HAF Leads Historic Fact-Finding Mission to Bangladesh

Washington, D.C. (February 23, 2015) -- The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) launched a new phase in its international human rights work earlier this month, when it led a fact-finding mission to Bangladesh for the first time in its history. HAF’s Director of Government Relations, Jay Kansara, and Washington, D.C. Working Group Member, Utsav Chakrabarti, travelled to the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka for a week of intense meetings with government officials, non-governmental organizations, and Hindu community leaders.

The HAF team also visited a number of Hindu temples and sites and surveyed conditions for religious minorities, amidst an atmosphere of growing political violence instigated by the opposition-led Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Jamaat-e-Islami. HAF similarly met with Bangladeshi Hindu refugees outside the Indian city of Kolkata, where they had crossed the border to seek refuge from religious persecution.

Finally, HAF conducted a follow-up visit to Pakistani Hindu refugee camps in the northwestern Indian city of Jodhpur, after its initial visit in 2013. The refugees’ status had changed little, as they continue to await formal legal resident status in India.

The Foundation plans on enumerating the findings from its trip to Bangladesh in a report and short documentary film which it expects to release shortly.