Dhaka – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday said it is a big achievement for Bangladesh that its people have learnt to move upholding its non-communal spirit.
“We always say religions are for individuals but festivals are for all. We all together celebrate our festivals. It’s a big achievement in Bangladesh that we’ve learnt to move with a non-communal spirit,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said this while visiting Ramkrishna Mission in the city on the occasion of Durga Puja, the largest festival of the Hindu community.
Responding to the call of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, all people — Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Christians — irrespective of their religions fought shoulder to shoulder and liberated the country sacrificing their blood, she said.
“So, we always wanted that the people from all religions to perform the rituals of their respective religions independently with dignity in this independent Bangladesh. And we’ve been able to create such an environment,” said the Prime Minister.
“We at least can say when Awami League assumes power, such a nice environment is created!” she said, adding that Hindus have been celebrating their festivals — Puja-Parban– in an excellent manner during the tenure of Awami League for the last 10 years.
Sheikh Hasina said people irrespective of their religion, caste and creed celebrate Pahela Baishakh and Bangla Nababarsha and the government also provides Pahela Baishakh allowance. People respect the religion of each other here, she said.
She said the government wants to contain social diseases like terrorism, militancy, drugs and corruption so that those cannot destroy family, society and country.
The Prime Minister thanked law enforcement agencies for working relentlessly to ensure security around puja mandaps across the country.
She also extended thanks to local people for maintaining an excellent environment of religious harmony as Hindu youths are on duty to provide security to Eid congregations of Muslims and Muslim youths are engaged in providing security to Hindu festivals – puja and parbans.
Noting that the core essence of all religions is peace and humanity, Hasina said Bangladesh has been built with the goal of ensuring this peace and humanity. “This is how, I believe, Bangladesh will move on,” she added.
She urged Hindu community members to pray at their puja-parbans so that Bangladesh marches towards progress and the excellent environment created based on non-communal spirit, and religious harmony continues forever.
Kazi Firoze Rashid, MP and Inspector General of Police Dr Mohammad Javed Patwary also spoke at the programme.
Principal of Ramkrishna Math and Secretary of Ramkrishna Mission Swami Purnamtananda Maharaj delivered the welcome address on the occasion.
Later, the Prime Minister visited the puja mandap of the Dhakeshwari National Temple in the afternoon.
Speaking on the occasion, she said the people of this country had been subjected to inhuman torture and they had almost lost the freedom of performing their respective religions after the assassination of Bangabandhu.
“After the formation of Awami League government, we, holding the ideology and spirit of the Father of the Nation, have been taking Bangladesh forward with a non-communal spirit so that the people of all religions can perform their religious activities and celebrate their festivals freely,” she said.
The essence of every religion is one which is fraternity, tolerance and peace, she said.
Dhaka South City Corporation Mayor Sayeed Khokon and Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad General Secretary Nirmal Kumar Chattarjee, among others, spoke on the occasion.
Haji Mohammad Salim, MP, and Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad President Milon Kanti Datta were present at the programme presided over by Mahanagar Sarbajanin Puja Committee President Shailendra Nath Majumder.UNB