Will prevent any attempt to use religion as political weapon to create social unrest: Sheikh Hasina

Dhaka: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday cautioned people against reappearance of fanaticism in the country and said that her government was determined to prevent any attempt to use religion as a “political weapon” to create social unrest.
“Don’t use religion as a political tool…we will not allow anyone to create any anarchy or division in this country in the name of religion,” Hasina said in a televised speech on the eve of the 50th Victory Day.

Hasina said a section of defeated forces of 1971 Liberation War reappeared in the political landscape to mislead ordinary Muslims with concocted and confusing messages to create social unrest to return the country to a situation which the nation overcame 50 years ago.

She said being patronized by a political quarter, these elements even dared to show their red eyes to the government though Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had warned the nation against the use of religion as a political weapon many decades ago.

“The people of Bangladesh are pious, not religious bigots…the people of this country will proceed towards progress, advancement and development upholding the religious values,” she said in an apparent reference to a recently launched move by a quarter against sculpture.

“Let us not trample the Liberation War’s spirit of non-communalism…let us not forget our debt to tens of thousands of martyrs,” she said.

Hasina reminded her countrymen that the country’s independence came in exchange of bloods of the followers of all faiths — Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Christians. Bangladesh still carried the heritage of liberal spirituality, culture and pluralism, she added.

“This Bangladesh is the land of Lalon Shah, Rabindranath, Kazi Nazrul, Jibonanda…This Bangladesh is the Bangladesh of Shahjalal, Shah Paran, Shah Makhdum and Khanjahal Ali; this is a land of 16 and a half crores of Bengalis — this country belongs to all,” Hasina said.

She particularly urged the youths and new generations to uphold this spirit and not forget the “sacrifices of your forefathers”.

Bangladesh won its victory on December 16 in 1971 following a nine-month long Liberation War with Indian support against Pakistan.

Hasina’s warning came as extreme rightwing Muslim groups waged a campaign against sculptures in the wake of the government’s plans to setup statues of Bangabandhu in major cities.


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