The Election Commission has sent a letter to returning officers and local administrations saying that it did not impose any restriction on arranging any religious gathering or waz mahfil ahead of the national election.
In case of arranging the religious function or gatherings, the Election Commission has given directives to take permission from the returning officer or upazila nirbahi officer concerned or any official authorised by the returning officer as well as to inform the local police authorities, says the letter issued on Monday. The EC’s directives came in a bid to check propaganda over any sensitive matter relating to religious gatherings, waz mahfil or such gatherings, and foil any evil attempt to create social chaos and destabilise the law and order situation, according to the letter signed by EC joint secretary Farhad Ahammad Khan.
The Commission, however, imposed restriction over delivering any type of political statement or conducting election campaign in favour of any candidate.
According to the letter, “A quarter is conducting a misleading campaign over religious gatherings, waz mahfil or such gatherings’ after the EC on November 19 issued a directive to the returning officers not to give any permission for any fresh religious gathering or waz mahfil other than prescheduled ones till December 30.”
“The Election Commission actually did not impose any restriction over religious gatherings, waz mahfil or such gathering,” the letter reads.
It says the Commission rather has requested all concerned to arrange any fresh religious gathering or waz mahfil other than prescheduled ones after the election (that means Dec 30) for the sake of holding the election in a fair and peaceful manner and maintaining a peaceful situation before the polls.
Under the circumstances, the Election Commission has asked the local administration to extend necessary cooperation in holding religious gathering, waz mahfil or such gathering or any religious function, the letter says.
On November 19, the EC sent a letter to the returning officers giving directives to take necessary measures so that the local administration or police do not give any permission for any fresh religious gathering or waz mahfil before the national election.
However, the Commission said prescheduled religious programmes or any important religious meeting or waz mahfil will have to be arranged with permission from the returning officers.
In its previous letter, the EC also asked them to prevent electioneering in prescheduled religious gatherings or waz mahfils ahead of the election as well as engage an executive magistrate in case of arranging such religious meeting or waz mahfil.