Two thousand refugees from Bangladesh staged a demonstration outside the United States Consulate in Calcutta on Friday (30 December).
Two thousand refugees from Bangladesh staged a demonstration outside the United States Consulate in Calcutta on Friday (30 December). They were trying to enlist the support of United States President Jimmy Carter to get a separate homeland for the 15 million non - Muslims...Buddhists, Christians and Hindus...living in Bangladesh, whom they say are being deprived of basic human rights.
SYNOPSIS: The demonstration took place a couple of days before President Carter was due to arrive in India for a 48-hour visit as part of his current tour. Although he will be staying in the Indian capital of New Delhi, the refugees in Calcutta in West Bengal saw the visit as an ideal opportunity to get American backing.
Men, women and children marched to the United States Consulate, and two of them were allowed in to hand over a two page letter addressed to President Carter.
The letter called for the President's help in setting up a homeland where Bangladesh's minorities could enjoy the "universally proclaimed right of religious freedom and basic human rights enshrined in the Helsinki Accord". The demonstrators maintain that although non-Muslim minorities make up a fifth of the total population of Bangladesh their basic right are being ignored and they are being subjected to inhuman persecution.