Bangladesh readies over 32,000 venues for Durga Puja amid heightened security

Extensive security measures are being implemented in the wake of last year's attacks on places of worship across the country

Dhaka University Correspondent
Published : 24 Sept 2022, 08:07 AM
Updated : 24 Sept 2022, 08:07 AM

After two pandemic-ridden years, Durga Puja, the biggest annual festival for Hindus, is set to be marked with fervour at 32,168 venues across Bangladesh.

However, the anti-Hindu violence that cast a shadow over the festival last year has prompted the authorities to ramp up security measures this time, according to the Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad.

The government is intent on preventing any unsavoury incident and law enforcement agencies are on high alert, JL Bhowmik, head of the committee, said on Saturday.

"We feel that it is very difficult to protect 32,168 venues. So this year, we are appointing volunteers to every temple, who will guard them even at night."

Although it may be difficult to ensure 'complete security', measures are being taken in villages while venues will also be equipped with CCTV, according to him.

"Makeshift venues in particular are more vulnerable. Marquees that are set up in fields, grounds or roads are at higher risk. We have to be more vigilant about these venues and guard them throughout the night."

Bhowmik blamed a 'culture of impunity' for the attacks on religious minorities in the country. He called on the ruling Awami League to introduce legislation to protect religious minorities before the next election.

Pointing to the impact of legislative intervention in curbing acid violence in the country, he said,

"We also need to enact a law with a provision for the maximum punishment for those guilty [of communal violence]."

This year's Durga Puja will begin on Oct 1 and end with the idols' immersion on Oct 5.

The number of puja venues have been increased by 50 from last year, according to the committee. As many as 241 pavillions will be set up for the rituals in Dhaka this year.