Hindu students block Shahbagh as HC declines polls deferral

Staff Correspondent | Published: 01:19, Jan 15,2020


Hindu students block Shahbagh crossing in Dhaka on Tuesday after a High Court bench turned down a writ petition seeking shifting of the Dhaka city polls from January 30 as the election day coincides with Saraswati puja. — Sony Ramany

Hindu students at Dhaka University briefly blocked Shabagh crossing on Tuesday as the High Court Division summarily rejected a writ petition seeking shifting of the mayoral polls in Dhaka North City and Dhaka South City from January 30 as the polling day coincided with the Hindu community’s Saraswati Puja.

The students blocked the busy crossing in Dhaka from 5:00pm to 6:30pm and issued an ultimatum ending at Wednesday noon to meet the demand and threatened to lay siege to the Election Commission, otherwise.

Utpal Biswas, vice-president of Jagannath Hall  Students Union, also hall unit Chhatra League general secretary, made the announcement.

Supreme Court lawyer Ashoke Kumar Ghosh filed the public interest litigation writ petition.

The court in the order said that there was no scope to defer the polls as the Hindu Community

raised no objection

after the government declared January 29 as holiday for Saraswati Puja celebrations.

The court also said that election could not be shifted as the Election Commission completed the preparations to hold the polling and the candidates began their campaigns getting election symbols.

The court also said that there was no scope to shift the polling to February or March when the SSC and the HSC exams would be held.

A bench of Justice JBM Hassan and Justice Md Khairul Alam rejected the writ petition.

Later, petitioner Ashoke told reporters that he would appeal against the order.

Ashoke prayed to shift the election to a convenient date after the Saraswati Puja celebrations due on January 29 and 30.

Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council general secretary Rana Das Gupta lent support to the petitioner.

Election Commission’s lawyer Tawhidul Islam opposed the writ petition saying that the Election Commission declared the election schedule on December 22 considering all the aspects.

He urged the Hindu Community to go for brief Puja celebrations to be able to cast their votes.

 Election Commission secretary M Alamgir said Tuesday that there would be no conflict in holding the elections and celebrating Saraswati Puja on the same day.

Talking to reporters at his office at Nirbachan Bhaban in the capital, he said that the commission fixed the voting date January 30 considering the government’s holidays and the coming SSC and HSC exam schedules.

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