The ruling Awami League has decided not to take out a Mongol Shobhajatra procession to celebrate the Bangla New Year on Pohela Boishakh.
Party chief and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina took the decision during a meeting of the central working committee at the Ganabhaban on Wednesday, according to several leaders present at the meeting.
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They quoted Hasina as saying that the Pohela Boishakh celebrations are part of the Bangali culture.
“What is the benefit of turning it into a political programme? If we want to celebrate the event, we can do so in a homely atmosphere. We can hold the celebrations at the Ganabhaban,” she was quoted as telling the meeting, reports Bangla Tribune.
The Dhaka metropolitan unit of the party used to bring out a colourful procession from Bahadur Shah Park and end at Bangabandhu Avenue on every Pohela Boishakh. Central leaders also take part in the procession.
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On April 2, General Secretary Obaidul Quader told a party meeting that the Dhaka city south unit of Awami League and its associate bodies would hold Mongol Shobhajatra this year.
But Quader on Thursday said the decision had been scrapped. “We have decided to call off the Boishakh procession considering the suffering of the people,” he told the media.
The decision came amid protests by Islamists
and statements against the government announcement making Mongol Shobhajatra mandatory for educational institutions.
Also Read: Jamaat claims Mongol Shobhajatra is haram
Meanwhile, the Dhaka Metropolitan Police have ratcheted up security
in the capital ahead of Pohela Boishakh. Police have ordered to wrap up open-air events in Dhaka before 5pm and said such programmes on the Dhaka Univeristy campus must end before 6pm.
Initiatives have been taken by different ministries to observe Pohela Boishakh this year with more importance after the Mongol Shobhajatra was inscribed
on the Unesco's Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in November last year.
The Unesco agreed that Mongol Shobhajatra “symbolises the pride of the people of Bangladesh in their living heritage as well as their strength and courage to fight sinister forces, and their vindication of truth and justice.”