Dhaka – Protests erupted in central Dhaka after a High Court bench rejected a petition seeking deferral of voting date for the mayoral elections in the bifurcated Dhaka city on January 30 that coincided with the Hindu religious festival celebration of the arrival of the spring.
Several hundred students belonging to minority Hindu religion sat in Dhaka’s Shahbag crossing Tuesday hours after the High Court bench of Justice JBM Hassa and Justice Justice Md Khairul Alam rejected the petition filed by an aggrieved person of the minority group.
Earlier, the election commission announced the schedule for the Dhaka City elections to hold the mayoral voting on January 30. The contestants from major political have parties begun electioneering as per the schedule. The government has however marked the calendar with official holiday on January 29 for the Hindu religious festival also known as Swaraswati puja.
The court after hearing from both the state defence lawyers said the countrywide Secondary School Certificate examination will start on February 2.
It also mentioned that none has raised any question when the government holiday was announced on January 29 to mark the festival.
There is no scope for shifting the date of holding the two city corporation elections of Dhaka under this circumstance, it said.
Soon after the court order, a senior election commission official said that the election and celebration of the religious festival will go side by side.
“We will go by the court order,” said Md Alamgir, the secretary of the commission hoping that all will follow the verdict to help conduct a peaceful election as per the schedule.
A leader of the Jagannath Hall of the Dhaka University said the announcement of the election date on the day of Hindu religious festival is against the spirit of the Bangladesh’s constitution that allows people of all faith to exercise their right to religion.
“We don’t want to block the road, but we are bound to do that after the court verdict,” Utpal Biswas, the vice-president of the Jagannath Hall Student Union, told reporters about the demonstration on a busy road intersection in the afternoon.