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Sarah Sewall stayed an hour at the temple on Wednesday.

Later, she told journalists of hearing out some of the concerns worrying Hindus, despite a ‘proud tradition of religious inclusiveness’ in Bangladesh.

One of the concerns she heard was the “unequal enforcement of law”.

She said Bangladesh constitution ensured “equal protection” for all religions, but the minority groups expressed their concerns about the way it was enforced.

“We learnt from our discussions today that all minorities would like to see stronger state and citizen efforts to ensure equal enforcement of those protections under the law”.

On Monday, a High Court bench rejected a petition that challenged a 28-year-old Constitutional amendment making Islam the state religion of Bangladesh.

When asked, she said that does not change the reality. “All religious have equal protections (in Bangladesh). Constitution recognises all religions are equally protected”.

Sewall came to Dhaka on Tuesday night for a two-day visit to meet government officials and civil society representatives to discuss governance issues and cooperation in countering violent extremism.

The visit began with a public lecture on ‘Our Shared Struggle against Violent Extremism’ at Dhaka University.

Sewall, a long-time advocate for advancing civilian security and human rights around the world, was sworn in as the Under Secretary in February 2014.

She used to teach at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where she served as Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy and directed the Program on National Security and Human Rights.

 

Source: US official hears out Bangladesh Hindus at Dhakeshwari temple – bdnews24.com