Bangladesh to make mandatory Hindu marriage registration

Bangladesh to make mandatory Hindu marriage registration

Bangladesh is set to make mandatory the registration of Hindu marriages to ensure rights of the followers of the faith by bringing in a law on the lines of India, law minister Shafique Ahmed said here today.

"Registration of Hindu marriages is being made mandatory," he told a seminar on the rights of Hindu community with regard to marriage registration. He said stakeholders' opinions regarding the proposed law had already been elicited and the matter was also discussed in the parliamentary standing committee on the law, justice and parliamentary affairs ministry.

Ahmed, however, assured that the government would not formulate any law that would hurt religious sentiment.

Citizens for Enactment of the Hindu Marriage Law organised the seminar to review a draft on the proposed registration law following the example of a related legislation in neighbouring India.

Organisers said the 10 women and rights groups had prepared the draft on the basis of inputs provided by 40 other organisations at grassroots.

The minister said despite the in-principle decision in favour of enacting the Hindu registration law immediately following Indian example, the follow up legislations for separation and hereditary laws could take a longer period.

"A detail review of the existing situation was needed to enact laws for separations in marriages and hereditary," Ahmed said. He added that a commission could be constituted to prepare a draft for Hindu marriage separation and hereditary issues.

Representatives of different levels of the minority community joined the seminar from across Bangladesh.

"Hindu wives in many cases were compelled to run their families withstanding physical and mental tortures from their husbands and in-laws in absence of provisions for marriage separation," rights activist Sultana Kamal told the seminar.

Community leader Subrata Chowdhury pointed out that a Hindu wife cannot seek separation even if the husband does not bear her daily expenses, opts for a number of marriages or keeps contact with other women and refrains himself from contact with his wife for years together.

Bangladesh last year enacted the Vested Property Law 2001, to allow the return of property of the minority community, confiscated during the 1965 Indo-Pak war when Bangladesh was eastern wing of Pakistan.

A process was now underway to constitute tribunals at all districts to resolve the disputes under the law, officials familiar with the situation said. 

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