chapter  25
9 Pages

Religious Minorities

WithMeghna Guhathakurta

The colonial and post-colonial tract of history, especially the partition of the South Asian subcontinent in 1947, gave rise to the concept of majority/minority communities along religious lines. In a state dominated by one religious community, minorities tend to become a vote bank for one major political party, one that they consider to be the more secular or friendly toward their well-being. Geographically, religious minorities are found in every district, although popularly the broader Khulna Division and coastal areas of the south are often known as the Hindu Belt; Buddhists are usually found in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Cox’s Bazar, Noakhali, Comilla and Patuakhali. The post-election violence in Bangladesh in 2001 specifically targeted the Hindu minority population, although it should be viewed in a broader frame because supporters of the Awami League and other progressive forces in the rural areas were also targeted.