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Govt can prevent violence centring Durga Puja if it wants: Oikya Parishad

If the government wants, it can prevent attacks and vandalism during Durga Puja, Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Oikya Parishad's General Secretary Rana Dasgupta said today.

"The year 2022 did not witness any attacks or vandalism following the violence during 2021 Durga Puja. It serves as evidence that if the government wants to prevent such incidents, they are capable of doing so," Dasgupta said at a press conference at the National Press Club.

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"In 2021, a man named Iqbal brought the Holy Quran in front of a statue of Lord Hanuman in Cumilla during Durga Puja. When he was arrested, he was labelled as mad. However, we did not witness anyone behind this mad person, or see anyone else being arrested," he said.

If the instigators were apprehended and punished, it may have deterred recurrences of such incidents, the general secretary added.

He further said, "Our political parties must come together for the greater interest of the nation's democracy, keeping aside divisive sectarian interests. They must unite to build resistance against incidents like vandalism of idols."

Before this statement, Dasgupta announced they would hold the mass rally on November 4 instead of October 6 based on the assurance from the government that it would form the national commission for minority affairs before its tenure expires.

The act for forming the commission would be passed in the next parliament session in October.

In a written statement, Dasgupta said the Election Commission has already announced that the 12th national parliamentary elections will be held in the first week of January next year.

"We hope that all the political parties in our country will come forward with a greater commitment to keeping the interests of the country and the nation intact, and will play a more responsible role in ensuring the continuity of democracy and development for the future."