Sheikh Hasina receives Catholic bishops after their pilgrimage to the roots of the nation
by Sumon Corraya

The Vatican Nuncio George Kocherry also took part in the meeting. The prelates expressed concern over the persecution Christians endure; they praised the government for the hospitality given to Rohingya refugees. They also paid tribute to Mujibur Rahman, Father of the Nation.


Dhaka (AsiaNews) – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina received a group of Catholic bishops yesterday at her official residence in Ganabhaban, in the capital Dhaka.

The four-member delegation included Card Patrick D’Rozario, Vatican nuncio Archbishop George Kocherry, the new Archbishop of Dhaka Bejoy Nicephorus D’Cruze, and his Auxiliary Bishop Shorot Francis Gomes.

Bishop Bejoy told AsiaNews that the group spent 35 minutes with the Prime Minister.

“During the visit, we talked to her about the activities of the Church and expressed our concern about the persecution Christians have to endure. Often the victims are from minority ethnic groups. We informed her, so that she can act immediately if anything happens.

“We also thanked her for the hospitality given to the Rohingya refugees and told her that Caritas Bangladesh is working for them.”

The bishops donated 5 million takas (just under US$ 60,000) to the Prime Minister's Fund to support COVID-19 patients. They told her that Christians will always be close to her in any situation of need.

The bishops also described to Sheikh Hasina the pilgrimage they undertook previously to various sites that are important in the history of Bangladesh, including the tomb of the Father of the Nation, Mujibur Rahman, in Tungipara.

Mujibur Rahman (1920-1975) was the leader of the Awamy League, a leading supporter of non-sectarian politics in predominantly Muslim Bangladesh. Sheikh Hasina is his daughter. Unlike many members of her family, including her father, she survived a military coup in 1975.

“The Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, always put humanity first and his affection for the people was limitless,” Sheikh Hasina said. “What I am doing now is a reflection of the ideas of the Father of the Nation.”

The bishops’ pilgrimage took place between 6 and 10 November, with visits to some of the more important sites in Khulna and the Diocese of Rajshahi. In addition to Mujibur Rahman’s tomb, the prelates also visited Catholic Protestant, and Muslim communities.