Bangladesh HC Rejects Petition Challenging Islam as State Religion

Published: 07th September 2015 02:25 PM  |   Last Updated: 07th September 2015 02:25 PM   |  A+A-


DHAKA: Bangladesh's High Court today rejected a writ petition by a Hindu lawyer questioning constitutional acknowledgement of Islam as the state religion in the "secular" country.

"The court summarily rejected the petition," Deputy Attorney General Khorshedul Alam told reporters after the two-member bench came up with the ruling on the writ filed by the Supreme Court lawyer.

Advocate Samendra Nath Goswami had filed the petition questioning how Islam could still be acknowledged as the state religion despite revival of "secularism" as the state policy under a 2011 amendment to the Constitution.

Goswami himself moved the petition which the bench of Justice Mohammad Emdadul Haque and Justice Muhammad Khurshid Alam Sarkar rejected outright after a brief hearing.

The petitioner had also sought a High Court ruling declaring the concerned articles of the Constitution relating to the "state religion" and "secularism" as "conflicting".

Bangladesh's original Constitution, framed during thecountry's founder Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's post- independence government, in 1972 declared "secularism" as one of the state principles.

The subsequent government of military ruler-turned politician slain president Ziaur Rahman scrapped secularism as the state policy and his successor ex-army chief HM Ershad, who followed his footsteps, made Islam as the state religion in 1988.

Assuming power with three-fourths majority in 2008 general elections, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Awami League government revived secularism as one of the state principle but kept untouched the provision of state religion due to sensitivity of the issue.

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