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Friday, May 21, 2010

Hindus 'being heard in VPA change' - BD govt claims


Dhaka, May 21 ( government is taking the recommendations of the Hindu community seriously in amending the Vested Property (Return) Act to make the stronger and more effective, deputy parliament leader Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury has said.

Speaking at a meeting at the Dhakeshwari national temple, Sajeda also criticised hartal call of the main opposition BNP. She claimed the hartal has been called for June 27 on orders of the Pakistanis to delay the war crimes trial.

The AL presidium member said, "A large part of the Hindu community is being tormented in the name of Enemy Property Act since the 60s.

"Though the Awami League government passed the Vested Property (Return) Act in 2001, the subsequent government did not take any steps to implement the law. The caretaker government made it more complicated by issuing a fresh ordinance."

"The process of passing the Act in the parliament is on-going", she said.

After the India-Pakistan war in 1965, the Pakistan government had seized huge assets of the Hindus dubbing them 'enemy' property. The still gives the state power to deprive a Bangladeshi citizen of their property.

The VPA has long been criticised in Bangladesh and abroad as a major violation of the rights of minorities, who had property seized in the past simply on leaving the country.

Later, the AL government took the initiative to return those assets by passing the Vested Property (Return) Act.

"The Hindu community has had immense contribution in the liberation war. There would be cooperation from the government to resolve all their problems," said information minister Abul Kalam Azad.

State minister of religious affairs Shahjahan Mia said, "The process of forming Hindu Foundation is underway in line with the demand of the Hindu community."

He also promised necessary steps to recover the grabbed land of the Dhakeshwari Temple.

The chief adviser of Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad, retired major genral CR Datta, Bir Uttam, inaugurated the conference.

The local MP, Mostafa Jalal Mohiuddin spoke among others.

Criticising the hartal called by BNP, Sajeda said,"They have called the hartal in the name of price hike. But hartal will further increase the prices."

Those who allowed Jamaat-e-Islami leaders to use the national flag in their house and cars would also be tried, said Sajeda.