Devotees of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) on Saturday hit the road across the world to protest the recent killing of Hindus, destruction of temples and private properties of Hindus in Bangladesh by Islamic fundamentalists. Scores of Hindus, many not affiliated with ISKCON, participated in the protests.
ISKCON called it a Global Kirtan Protest organized at 740 ISKCON temples across 170 countries, and ran a social media campaign with the hashtag #Globalkirtanprotest. This is the first such spontaneous global protest against Islamic fundamentalists in recent time which was joined by Hindus who are not even members of this sect.
“Join us tomorrow from Washington DC to New Delhi, Perth to London, Durban to Toronto as we gather in a peaceful Kirtan protest in solidarity with the ISKCON members, other Hindus & minorities in #Bangladesh,” ISKCON had issued an appeal.
Even after Twitter suspended ISKCON’s Bangladesh account for talking about attacks on minority Hindus by radical Islamists, it could not stop the cries of the devotees of Krishna from getting global notice using the platform.
Reports pouring from different parts of India say that a large number of devotees joined the peaceful protests. Holding placards that said ‘Protect our temples in Bangladesh’ and ‘Stop violence against Hindus’, they were chanting bhajans.
In Pune, a large number of devotees gathered at the ISKCON temple at Pune Camp area Saturday morning and joined the protest march.
“Temple was demolished and Hindus were killed in Bangladesh. Women were also attacked. There is a forceful conversion of Hindus in Bangladesh. We have demanded the United Nations and the Indian government to take steps to protect Hindu minorities in Bangladesh,” said Shwetdeep Das, vice president of ISKCON told the media in Pune.
Delhi witnessed a similar protest with the same signature tune ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’ to draw the attention of the international community.
WATCH: Devotees of Isckon take to streets in the Delhi in protest against attacks on Hindus in Bangladesh.— Prashant Kumar (@scribe_prashant) October 23, 2021
They demand strict action against those who indulged in violence against Hindus and r urging the centre to have a dialogue with Ban govt to ensure safety of Hindus there. pic.twitter.com/1AN6Mu9rFN
At Habibpur in Mamata Banerjee ruled Bengal, the kirtan protest was getting even louder with each passing moment.
In Australia, Britain, USA, Mauritius and many other countries, Hindus flocked under the banner of ISKCON for protest against the persecution of Hindus in Bangladesh.
Even in the B towns like Ranchi of Jharkhand, huge gatherings were seen in the protests. “God made a beautiful world but some demons are destroying the world and its beauty. They don’t want others to live. May God gives us the power to fight,” Dr. Padma Charan Behra, spokesperson of the Jharkhand chapter of ISKCON said.
Sabita Mishra of Ranchi who participated in the kirtan protest said that among sects of Hinduism she always admired ISKCON people for their discipline, spiritualism and devotion to God. “I know what is happening in Bangladesh. ISKCON’s are gentle people and if they have hit the road then this is the time to raise voice,” she said.
Attacks on Hindus in Bangladesh
Hindu minority in Bangladesh witnessed a series of attacks from October 12 and October 17. Under a conspiracy, radical Islamists had entered the Nanuar Dighir Par Durga Pandal in Cumilla district during the Durga Puja. They placed a copy of the Quran on the feet of the idol of Bhagwan Hanuman in the night, which triggered nationwide attacks on Hindus and Hindu temples. On the pretext of disrespect of the Quran, they started attacking temples and Hindus. A frenzied mob of radical Islamists attacked the ISKCON temple in the Noakhali district in the Chittagong Division of Bangladesh and killed a monk Pranta Chandra Das.
Gobinda Chandra Pramanik, the secretary-general of the Bangladesh National Hindu Mahajote, reportedly said that at least 17 Hindu temples had been attacked and that idols had been vandalized. He also said that more than a hundred people had been wounded. The number of deaths is reported to be between four and seven.