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15th amendment to ensure citizens’ equal rights: PM

Staff Correspondent: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday said the government has amended the Constitution to ensure equal rights of all citizens and seal off ways to usurp the state power in the future.

“We want to ensure rights of all citizens irrespective of their religion and race,” she said at a meeting with the leaders of Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad and Janmasthami Udjapan Parishad at her official residence.

Sheikh Hasina said the present government wants to create an atmosphere where every citizen would feel that he/she is enjoying equal rights like others. “That’s why we’ve passed the 15th amendment to the Constitution,” she said.

Referring to the critics of the amendment, the prime minister said some vested quarters have emerged all on a sudden and are threatening to throw away the Constitution.

Hasina said the amendment was made to ensure that no one could grab the state power in future.

She also said the amended Constitution has provisions of punishing those who will grab the state power illegally.

“We want to ensure that no one can play game with the fate of the people,” she said.

About the caretaker government, Hasina said it was true that she had launched movement for establishment of the caretaker system. “But there were some loopholes in this system as the BNP-led government passed the system by an illegal parliament,” she said.

Hasina said the people of the country have unique experience of the caretaker system since 1990.

Recalling the “dark days” of 2001, the prime minister said not only Hindu, Buddhist or Christians faced oppression; the people who worked for Awami League faced the heinous oppression by the BNP-Jamaat government. “Even Muslims were not safe from their tortures,” she added.

Hasina said Awami League is the only party in the country that believes in communal harmony.

She said the people of Bangladesh are very cordial by nature and have respect for other religions. “That’s why the people of one religion participate in the religious festivals of the other religions,” she said.

The prime minister said the government will not allow any kind of extremism and militancy in Bangladesh that destroys communal harmony.

Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad chief adviser CR Dutta, Prof Durga Das Bhattacharya, Puja Udjapan Parishad president Subrata Chowdhury, general secretary Mongol Ghosh, Janmasthami Udjapan Parishad, Chittagong chapter general secretary Adv Tapan Kanti Das and Mahanagar Sarbajanin Puja Udjapan Parishad general secretary Babul Debnath also spoke.

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