President Kovind to inaugurate renovated Ramna Kali Mandir in Dhaka

Centuries-old temple was destroyed by Pakistani forces during the war of 1971.

Updated - December 16, 2021 01:08 pm IST

Published - December 15, 2021 10:47 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Friendly ties:  President Ram Nath Kovind with Bangladesh counterpart Abdul Hamid during a meeting in Dhaka.

Friendly ties: President Ram Nath Kovind with Bangladesh counterpart Abdul Hamid during a meeting in Dhaka.

In a symbolic gesture, President Ram Nath Kovind will on Friday inaugurate a famous Hindu shrine that was destroyed by the Pakistani forces during the war of 1971.

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said in Dhaka on Wednesday that President Kovind held a wide-ranging discussion with the leadership of Bangladesh during the first day of his 3-day visit and assured them that travellers from Bangladesh will be able to get Indian visa almost “immediately”.

“On December 17, President Ram Nath Kovind will inaugurate the renovated Sri Ramna Kali Mandir, which was completely destroyed by Pakistani forces during heinous Operation Searchlight in 1971,” said Mr. Shringla.

Famous landmark

The Ramna Kali Bari used to be a famous landmark of Dhaka where a Kali temple stood for centuries. The temple and the temple complex housing many residents were targeted on March 27, 1971, a day after the beginning of the Operation Searchlight of the Pakistan army that targeted the political Opposition and the religious minorities of East Pakistan. The temple was destroyed in shelling and many men and women were killed.

India supported the renovation and conservation of the historic temple with the help of the Government of Bangladesh. The inauguration comes 50 years after Pakistan was defeated in 1971. Mr. Kovind will participate in the celebrations of Thursday which will mark the victory against Pakistan.

President Kovind who reached Dhaka on Wednesday was welcomed at the airport by his counterpart Abdul Hamid. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister A. K. Abdul Momen met him.

Mr. Shringla said travel by citizens of Bangladesh to India will become easier in the coming months depending on the pandemic situation. He said the visa procedure in the Indian High Commission in Dhaka has become efficient. He also said Bangladesh is an important stakeholder in the Indo-Pacific region and it is for Dhaka to decide if it will join any regional grouping to increase the importance of the region.

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