Senior Correspondent, bdnews24.com
Published: 2017-04-13 21:00:41 BdST
Speaking at the inauguration of two entertainment projects in Hatirjheel area on Thursday, Hasina called for festive and peaceful celebrations of the Pahela Baishakh, which she says does not conflict with any religion.
Some radical Islamist groups have been demanding a ban on the Pahela Baishakh programmes, including Mangal Shobhajatra, branding them as Hindu celebrations that go against Islam.
Preparations for the celebrations also faced hindrances in parts of the country.
"This is not in conflict with religious sentiments in any way and do not relate it to any religion," the prime minister said, expressing hopes that the Bangla New Year would be celebrated peacefully.
"This is a festival celebrated together by people from all religions in Bangladesh.”
Hasina pointed out that the Bangla New Year has been celebrated since Mughal emperor Akbar’s time. "Bangla New Year is for Bangalees and part of Bangalee culture.”
Mentioning the 'Halkhata' event, she said the Bangla New Year's relations with businesses are traditional.
"Many want to distort it in many ways. But actually there is nothing in it that conflicts with any religion.”
She also noted that the UNESCO last year put one of the main events of the Pahela Baishakh celebrations, a procession called 'Mangal Shobhajatra', on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The government is planning similar programmes across the country this year.
The prime minister said, “You know that Mangal Shobhajatra has been recognised by the UNESCO as a world heritage. It has nothing to do with religion.”
“The art of making clay dolls, pots and other decorative pieces is rooted in our tradition,” Hasina said.
After inaugurating the Hatirjheel entertainment projects, she spoke to the people of Mymensingh via videoconferencing.
She urged people to keep their children away from militancy.