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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2859

India hails Bangladesh verdict, Pranab to visit Dhaka

By M Rama Rao, India Editor, Asian Tribune

New Delhi, 31 December ( India has hailed the victory of AL –led grand alliance as historic, and said the massive participation of a large number of voters and the outcome are a clear manifestation of people's confidence in multi-party democracy.

Delhi also expressed the hope that the incoming government of Sheikh Hasina would put down terrorism. 'India looks forward to working with the Sheikh Hasina government in Bangladesh and hopes the new dispensation will address concerns over terrorism emanating from its soil'.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi telephoned Awami League President Sheikh Hasina and congratulated her on the landslide victory. She also hoped that the bilateral relations would be better in the days to come.

Sonia wished the Hasina good health and long life. Mahbubul Haque Shakil, deputy press secretary to Sheikh Hasina, told reporters that the Bangladesh Prime Minister –elect thanked Sonia Gandhi for the call.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh greeted Sheikh Hasina on her return to power at the head of a multi-party alliance with a huge mandate.

'India looks forward to working with the Government and the people of Bangladesh in the years ahead for the mutual benefit of the people of the two countries', the Prime Minister told her. He also conveyed to her that Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee would visit Dhaka 'as soon as possible to personally convey our good wishes'.

Here is the Text of Singh Message: 'Please accept my heartiest congratulations on your electoral victory. The successful conduct of free, fair and peaceful elections is a reflection of the desire of the people of Bangladesh for democracy, development and progress. I am confident that under your leadership, Bangladesh will attain even greater heights.

'India and Bangladesh share historically close and friendly relations. I wish to assure you of India's commitment to the further strengthening and deepening of our relations with Bangladesh. I look forward to working with you towards this end for the mutual benefit of our two peoples. I also take this opportunity to invite Your Excellency to visit India at your earliest possible convenience. I am asking my senior colleague, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, to visit Bangladesh as soon as possible to personally convey our good wishes.

'Please accept, Excellency; my best wishes for your good health and personal well being and for the continued progress and prosperity of the friendly people of Bangladesh."

On his part, Pranab Mukherjee hailed the return of democracy in Bangladesh and said the outcome of the elections showed that these were 'free and fair elections'.

Recalling that India had raised the issue of terrorism emanating from the Bangladesh territory with the earlier Government he said 'unfortunately we have met with some denial'.

'So at that point of time, we had most respectfully reminded them that if you simply deny the existence of a problem you will never solve the problem. But if you admit the existence of the problem and collectively try along with us to resolve the problem, one day we can solve the problem', he said and hoped that once the new government take office, India would discuss the existence of the problem and would see what best could be done.

Hindu Minority Voters Brave Intimidation

Hindus and other minorities in Chittagong belt had voted braving intimidation, according to the Daily Star. Criminals set ablaze a section of Nanupur Barua Para and three houses belonging to members of minority group of Fatikchhari, which according to the locals was an attempt to intimidate them into not voting in the polls.

Minority voters in different areas in Chittagong received threats from workers of the BNP - led four-party alliance despite huge preparations and safety measures for a free and fair election.

Islami Chhatra Shibir activists and workers of Salauddin Quader Chowdhury allegedly issued the threats in remote poll centres.
However, the minority voters braved the situation and cast votes even after facing the goons on their ways to poll centres, the daily reported.

A significant number of voters, especially the indigenous people and Biharis [non-Bangalees] could not vote as they were not on the new voter roll.

The first incident of obstruction was reported in Chawk Bazar, a place where majority voters are Hindus.

On information from the AL-led grand alliance supporters, police clubbed and shooed away a band of Shibir activists as the gang was barring female voters from going to poll centres.

At Katalganj Govt Primary School (Chittagong-8) booth, 10-15 Shibir activists were seen trying to persuade the voters not to vote saying that wouldn't do them any good.

In another incident, criminals set fire to three houses in West Barua Para in Fatikchhari (Chittagong-2 constituency).

A temple near the houses was narrowly saved but the houses were reduced to ashes.

-Asian Tribune-

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