Dhaka: Bangladesh’s Election Commission has decided to ban the use of religious symbols to prevent the “exploitation” of religious sentiments in polls.
The independent Commission had decided to ban the use of symbols like “sword”, “charka” and “chakra”.
The Commission, however, decided to allow the use of “balance”, the symbol used by fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami, as it was a symbol of justice with little link to religion, media reports said here.
The poll body earlier this month made public a set of proposals barring the use of portraits of national leaders in election campaign as part of a massive electoral reforms amending the Peoples Representation Order.
The Commission at that time said it would require at least 18 months to prepare a flawless voters list.
The chief adviser of the interim government Fakhruddin Ahmed subsequently said he expected the election to be held by 2008 after completing “all required reforms” which would also bar the use of black money and muscle in polls.
The general election was scheduled to be held on 22 January this year.
But it was postponed as President Iajuddin Ahmed announced a state of emergency on 11 January amid heightened political tension after protracted conflicts between former premier Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League and her archrival ex-premier Khaleda Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).