The rise of radical groups is so unfortunate in Bangladesh, which had once rejected the Saudi Arabian government’s proposal to change its name
Anti-Liberation and non-communal forces will greatly impact the country’s future through the forthcoming general election, observed speakers at a roundtable discussion.
Sampreeti Bangladesh, a platform working for communal harmony organized the roundtable on ‘Next Election: Obligation of the Religious Communities,’ at Dhaka’s CIRDAP auditorium on Saturday.
Discussants at the event said political parties registered with the Election Commission must think of anti-Liberation and non-communal forces as these will be the key issues might greatly affect the country’s future.
Terming the discussion a timely one with the election manifestos looming, AAMS Arefin Siddique, former vice-chancellor of Dhaka University (DU), said in the presence of a democratic system, the origin, language and religion of a citizen does not matter.
“What matters most are the equal rights to voting since we decide who will be in power or in opposition by casting ballots,” he said.
“If the decisions of Bangabandhu had continued, we might not have to discuss the issue of religious harmony in 2018,” Siddique observed.
The four principles -- secularism, nationalism, democracy and socialism – of the 1972 constitution, which also reflects Bangabandhu’s ideologies, could not be established as yet, he said, adding: “Fundamentalism became stronger, instead.”
The rise of radical groups is so unfortunate in Bangladesh, which had once rejected the Saudi Arabian government’s proposal to change its name.
Siddique urged the people to vote to power the party that embodies the spirit of Liberation War, in the next election slated for December 30,to keep continue economic development.
He also suggested the countrymen to work together to make the society free from communalism.
Pijush Bandyopadhyay, convener of Sampreeti Bangladesh, referring to the protests over the recent suicide of a Hindu schoolgirl in Dhaka city, said the people raised their voice in this regard, irrespective of their religious identity.
Biman Barua, a DU professor, said young and female voters will turn out to be a key factor in the election.
Another DU Professor Uttam Barua expressed his concern over the 25 Jamaat leaders who are running for the polls after being endorsed by the BNP-led Oikya Front.
He also asked for a mass awareness against the ruling party, which he said possesses and practices the spirit of Liberation War.
Recounting the past attacks on religious minorities, he urged the authorities concerned to ensure security of such groups.
Bishop Paul S Sarker said the Christian community in Bangladesh is very small in size and is not activelyinvolved in politics.
“But we work tirelessly in establishing and the continuation of peace in the society,” said the preacher, adding that Bangladesh is struggling to completely become a non-communal country.
Mahububur Rahman, a leader of Bangladesh Medical Association, said the youth account for 20% stake of the total voters and minority groups are a major vote bank.
“Neither of the groups can be underestimated,” he warned.
The state will have to take effective measures to stop poll-time attacks on minorities.
“A mass upsurge against the fundamentalists and anti-Liberation War forces has to be in place before the election,” he said.
Mridul Mharaj of Dhaka’s Ramakrishna Mission predicted that more than 2.25 crore young voters will significantly impact the election results.
Islamic Foundation Director General Shamim Mohammad Afjal and security analyst AKM Ali Shikder, among others, also spoke at the event.
Suvas Singho Roy presented the keynote paper.