National, Back Page

Govt plans Hindu law reform as per religious provisions

Published : 28 Aug 2021 09:26 PM | Updated : 29 Aug 2021 12:48 AM

The government is moving forward to reform the Hindu laws in a bid to ensure equal rights of women of the community to their ancestral property. 

However, the move created mixed reactions among the members of Hindu community in Bangladesh. Some Hindu groups are reacting sharply and opposing the government’s move. 

A section of Hindu people are against reform of the Hindu law, saying that the issue of family law should be resolved through religious provisions. They called upon the government not to table a bill in this regard in the Parliament.

A platform of 20 Hindu community groups under the banner of the Hindu Paribarik Ain Poribartan Protirodh Committee (HPAPPC), however, said that they would launch strong protest programmes if the government reforms the existing Hindu family law. 

On the other hand, Bangladesh Jatiyo Hindu Mohajote smells a rat in this regard. The platform of Hindu community called upon the government to take legal action against Mahfuz Anam, editor of The Daily Star, and his wife Shaheen Anam, executive director of Manusher Jonno Foundation, for their involvement behind conspiracy and hurting religious sentiments of the Hindu community.

Gobinda Chandra Pramanik, Secretary General of the platform, on Friday (August 27) said, “The Daily Star is promoting various controversial programmes and activities of the Manusher Jonno Foundation. On the other hand, the Hindu people, who are working for reforming the law, don’t follow the Hindu religion and rules in their personal life. The positive and negative sides of the Hindu law don’t touch them. Therefore, they have no right to work on Hindu law. If there is any problem regarding the law, Hindu saints, religious organisations, Hindu legal experts and social workers will give their opinions.” 

He called upon Mahfuz Anam and Shaheen Anam to offer apologies to the Hindu community for their activities against the community.  

Meanwhile, many other people of the Hindu community don’t support the opposition. They said that a few number of people are against the government’s move. Their opposition should not be countable. The little opposition is not now a major obstacle to the way of reforming the law. If the law is reformed, the Hindu women in Bangladesh will enter a new era. 

Talking to the Bangladesh Post, Aroma Dutta, a member of the Hindu community and an MP from women reserved seats, said that the enactment of a fresh law would open a new chapter in the history of Hindu women in the country. 

She said that a few narrow-minded people of the community are not in favour of reforming the law. It does not a matter. “The government is ready to enact the law to ensure equal rights of the Hindu women to inherit property of their parents and husbands. The government is doing well. It is usual to have some opposition when it comes to doing well. Such opposition is not effective. Such activities of those who oppose the reform of the Hindu law don’t go to civilized thoughts. The Hindu law is being reformed in accordance with the scriptural provisions of the Hindu religion, including Vedas and Gita. The government has taken initiative to reform the law in accordance with the basic provisions of Hinduism.”

“We are actively working for the law. We hope that it will take effect soon after the necessary process,” said Aroma Dutta. 

The Hindu women of Bangladesh have no rights to their ancestral property. They are also deprived of their husband’s property. India had brought change in this regard through enactment of the ‘Hindu Succession Act, 1956’. The law was updated in 2005 and 2007. 

As per the existing laws of Bangladesh, the Hindu women are deprived of inheritance in comparison to their male counterparts. 

Against this backdrop, the Law Commission submitted a report in 2012 with the proposal of ensuring equal rights for men and women of the Hindu community to their ancestral property. The government is now moving towards reforming the law as per the Law Commission’s report and opinions came from a large number of people from the Hindu community. 

The draft ‘Hindu Succession Act’ was prepared by a national level coalition named ‘Hindu Ain Pronoyoney Nagorik Udyog’. The country’s first Hindu woman judge Justice Krishna Debnath has played a vital role in preparing the draft.