Sangskritik Jote slates time limit requiring Pahela Baishakh celebrations to end by 6pm

It says the ‘discriminatory and unacceptable’ time constraint will embolden anti-cultural forces

Published : 29 March 2024, 02:05 PM
Updated : 29 March 2024, 02:05 PM

The Sammilita Sangskritik Jote, the premier coalition of cultural organisations, has demanded abolition of a time limit on Bangla New Year celebrations, labelling such restrictions ‘discriminatory and unacceptable’.

Its President Ghulam Quddus and General Secretary Ahkamullah issued a statement on Friday, criticising the decision to limit the Pahela Baishakh celebrations to 6pm.

"Bangla New Year is the biggest universal non-communal festival of Bengalis. For hundreds of years, the Bangla New Year has been celebrated through Baishakhi fairs, cultural events and traditional sports,” they said in the statement.

“From morning, all men and women, regardless of religion and caste, participate in this festival until deep into the night.

"Even though there is government allocation for organising Baisakhi festivals and Mangal Shobhajatra in every Upazila and directives to organise Mangal Shobhajatra in educational institutions, the home ministry directive to limit the programmes to 6pm is controversial as there is no time constraint for organising any programmes on national days and religious events.”

The statement said the alliance feels the decision would embolden anti-cultural forces.

The home ministry after a meeting on Wednesday directed all to end outdoor Pahela Baishakh programmes, including at the Ramna Park, Suhrawardy Udyan, Dhaka University, Hatirjheel and Rabindra Sarobar, by 6pm.

Those who will go to the campus on the morning of Pahela Baishakh to celebrate the Bangla New Year and take part in the Mangal Shobhajatra will have to follow some guidelines as well.

For example, no face mask can be worn or bags can be carried on the Dhaka University campus during the procession. Large masks made by the Faculty of Fine Arts can be carried in hand during the procession.

Dhaka University authorities have requested everyone to refrain from playing and selling vuvuzelas and end the celebrations on the campus by 5pm.