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Sheikh Hasina receives a crest from leaders of the Hindu community who called on her at her official Ganobhaban residence here this afternoon on the occasion of Janmashtami.

Hurting religious sentiment won’t be tolerated: PM

WT24 Desk

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today issued a strong warning against hurting the religious sentiment, saying that her government won’t allow to speak against anybody’s religious faith, agencies report.  “The people will perform their respective religions. If anybody has no intention to perform his or her religion, he or she may not do so. But he or he has no right to hurt others’ religious sentiment,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina also made it clear that anyone trying to hurt others’ religious sentiment by their own talks or speech won’t be tolerated and all would have to refrain from it.  She came up with the warning when leaders of the Hindu community called on her at her official Ganobhaban residence here this afternoon on the occasion of Janmashtami. “Everybody will show honour to his or her respective religions. Likewise, he or she would honour others’ religion, and if it happens so, that would uphold the dignity of own religion….this is the reality, which we want in practice in Bangladesh,” she said.

Awami League Advisory Council Member Suranjit Sengupta, Religious Affairs Minister Principal Motiur Rahman, State Minister for Youth and Sports Biren Sikdar, State Minister for Fisheries and Livestock Narayan Chandra Chanda, President of Bangladesh Puja Udjapon Parishad Kajal Dev Nath, General Secretary Jayanta Kumar Dev, President of Janmashtami Udjapon Parishad Ramesh Ghosh, President of Mohanagar Sarbajanin Puja Committee JL Bhowmik and former president of Janmashtami Udjapon Parishad Debashish Palit spoke on the occasion.

Principal of Ramkrishna Mission, Dhaka, Swami Drubeshananda and Swami Sudarshananda of Chittagong were present on the dias. Earlier, a one-minute silence was observed as a mark of respect to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and other martyrs of the August 15 carnage as well as the martyrs of the August 21 grenade attack. On the occasion, leaders of Janmashtami Udjapan Parishad, Bangladesh, Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad and Mohanagar Sarbajanin Puja Committee greeted the Prime Minister by presenting bouquets and a crest to her.

The Prime Minister urged members of the Hindu community not to undermine themselves by calling minority. “You have immense contribution to the nation’s every movement and struggle. So, we want you live in this country with own rights and right to the motherland,” she said.  Sheikh Hasina said the people of all faiths in the country are enjoying their religious rights equally and peacefully as her government believes in communal harmony. “We have ensured equal rights of all religions by bringing amendment to the constitution,” she said.

The Prime Minister said the people of all religions under the leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman liberated the country by fighting unitedly. “The goal of our independence was that there would not exist any communal difference and the people of all faiths would live with their own rights,” she said.  “Bangabandhu dreamt of establishing Bangladesh with non-communal spirit and he ensured equal rights of all faiths by presenting the constitution after independence,” she said.

The Prime Minister said secularism does not mean no religion, rather it means freedom of performing religions by all faiths. “Bangabandhu ensured it by incorporating secularism in the main principles,” she said.  She said after the assassination of Bangbandhu in 1975, the constitution was trampled by the military rulers time and again side by side with destroying the main spirit of the War of Libeartion.

Expressing her gratitude to the people for electing the Awami League government with two-third majority, she said her government has been able to restore the spirit of the War of Liberation by amending the constitution.  Through amending the constitution, she said, her government has ensured rights of all faiths–Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists-to perform their religions freely.

Referring to the steps taken by the present government for maintaining communal harmony in the country, Sheikh Hasina said all religious festivals, including eid and puja, are being celebrated beautifully and peacefully.  “People of the country are celebrating the eid, puja and other festivals together through much fanfare and gaiety,” she said.  Recalling the dark chapter of atrocities on different religious community people alongside the Awami League leaders and workers after the 2001 general elections, she said none-Hindus, Christians and Buddhist- was spared from the torture and repression of the BNP-Jamaat clique.

“The BNP-Jamaat alliance established a reign of terror at that time by forming terrorist groups,” she said.  At the outset of her speech, the Prime Minister extended her heartfelt greetings to members of the Hindu community on the occasion of Janmashtami.

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