The participants stressed the need to stop the misuse of social media, the full implementation of the constitution of 1972, the importance of roles of cultural, social and political forces against the communal forces and the state’s responsibility towards the religious and other minorities.

Former chairman of National Human Rights Commission, professor Mizanur Rahman, said the administration termed all incidents of communal attack as isolated ones but these all are linked.

These menaces cannot be eradicated as long as the state recognizes the crime, he added.

He advocated the reinstatement of secularism in the constitution and speedy legal steps against criminals. He also proposed that compensation for the victims should be collected from the attackers.

Bangladesh Mahila Parishad’s president Fowzia Moslem said communalism is being used as a political tool to repress the marginal community.

He said police and administration have failed to prevent communal attacks.

Police are hardly seen taking preventative measures in such cases, she added.

Former information commissioner Sadeka Halim also raised questions about the role of deputy commissioners and police supers during communal attacks.

She said the problem needs a political solution.

Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum’s general secretary Sanjeeb Drong said the state should give recognition to ethnic and religious minorities.

The state does not even apologise for the attacks on minorities, Sanjeeb added.

Journalist Abu Saeed Khan said communal forces have intruded into political parties.

The leftist parties have become weaker and Awami League has deviated, he added.

Journalist Mozammel Babu said Bangalee culture should be fostered instead of Arab culture to come out of the crisis.

Presiding over the event, parishad’s president JL Bhowmik said there is a plan to drive out the Hindus from the country under the pretext that the religious sentiment of the majority is being hurt.

The country would not survive if this cannot be thwarted, he added.

Journalist Abed Khan, security analyst major general (retd) Mohammad Ali Shikder, Supreme Court’s former justice Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik, Sampriti Bangladesh’s convenor Piyush Bandhopaddhyay, member secretary Mamun-Al-Mahtab, Prohtom Alo’s joint editor Sohrab Hassan, Dhaka University’s professor Robaet Ferdous and Puja Udjapan Parishad’s general secretary Chandranath Poddar, among others spoke at the programme.

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