Bangladesh: Protests erupt in Dhaka after poll date clashes with Saraswati puja

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jan 15, 2020, 06.30 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( AFP )

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The matter reached the High Court after a plea was filed urging to re-schedule the election date. However, it was rejected as court said, 'declared' day for the Saraswati puja is January 29.

Protests erupted in Bangladesh's capital Dhaka after the city polls coincided with the annual Saraswati puja festival.

The polls are scheduled for January 30, the same day as Saraswati puja also known as Basant Panchami festival which is one of the biggest religious festivals of the Hindu community in Bangladesh.

Over the last two days, thousands have taken to the streets of Dhaka urging the Election Commission to re-schedule the polls.

The matter reached the High Court after a plea was filed urging to re-schedule the election date. However, it was rejected as court said, 'declared' day for the Saraswati puja is January 29.

But, petitioners say that the puja will be celebrated over two days, January 29 and 30.

The Election Commission has also rejected the protesters' demand saying it cannot be postponed as high school exams begin from February 2.

The Election Commission further told the protesters to respect the court's order. 

According to the 2011 census, Muslims constitute around 90 per cent of the population of Bangladesh while Hindus are the second-largest religious group accounting for nearly 9 per cent.

Secularism 'was' one of the four fundamental principles, according to the 1972 constitution of Bangladesh; but the term was removed from the Constitution in 1977.