Bangladesh marks Pahela Baishakh amid tight security

Centuries-old traditional event marks first day of Bangla year

By SM Najmus Sakib

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AA) - Bangladesh on Saturday celebrated Pahela Baishakh, the first day of Bangla year, across the country under tight security.

The celebrations began with a colorful procession called the Mongol Shovajatra, which started from the Dhaka University campus and went through various parts of the capital.

The public holiday was marked by people from all walks of life, who dressed in their traditional dresses.

Amit Das, owner of Dhaka Jewelry House, said on this day, Bengali businessmen invite customers to their shops and offer them sweets for free.

“On the occasion of Pohela Boishakh we have decorated and cleaned our shop like others in Old Dhaka. Besides, we have opened a new business Khata and will offer customers sweets,” Das said.

The traditional Mongol Shovajatra started in the Moghul era in the 1556. It was recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage event in November 2016.

People across the country started the day with panta bhat (soaked rice), green chili, onion and fried hilsha fish at Ramna Park, Suhrawardy Udyan, Dhaka University Campus and other areas of the country.

Apart from public and private universities, other institutions also organized numerous programs to celebrate the day.

There is tight security in the capital. Police and other authorities have set up close-circuit cameras, watch towers and deployed personnel in different parts of Dhaka.

Bomb disposal units and special units of the detective branch were also deployed to provide security and to avoid any untoward situation, said Police Commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia at a press briefing in capital Dhaka.

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