Dhaka, June 26 (BDnews24.com): Signifying the existence of religious tolerance in Muslim-majority Bangladesh, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness or ISKON was able to take out a colorful procession depicting a journey by chariot of Sri Jagannath Dev during Ramzan in Dhaka on Sunday.
The procession took place festival marks the return of Lord Krishna to Brindaban.
The procession started at 8am and came to an end at Dhakeshwari National Temple after meandering through parts of the city amid tight security. Police and RAB officials guarded the procession.
Devotees prayed for peace for all living beings on earth and communal harmony, ISKON Principal Charu Chandra Das Brahmachari said.
“We have gathered here to worship Lord Jagannath.”
A discussion chaired by Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon came after a session of prayers.
Food Minister Qamrul Islam and Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Harsh Vardhan Shringla attended the session with Awami League Joint General Secretary Mahbub-Ul-Alam Hanif as the key speaker.
“We fought to build a liberal nation. Now it is being said that many Hindus are leaving the country in the face of persecution. I want to assure you that this is your country and you have equal rights like everyone else,” Menon said.
“Every religion talks about unity. And festivals are for everyone,” Food Minister Islam said.
Hanif, however, highlighted how people are leaning toward the prohibited practices these days. “We have to hold religion in our hearts and then practise it.”
Shringla, who took part in the Rath Yatra for the second time in Bangladesh, said: “Rath Yatra was celebrated despite the Jul 1 Gulshan café attack last year. It promotes faith and understanding among people.”
In the afternoon, devotees pulled three elaborate chariots with the deities of Sri Jagannath Dev, his brother Sri Balaram and sister Srimati Subhadra in them.
A reverse journey on Jul 3 will cap the festival.
Discussions and devotional musical sessions will take place at ISKON and Dhakeshwari temple for eight days.
Rath Yatra was held at Khulna, Barisal, Gopalganj, Comilla, Chittagong, Sylhet, Mymensingh and Rangpur as well.
(The chariots with idols of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra weaving their way through the crowded streets of Dhaka)