As Durga Puja ends on a high note, Bangladeshi Hindus give thanks to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina



After last year’s violence during Durga Puja, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has taken major steps to ensure that Hindus can safely celebrate the festival this year.

A mandated Durga Puja in Bangladesh
A mandated Durga Puja in Bangladesh

The immersion of idols of the goddess Durga in Bangladesh’s rivers and lakes last week ended the biggest festival for the country’s 160 million Hindus, thanks to extra security measures. The extra layers of security were installed in the wake of last year’s violence that marred the festivities and sent ripples through the community.

Security was specifically increased in Cumilla, where communal violence erupted last year during Durga Puja. However, media reports this year highlighted the return of fanfare and festivity among Hindus. As many as 794 puja mandaps were established in the district this year, according to Bangladesh’s leading news service, UNB.

A FESTIVAL FOR EVERYONE

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the country’s longest-serving Prime Minister and chairwoman of the country’s secular Awami League party, assured that no untoward incident occurred during the festival and assured community leaders of her unequivocal support for preventing violence. this year.

On the eve of Durga Puja, Sheikh Hasina extended his greetings to the Hindu community. In his message on October 1 (Mahashasthi), Sheikh Hasina said that Durga Puja is not a festival for Hindus only. “Now it is a universal festival. All Bangladeshis celebrate all religious festivals together and believe in the mantra ‘Religion is for individuals, festivals are for everyone.

just before the start of Durga Puja. Law enforcement officers were seen meeting with leaders of the Hindu community. CCTV cameras were kept in almost all the temples. The presence of members of the Bangladesh Ansar and the frequent patrolling of the police played an important role in preventing the violence. Bangladesh Ansar is a paramilitary force that handles internal security and law enforcement in the country.

32,000 PANDALS AND RISK OF MILITANT ATTACKS

Despite the risk of attacks by radical forces, Durga Puja was celebrated this year with a record 32,168 mandaps across the country, including 241 in the capital. In an interview with UNB, Cumilla Police Superintendent Md Abdul Mannan warned people not to spread rumors.

“The forces opposed to liberation can use religion to gain political advantage. So, we must be careful with them and face them together,” he said.

In addition to that, days before Puja, Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner Shafiqul Islam also warned people against extremists. “In the last month, about 50 people who were thought to be part of extremist groups have gone missing. This makes it more likely that attacks will happen during Durga Puja.” Shafiqul was quoted by the country’s media as saying, “Law enforcement and intelligence agencies have been trying to find them and where they train.”

Another key move to help Hindus celebrate the occasion safely and in harmony was how Awami League leaders and activists were asked to stand guard at temples. “Dhormo Jaar Jaar, uthsob shobar (the festival is universal regardless of religion)”, a slogan promoted among the public and on social media by the Hasina Awami League, has been one of the key elements that motivated people to keep violence at bay.

HINDUS EXTEND GRATITUDE TO SHEIKH HASINA

Immediately after the Durga Puja festivities ended on a high note, members of the Bangladeshi Hindu community expressed their gratitude to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her active role in ensuring safe celebrations.

Minorities have always been easy targets for parties like the BNP and its all-weather ally Jamaat-e-Islami. Under the rule of the country’s first military dictator and founder of the BNP, Gen Ziaur Rahman, and later under another military ruler, HM Ershad, the country saw secularism take a backseat and the installation of Islam as the state. religion through constitutional amendments.

The last BNP-Jamaat regime between 2001 and 2006 saw unprecedented attacks on minorities, including rape, land grabbing, and burning people alive, as the alliance viewed Hindus as pro-Awami League, according to media reports…

Bangladesh Puja Celebration Parishad thanked the Prime Minister for the peaceful completion of Durga Puja this year. The organization’s president, JL Bhowmik, and general secretary, Chandranath Poddar, thanked the prime minister. “Without your support, the peaceful conduct of Durga Puja would not have been possible,†he said.

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