AL will always remain beside Hindu community: PM Hasina
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday reassured the people of the Hindu community of the country that Bangladesh Awami League (AL) will always remain beside them as was in the past.
"We, the Awami League, was always beside you and will remain beside you . . ," she said while addressing the Hindu devotees during her visit to the Durga Puja mandap (pandal) at the Dhakeshwari National Temple in the afternoon.
The prime minister said the Hindu community of the country has repeatedly been attacked but Awami League always stood beside them.
In this regard, she specially referred to attack, repression and torture on the Hindu community in the country in 1992 and after 2001.
Bangladesh was even pushed back from the spirit of secularism after the brutal killing of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975, stated Sheikh Hasina.
The prime minister extended her greetings to the Hindu community members at home and abroad on their sacred religious festival, Sharadiya Durga Utsab, and said, "Religion is for individuals, but festival is for all."
Bangladesh Puja Udjapon Parishad (BPUP) President JL Bhowmik and Mohanagar Puja Udjapon Parishad President Monindra Kumar Nath also spoke as Mohanagar Puja Udjapon Parishad General Secretary Romen Mondal conducted the function.
Dhaka South City Corporation Mayor Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh, local lawmaker Hazi Selim and BPUP General Secretary Nirmal Kumar Chatterjee were also present.
Later, the prime minister visited the Puja mandap and enjoyed a dance performance.
She said the government always tries to uphold and establish equal rights for all the people irrespective of religious faiths in the country. "We always believe that the people irrespective of all religions and castes will enjoy equal rights."
Sheikh Hasina said all people together fought for Bangladesh and so, all have equal rights here.
"We all are the children of this soil. We'll live in this land enjoying our respective rights," she added.
The head of the government urged the Hindu community to pray for Bangladesh and its progress.
She said every house has come under electricity coverage and there is food in every house in today's Bangladesh.
The government is reaching the healthcare service to the doorsteps of the people as the development has touched every corner of Bangladesh, she added.
She went on saying: "Our job is to ensure the welfare of the people. We think that our sole responsibility is to ensure the welfare of the people. Now our target is to build 'Smart Bangladesh' by 2041 and we'll be able to accomplish the goal."
Sheikh Hasina said the Puja is being celebrated in nice and peaceful manners throughout the country and all concerned government agencies including the police and her party men are working sincerely so that no untoward incident can take place during the festival.
"We want this Puja celebration to end peacefully," she insisted, adding that the government has taken all necessary measures for peaceful celebration of the religious festival.
This time Durga Puja is being celebrated at more than 32,000 puja mandaps throughout the country amid the peaceful environment, she noted.
The annual five-day Sharadiya Durgo Utsab is being celebrated at temples and makeshift mandaps in the country since Thursday.
The prime minister also went to the Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, visited the Puja mandap there and exchanged greetings with the people of Hindu community.
Addressing the devotees there, she said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman incorporated equal rights of all religious faiths to the constitution so that they can practise and celebrate their respective religions and festivals.
"And the Father of the Nation had ensured it", she said, adding that the people who grabbed power after the killing of Bangabandhu had destroyed the non-communal spirit of Bangladesh.
They also rescinded secularism from the Bangladesh constitution through martial law, but Awami League after assuming power restored the secularism bringing amendment to the constitution, she said.
"We've ensured the freedom of practising all religions," she added.
"Now, you (Hindu community) are celebrating Durga Puja peacefully across the country during the Awami League period, but once you couldn't do so," said Sheikh Hasina.
She assured that her government would be standing beside the Hindu community people so that they can enjoy their due rights.
"You were born on this soil. So, we all will live in this land enjoying all due rights here. I can at least say that, as we are in power, we definitely give this assurance and will be beside you," she said.
She asked all including the Hindu community people to work together for this motherland. "This country belongs to all. You never think of yourself as a minority. Think always that this land is yours too," she said.
The prime minister said they want the country to move forward, this progress to continue and all to live here in a decent atmosphere.
She also unveiled the cover of a publication by the students of Vivekananda Biddarthy Building of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, Dhaka.
Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission Principal and Secretary Swami Purnatmanandaji Maharaj delivered the welcome address.