Hasina vows to maintain Bangladesh`s secular chara

Last Updated: Sunday, April 14, 2013 - 16:19

Dhaka: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has vowed to maintain secularism as Bangladesh`s state policy, amid countrywide celebrations today to mark the Bengali New Year, seen by right-wing Islamists as "anti-Islamic" practice.

"Bangladesh will be a non-communal democratic country... Our country will be run in keeping with the spirit of the Madinah Charter of our beloved Prophet Mohammad" that charted out principles of religious harmony and co-existence, Hasina said in a statement on the eve of the Pahela Baishakh.

Her remarks assume significance in the wake of recent large-scale protests by Islamist parties led by Jamaat-e- Islami demanding reinstatement of "absolute trust and faith in the Almighty Allah" in the constitution and capital punishment for those who would denigrate Islam and its prophet.

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Islamabad: Pakistani police have registered a case under an anti-terrorism law against four newspapers, including the mass circulation Urdu daily Jang, for publishing press releases and statements of banned militant groups.

The case was registered against the Jang, Mashriq, Intikhab and Century Express newspapers in Quetta city on Friday, officials told the media.

The publishers, printers, editors and reporters of the dailies were named in an FIR registered under various sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act on the basis of a report from the chief of Quetta city police station.

Police officials said the action was taken because the newspapers were publishing statements from banned militant organisations even after a court had prohibited them from doing so.

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Hasina vows to maintain Bangladesh`s secular character

Dhaka: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has vowed to maintain secularism as Bangladesh`s state policy, amid countrywide celebrations today to mark the Bengali New Year, seen by right-wing Islamists as "anti-Islamic" practice.

"Bangladesh will be a non-communal democratic country... Our country will be run in keeping with the spirit of the Madinah Charter of our beloved Prophet Mohammad" that charted out principles of religious harmony and co-existence, Hasina said in a statement on the eve of the Pahela Baishakh.

Her remarks assume significance in the wake of recent large-scale protests by Islamist parties led by Jamaat-e- Islami demanding reinstatement of "absolute trust and faith in the Almighty Allah" in the constitution and capital punishment for those who would denigrate Islam and its prophet.

Meanwhile, thousands of people turned out on the streets and parks to celebrate `Pahela Baishakh` to welcome the Bengali New year 1420.

Cultural and musical groups ushered in the first day of the new year with songs and other performances at city parks, besides a big `mongol Shobhajatra` procession by fine art students and youngsters in the capital.

Hundreds of security personnel in plain clothes enforced a sharp security vigil while anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and police were on alert, authorities said.

"This is a routine security measure... But we are alert against any move by extreme right-wing Islamists or militant groups to ruin the celebration of the secular festival," a police spokesman said.

But the tight security did not deter people`s enthusiasm as men in traditional Punjabi wear and women in white and red saris joined children in the celebrations.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, April 14, 2013 - 16:19

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