India and Bangladesh want stability, love and peace instead of instability, terror and unrest in the world, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday as he underlined that the two friendly neighbours want to see the world progressing through their own development.
Prime Minister Modi made the remarks while speaking to the Matua community members after offering prayers at their temple in Gopalganj's Orakandi - the birthplace of Hindu mystic figure and community's spiritual guru Harichand Thakur.
"Both India and Bangladesh want to see the world progressing through their own development. Both the countries want to see stability, love, and peace instead of instability, terror, and unrest in the world," Modi said.
Modi said he was waiting for this opportunity for many years and during his visit to Bangladesh in 2015, he had expressed desire to visit Orakandi, which has come true now.
This place is a pilgrimage site for the spiritual relationship between India and Bangladesh, he said.
"I was speaking to some people here. They were saying who could have thought that India's Prime Minister would visit Orakandi," Modi said, adding that he was feeling the same emotions as felt by the Matua community members in India after coming to Orakandi, from where Harichand Thakur disseminated his pious message.
Orakandi is the abode of Hindu Matua community, a large number of whom are residents of neighbouring West Bengal.
Prime Minister Modi announced that India will upgrade one girls' middle school and set up a primary school in Orakandi.
"My visit to the Orakandi Thakurbari is an experience I will remember for life. This is a very sacred place, which is closely associated with the Matua Community," Modi later tweeted.
Analysts said Modi's planned temple visits carry a political significance at the time of the ongoing assembly elections in West Bengal.
The Prime Minister was accompanied by BJP MP from West Bengal Shantanu Thakur during his visit to Orakandi.
The Matua community's vote may determine the winner in some seats in the elections to the West Bengal state assembly, the first phase of which began on Saturday.
In his speech, Modi said the Matua community celebrates 'Baroni Shanan Utshab' every year on the auspicious occasion of the birth anniversary of Harichand Thakur and a large number of devotees from India come to Orakandi to participate in this festival.
"To make this pilgrimage easier for citizens of India, efforts will be made on behalf of the Government of India," he said.
"We are also committed to grand events and various works reflecting the glorious history of the Matua community in Thakurnagar (West Bengal)," Modi said.
"I have always been very close to the family members of the Thakurbari," he added.
"The way India and Bangladesh governments are working towards strengthening their ties, Harichand Thakur and Thakurbari have been doing this for ages. This place symbolises the spiritual tryst of India and Bangladesh," he said.
In his address, Modi said that it was important for both India and Bangladesh to come together and fight common challenges.
He said that during the COVID-19 pandemic, India and Bangladesh proved their capabilities.
"Both nations are facing this pandemic strongly and fighting it together. India is working by considering that it is its duty that the 'Made in India' vaccine reaches the citizens of Bangladesh," Modi added.
He said India is moving forward with the mantra of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, and Sabka Vishwas', and Bangladesh is its co-passenger in it.
"Bangladesh is presenting a strong example of development and change in front of the world and India is your co-passenger in these efforts," he added.
Modi also mentioned that every year a large number of people travel from India to Orakandi to participate in 'Baruni Snan' on occasion of the birth anniversary of Shri Shri Hari Chand Thakur and more efforts would be made to ease their travel.
Last time when Prime Minister Modi visited Bangladesh in 2015, he offered puja at Dhakeshwari temple in the national capital.
Bangladesh has taken extra security measures for the Indian premier's visit in the wake of protests by few leftist and Islamist groups.
In 2016, the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) said their latest vital sample statistics report found the country's total population to be 15.89 crore by the end of 2015 with the number of Hindus at 1.70 crore in the Muslim-majority nation.
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