Bangladesh is secular again: High Court


“Bangladesh is now a secular state as the Appellate Division (of the Supreme Court) verdict scrapped the Fifth Amendment to the constitution. In this secular state, everybody has religious freedom, and therefore no man, woman or child can be forced to wear religious attires like burqa, cap and dhoti,” a high court bench said on Monday.

The court comprising judges A H M Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik and Sheikh Mohammad Zakir Hossain, however, made it clear that no citizen can be prohibited from wearing religious attires either, if he or she wished to don them.

The judgment came in response to a petition two months after the same bench issued an order asking the government to explain why compelling women to wear religious attires should not be declared illegal. A newspaper report in August this year about a women’s college in northwestern Natore issuing a directive prohibiting students from entering the campus without burqas, had prompted the high court to take suo motu notice.

The court said it had found the principal of Rani Bhabani College in Natore Mozzammel Haque guilty of forcing girl students to wear the veil and barring them from sports and cultural activities.

“The government can sack the principal if it wants,” the court said.

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(Thanks to Pritam Rohila)

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