Religious harmony improves in Bangladesh: Hindu leader

October 6th, 2008 - 1:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Oct 6 (IANS) The increasing number of Durga Puja pandals (marquees) indicate better communal harmony in Bangladesh, says a Hindu leader, a retired general who fought in the country’s liberation war in 1971.Major General C.R. Dutta, Biruttam, pointed to 22,000 puja pandals, 165 of them in the national capital, to make his point while speaking to the media on a Charter of Demands to the government.

Dutta, an advisor to Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad, Sunday placed a 35-point charter including celebration of Durga Puja festival at state level and four-day public holiday on the occasion.

The Parishad also demanded cancellation of the fifth and eighth amendments introduced during the 1980s pertaining to the role of Islam in the constitution and restoration of the constitution of 1972.

The leaders placed their demands at a view exchange meeting with reporters at the historic Dhakeshwari Temple in the city.

Parishad general secretary Satyendra Chandra said equality of people of all faiths and cultures must be ensured in order to forge national unity and build a modern democratic country.

He demanded that major public buildings, including Bangabhaban, and busy thoroughfares in the city should be illuminated with colourful lights during Durga Puja.

Other demands of the Parishad include celebration of birth anniversary of Sri Krishna, construction of separate prayer houses at all public and educational institutes and special programmes on the media during the festival.

Bengalis across the world are celebrating Puja, their biggest festival to invoke blessings of Goddess Durga.

There are 11.3 million Hindus in Bangladesh as per 2001 census, comprising 9.2 percent of the population and Hinduism is the second largest religion in the Muslim majority country.

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