Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday said she feels ‘very bad’ when people belonging to religions like Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity undermine themselves dubbing them ‘minority communities’.
“I feel very bad. Why do you (people of Hindu, Buddhist, Christian and other religions) undermine yourselves? Bangladesh is ours, it’s for all,” she said while exchanging greetings with Hindu community members at the green lawn of her official residence Ganobhaban on the occasion of Janmashtami.
“I don’t know why you repeatedly term yourselves minority. Aren’t you citizens of this state? Aren’t you residents of this country? Isn’t this land your birthplace? This is your homeland. Why do you then undermine yourselves through marking you minority?” the Prime Minister further said.
She said every person of this country has equal right to everything. “The Awami League government always thinks that this country is for all. Please don’t treat yourselves as minority.”
Mentioning that this land, country and homeland are for all, Sheikh Hasina posed another question, “Why don’t you have faith in you? Awami League never sees its people through this dividing attitude,” she added.
She said if capable enough, each and every citizen of the country will get equal chance in every sector. “We’re ensuring that. Bangladesh is ours, all irrespective of their religions made sacrifice for the liberation of this country. This country belongs to all,” she said.
Talking about her government’s philosophy of ‘religion is for individuals and festivals are for all’, the Prime Minister said people of all faiths had fought shoulder-to-shoulder in 1971 and embraced martyrdom to liberate the country.
During the great Liberation War, she said, people from all religions under the leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman participated in it and sacrificed their blood for the country’s independence.
Underscoring the need for maintaining communal and religious harmony in the country, Sheikh Hasina said every religion preaches peace, fraternity and tolerance and it is the important aspect of religion.
About the law enacted by her government for the Hindu community which is similar to ‘hiba law’ of the Muslim community, she said the government formulated it to facilitate the transfer of property of Hindu community members to their close relatives without providing any tax.
The Prime Minister said the government always tries to make sure that every festival of all religions is observed in a festive mood. “This is the beauty of Bangladesh where people from all religions participate in every religious festival. And from that aspect, Bangladesh is unique in the world,” she said.
She extended her greetings to the Hindu community on the occasion of Janmashtami, saying Sri Krishna had preached the message of love, justice and affection which all should promote.
Sheikh Hasina said Lord Krishna was born to establish brotherhood among the people through ‘checking the wicked and nurturing the goods’.
Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumdar, State Minister for Religious Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, President of Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad Milan Kanti Dutta, its General Secretary Nirmal Kumar Chatterjee, President of Janmashtami Udjapan Parishad Gourango Dey, its General Secretary Bimal Kanti Dey, former general secretary of Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad Advocate Chandan Talukdar, President of Mohanagar Sarbojonin Puja Committee Shailandranath Majumdar, Vice-chairman of Hindu Religion Welfare Trust Subrata Paul, and former General Secretary of Janmashtami Udjapan Parishad Debashish Palit also spoke on the occasion.