passing of its Citizenship (Amendment) Act which was seen as an anti-Muslim law.
Today’s hunger strike is unlikely to bring meaningful change to this complex issue, and regionally, religious and ethnic tensions are a distinct destabilizing risk. For meaningful change in Bangladesh to occur, India may need to be part of this discussion. Continued persecution of Hindus also risks contradicting the Bangladesh’s constitution, which promises equal legal treatment across all of its people. For the ruling Awami League, failure to uphold promises of minority-friendliness may cause international and domestic support to decline.
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Daniel is the Chief Operating Officer of Foreign brief. He oversees the production and publishing of all of Foreign Brief's products. His background is in the air, space and cyberspace domains of national security and Indo-Pacific geopolitics. He is fluent in Mandarin Chinese.