Seeking to reassure the predominantly Hindu minorities in her country and the global community at large, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said her government strongly supports secularism and any attempt to disturb communal harmony is immediately dealt with. .
In an interview with ANI ahead of his visit to India, Sheikh Hasina however claimed that extremism is not limited to his country as many countries including India witness it. She said one of the reasons for the rise in extremism was social media, which had gotten “very, very bad these days”.
“As long as we are in power, we always value that and I always tell them (the minority) that you are our citizens. You should own our country. But sometimes some incidents happen but immediately we act. It’s sometimes, it’s happened, it’s a very undesirable situation but you know very well that it’s not only Bangladesh, even India also sometimes minorities have suffered,” she said. declared.
Attacks and acts of hostility against the minority Hindu population in Bangladesh have been reported. There are reports of attacks on pandals or Durga Puja shrines. Sheikh Hasina, however, said it was important for countries to show magnanimity when asked about incidents of attacks on the minority Hindu population.
“I think the country should show its magnanimity and our part, you know Bangladesh is a secular country and we have many religions here. And religious harmony is here, very good. So one or two incidents when that happens immediately… …especially my party… people in my party, they are very aware of it and also my government. We act immediately,” she said.
Asked to comment on the role of the radical community of bloggers and others on social media, Sheikh Hasina said it is undesirable for people to write things to hurt themselves and added that her government was trying to curb such activity.
“Listen, extremism is everywhere. Even in India or other countries if you see in the world, there are many countries where you can find out. So because of social media, it has become very … very bad these days. Some people sometimes write something. Even sometimes it’s not the bloggers but even another religion or whatever… Sometimes they write and then immediately people come, but we did we try our best to control that. We never support that. Every religion, they have their right to practice their religion properly, and you shouldn’t say one thing that hurts the other religion,” she said.
Last month, responding to incidents of violence in parts of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, addressing the Hindu minority, said they had the same rights as her. She made these comments on the occasion of Janamashtmi. Earlier, there were reports from southwestern Bangladesh that temples, shops and houses of Hindus had been vandalized.
Sheikh Hasina told ANI that although some incidents have occurred, Bangladesh has a tradition where people of all religions participate in all celebrations.
“All of us together we celebrate… As a cultural event, even you can see it in Bangladesh, during Durga Puja. So many places, we have Durga Puja and people all celebrate together. So the religious harmony is there but now a little…here and there incidents are happening but our government is immediately taking action against that,” she said.
Asked about the prevalence of cattle smuggling from India to Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina said the issue was being discussed and the problem had also been significantly reduced.
“But still sometimes incidents happen. So we are talking with India for them to be patient on the issue of cattle trafficking. You already know that nowadays in our country we don’t depend much anymore Indian cow. We raise our own, you know, cattle here because we need them. But there’s smuggling on the border. So both sides, border forces, they sit together. Any incident happens, they hold the flag meetings, they discuss. So yes, we will say the assurance that it will decrease so it should not take place,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina is due to visit India on a key bilateral visit on Monday. Sheikh Hasina’s four-day visit to India is seen in both countries as an opportunity to further strengthen the proven cooperation between the two fastest growing South Asian economies. The Prime Minister of Bangladesh is also expected to discuss defense cooperation and regional stability with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)