Efforts to break secular ethos of B’desh partly successful: Hasan Mahmud

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AGARTALA, Sept 15 (PTI): Bangladesh Information Minister Hasan Mahmud on Sunday said concerted efforts by a quarter to break the secular ethos of his country was partly successful, but that could be restored.

The relation between India and Bangladesh is healthy and it is becoming healthier each day under Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Sheikh Hasina respectively, Mahmud said at the inaugural programme of the first Bangladesh Film Festival in Tripura.

“There was a concerted effort to break the secular base of our country after the death of Sheikh Mujibar Rahaman and that quarter was partly successful, but we could restore it,” he said.

Four years after the country attained independence from Pakistan, Prime Minister Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was assassinated in 1975.

“Bangladesh was liberated on the plank of secularism. People belonging to different religions like Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Buddhists had contributed to the liberation war,” the minister said.

Bangladesh was founded as a secular nation but later in 1988, Islam became the country’s state religion.

On the “healthy” relation between India and Bangladesh, Mahmud said, “This relation is helping both the countries for faster developments. We always look forward to further improvement of our relations.”

This film festival organised by the Information Ministry of the neighbouring country would pave the way for further improvement of bi-lateral relation, he said. Communalism is a major impediment to development, he said and claimed that Pakistan could not develop due to indulgence in communalism.

“Now Bangladesh is much ahead (compared to Pakistan) in all economic parameters, though that country is much larger in size in terms of land area and population than ours,” the minister added.

Tripura had immense contribution to the liberation war of Bangladesh and the state accommodated 15 lakh refugees which were as good as the population of the state that time, Mahmud said. Altogether 20 films of Bangladesh would be screened in the festival.

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