Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday urged all to maintain the peaceful atmosphere restored after the January-5 election, enabling the people of all religions to happily observe their religious festivals.
“Now the people of all faiths, including the Christian community, can happily celebrate their religious festivals unlike last year, as the government has restored peace after the January-5 election,” she said.
The Prime Minister made the remarks at a greetings-exchange programme with leaders of Bangladesh Christian Association at her official residence Ganabhaban on the occasion of holy Christmas to be observed on Thursday.
Hadina said the government has ensured a non-communal society where people of all religions could enjoy equal rights and religious freedom. "And we want to maintain this atmosphere," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the country passed through a terrible time during the January-5 election when BNP-Jamaat in the name of agitation programme unleashed acts of horror as people did not respond to their call.
"They started killing people, setting fire to mosques, copies of holy Quran, vehicles, and various establishments. These anarchic acts were their agitation programmes. You (Christians) had to observe your largest festival, Christmas, in a great anxiety," she said.
During BNP-Jamaat’s previous tenure, Hasina said, many mosques, houses, temples, pagodas and other religious establishments were also demolished and women tortured in many parts of the country.
She said her government has ensured the equal rights of all religious communities to celebrate various national day programmes, including Pahela Boishakh, Independence Day, Victory Day, Eid and Puja.
Hasina mentioned that the main spirit of all religions is humanity and her government wants the people of all religions living in the county with religious harmony.
Hasina urged all to work together in building a dignified, peaceful and prosperous Bangladesh.
Describing various success of her government in taking the country forward, Sheikh Hasina said her government has achieved tremendous progress in education, health, ICT, power and energy sectors as well as in poverty reduction.
The Prime Minister expressed her optimism that the victorious Bangalee nation would certainly stand before the world community with its head high with dignity and honour.
She greeted members of the Christian community and wished them a very happy and prosperous life.
Later, the Prime Minister cut an X-Mass Day cake in presence of members of the Christian community. Artistes of the Christian community also presented a number of songs on the occasion.
The function was held with Bangladesh Christian Association President and State Minister for Social Welfare Advocate Promod Mankin in the chair.
Earlier, a special prayer was held seeking blessings of the Lord Jesus for the nation’s continued peace, progress and prosperity.
Bangladesh Christian Association president Promod Mankin and secretary general Nirmal Rozario presented an X-Mass card and bouquet to the Prime Minister.
Religious Affairs Minister Principal Matiur Rahman, country's top religious leader of the Christian community Arch Bishop Patrick D' Rozario, former caretaker government adviser Tapan Chowdhury and association secretary general Nirmal Rozario also spoke on the occasion.