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Upama Das | HENB | Dhaka | Sept 30, 2022:: Across the Republic of Bangladesh (where Islam is state religion), including Dhaka, the Hindu minorities are celebrating their largest puja festival of Sharadiya Durgotsav. A microscopic section of majority Muslim population are also to join the festival. But this large festival has left an impression of concern on the face of the Dhaka Police as during this puja last year (2021), rioters attacked various Dura puja Mandaps (pavilions) in Bangladesh. Keeping that in mind, Dhaka Police is not ruling out the issue of attacks of Dura puja this year by the fanatic people. Dhaka Police Commissioner Shafiqul Islam thinks that there are two types of danger during this Durga Puja. One is a direct terrorist attack and the other is creating a ruckus through social media rumours. On Thursday, he visited the Dhakeshwari temple and interacted with the media persons there.
Last year, a puja mandap in Comilla was attacked by Muslim miscreants. Temples, idols, pavilions were vandalized. Then, BGB was deployed in 22 districts of Bangladesh. Police arrested 43 people due to Comilla incident. Nirmal Kumar Chattopadhyay, then general secretary of Bangladesh Pujo Celebration Parishad, said in the media that besides Comilla, temples were attacked in Chandpur, Chapainbaganj, Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar during Durga Puja.
In this context, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) will take the highest security measures during the five days of Durga Puja celebration starting from Saturday, October 1, said the DMP Commissioner Md. Shafiqul Islam in Dhaka on Thursday. Addressing the media about the security arrangements during the Durga Puja, DMP Commissioner said that the law enforcement agencies will ensure round the clock security at 242 mandaps in the capital city Dhaka this year.
Police Commissioner Shafiqul Islam said that all mandaps and pandals will be under CCTV surveillance round the clock. The detective branch of police, Special Branch and other intelligence agencies will be deployed in plainclothes apart from uniformed police personnel. Members of the elite tactical unit of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics), will also patrol puja pandals, informed the DMP Commissioner. Volunteers and members of city police Ansar will keep the vigil round the clock to avert any untoward incident during the Puja, assured the DMP Commissioner.
He also cautioned people against rumours being spread by certain sections on social media during the festival.
The five-day celebration of Durga Puja will begin with the unveiling of the face of the deity on Maha Shashti day on 1st October. The festival will end with the immersion of idols on 5th October. Durga Puja is being celebrated at 32,168 mandaps across the country this year including 242 in the capital, according to Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad.
Earlier in this month, Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman khan hold a meeting between leaders of the minority Hindu community and officials of the Government & press here on Sept 11, where he announced the deploy paramilitary Ansar Bahini during the upcoming Durga puja celebrations in all 32,168 puja pandals across the country. But, Khan suggested in that meeting not to increase the numbers of puja anymore seeing the law and order situation. He also appealed not to make sounds of dhaks (drums) for puja at the time of Namaz.
Deployment of the Ansar Bahini and government-sanctioned volunteers would be ensured to avert a repeat of the communal attacks that were witnessed in 2021 when a large number of puja pandals in Comilla, Chittagong and other places were destroyed in mob attacks following suspicious reports of sacrilege.
Sharia People in Bangladesh and many Islamist organisations there have been opposing Durga Puja publicly in that Muslim majority country in accordance to the basic tenets of Islam on Iconoclasm.
__Inputs from Zee 24 Ghanta, AIR & Agencies.