Temple vandalism perpetrators will be exposed to justice: PM

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday said the people involved in vandalizing Hindu temples must face exemplary punishment, calling upon all to work in unison and remain vigilant to stop recurrence of such heinous acts.

“Those who carried out such incidents will definitely be traced out as we did in the past,” she said in a virtual interaction with the Hindu community members at Dhakeshwari National Temple from her Ganabhaban residence on the occasion of Sharodia Durga Puja.

She said steps were taken by now and exemplary punitive actions awaited the perpetrators of the temple vandalism so none could dare repeat such heinous acts in future.

Sheikh Hasina called “very unfortunate” the Cumilla incident saying it was aimed at hampering the nation’s journey forward and added that extensive investigations were underway into the matter.

“We’re getting much information (regarding the incident). This is an era of technology and those involved in the incident will definitely be tracked down with the use of the technology,” she said.

The prime minister said the people irrespective of caste, creed and religion in Bangladesh celebrate all festivals together as “religion is for individuals and festival is for all”.

“We enjoy every festival together,” she said but added that few elements were out to destroy the spirit with a communal hatred.

“Some people are religiously blind and they always want to create communal conflicts. These people belong not only to the Muslim community, but belong to other religious faiths as well,” the premier said.

But, she said, the unity of sane people would definitely offset the acts of those elements.

“Those who can’t earn the confidence and trust of the people and have no politics of ideology can commit such incidents,” she added.

Principal of Dhaka’s Ramkrishna Math and Mission Swami Purnatmananda Maharaj, Bangladesh Puja Udjapon Committee president Milon Kanti Dey and Maganagar Sarbojonin Puja Committee General Secretary Advocate Krishna Ranjan Mandol, spoke on the occasion.

President of Maganagar Sarbojonin Puja Committee, Shree Shailendranath Majumder chaired the function, moderated by Bangladesh Puja Udjapon Committee General Secretary Nirmol Kumar Chatterjee.

One of the speakers sought preventive government’s steps fearing the recurrence of violence during immersion of the idols of goddess Durga on Friday, the premier said appropriate measures were already taken towards that end.

The Prime Minister called upon the Hindu community not to consider them as minority and perform their religious rituals with the same rights enjoyed by followers of other faiths as part of their constitutional and birthrights.

“We believe that those who are born on the soil of this country and who are its children will practice their respective religions freely,” she said recalling that followers of all faiths also fought shoulder to shoulder to liberate the country in 1971.

Sheikh Hasina reminded all that Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had set secularism as one of the basic constitutional principles as he wanted the people of all faiths to perform their respective religions with full freedom.

She said traditionally Bangladesh is a country of religious harmony where people perform their religious rituals with dignity and renewed her pledge to build Bangladesh as a peaceful country where there will be no room for militancy and terrorism.

The premier highlighted various measures taken by her government for uplift of the Hindu community as part of its commitment to ensure welfare of all irrespective of caste, creed and religion.