India has an inherent interest in the stability of its neighbourhood. A disturbed neighbourhood adversely affects India. In some cases the consequences of a disturbed neighbourhood spill into Indian boundaries.
One had hoped that elections in Bangladesh would enhance the democratic process there. As the nation which had supported Bangladesh at the time of their liberation struggle, India, which has thousands of kilometers of borders with Bangladesh, would like to see a peaceful poll accompanied by continuation or transfer of power. It has not happened. We hope that the political process in Bangladesh stabilizes and important political parties are in a position to settle their domestic political issues.
There is, however a key concern which we have. The post election violence has started attacking the minority Hindu community. Houses have been burnt and individuals are being attacked. The already insecure Hindu minority is being threatened further. Media reports suggest that most of these attacks have taken place at the behest of the Jamat-e-Islami and even the BNP. It is noteworthy that the Hindu population which was around 30% at the time of independence is currently between 10 to 12% as per the recent estimates.
The position of the Hindu minorities in Pakistan is a little worse. In the recent past thousands of them migrated to India. On my visits to places like Indore, Ajmer and other towns of Punjab, many of these groups have met me. Even in Delhi the Hindu migrants from Pakistan have been meeting political leaders and explaining to them the plight of the minorities in Pakistan. A leading English daily today carries a statement by the Pakistan Hindu Council complaining of sexual assaults on Hindu women in Pakistan.
These are developments with which everyone in India particularly the Government of India should be concerned with. I hope we see a response from the Government of India.