All deputy commissioners (DCs), superintendents of police (SPs) and Upazila Nirbahi Officers (UNOs) have been asked to hold community meetings for the peaceful celebration of Durga Puja, the biggest religious festival of the Hindu community, reports BSS.
"We have already asked the DCs, SPs and UNOs for holding meetings with the local elite to ensure congenial atmosphere for the Hindu community to perform their religious rituals in a festive mood," emerging from a meeting State Minister for Home Lutfuzzaman Babar told reporters in the city Wednesday afternoon.
The inter-ministerial meeting chaired by the state minister at his ministry discussed preparatory measures to maintain peace during the Durga Puja celebration beginning on October 9.
Babar said huge contingents of police and Ansars will be deployed across the country to ensure security of the 'puja mandaps' while there will be over 8,000 members of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) in 64 districts to avert any untoward incident.
The Islamic Foundation Bangladesh, the state minister said, has been asked to sit with 'imams' of mosques and priests of temples to reach an understanding that the Puja activities would not coincide with 'Ajan', call for prayers to Muslims.
He said the Ministry of Home Affairs will monitor the country's law and order round the clock during the holy month of Ramadan and the Hindu religious festival of Durga Puja.
"We have already constituted a monitoring cell. It will remain open round the clock. People can contact it at phone No. 716 8199 and fax numbers 717 1593, 717 1594 and 717 1595 if any untoward incident occurs anywhere in the country during Ramdan and Puja," Babar said.
He said more than 20,000 'puja mandaps' would be erected across the country this year, including 442 in and around the capital city. Last year, the total number of 'puja mandaps' was 19,700. Babar said the increase in the number of 'puja mandaps' indicates that there would be spontaneous participation of the Hindu community in this year's festival.
Hindu community leaders who were present in the meeting put forward some demands, including increase of Durga Puja holiday from one day to two days and illumination of public buildings marking the festival.
They requested the government to arrange extensive coverage of the festival in the print and electronic media during 'shaptami', 'ashtami' and 'nabami'.
The community leaders also sought cooperation in solving the problem of Ramna Kali Mandir immediately.
State Minister for Water Resources Goutam Chakraborty, among others, attended the meeting.
Home secretary, religious affairs secretary, inspector general of police (IGP) and director general of RAB were also present.
Leaders of Hindu, Buddha and Christian Oikya Parishad, Mohanagar Sarbojanin Puja Udjapan Parishad and Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad attended the meeting. They included Goyeswar Chandra Roy, Major General (retd) CR Dutt, Nitai Chandra Roy and Hindu, Buddha and Christian Students and Youth Front convenor Amalendu Das Apu.
Replying to a question, CR Dutt, a senior leader of the Hindu community, expressed his satisfaction over the government security arrangements for the Durga Puja celebrations.
Referring to the 'Janmastami' celebration, the veteran freedom fighter said the Hindu community observed the Lord Sri Krishna's birthday with much enthusiasm this year as the government took adequate security measures.