The Matua community of Bangladesh, a Scheduled Caste group with a presence in at least six parliamentary seats of West Bengal, is all set to welcome Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi later this week.
Matuas trace their ancestry to Bangladesh and large chunk of the community moved into West Bengal following the Partition and specially after the 2001-02 anti-Hindu pogroms during the Khaleda Zia government.
While no official count is available, community leaders put their population at 3 crore, while a state minister of India said there were 1.75 crore Namasudra voters.
After his arrival in Bangladesh on Friday, Modi will also visit the Jashoreshwari Kali temple at Ishwaripur under Shaymnagar upazila.
This will be the first-ever visit by a foreign head of state to the temple.
Prior to Modi’s visit, Ishwaripur of Shyamnagar in Sathkhira, particularly the temple, has taken on a festive look.
Custodian of the temple, Jyoti Chattapaddhaya said necessary preparations to welcome the Indian Premier and the delegates are at the final stage.
The next day, he visit and pray at the Matua community’s Shri Shri Harichand temple and the Hari temple of Guruchand at the Orakandi Thakurbari under Kashiani upazila, Gopalganj.
Modi is also scheduled to spend time with the family of Harichand Thakur, founder of the Matua community who was born at Orakandi in 1812, said Padmanabha Thakur, president of the Bangladesh Matua Maha Mission.
Also on Saturday, Modi will visit the mausoleum of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at Tungipara in Gopalganj.
Security around Orakandi has been beefed up. A helipad was being prepared in front of the Thakurbari.
The public works department has erected a rest house besides the Hari temple.
Kashiani upazila parishad chairman Subrata Thakur, also a descendant of the Thakur family, said the Matua followers are eagerly awaiting the Indian Prime Minister’s visit.
“The visit will further strengthen the relationship between the two neighbouring countries,” he said.
Shahida Sultana, deputy commissioner at Gopalganj, assured that all the necessary preparations have been taken to receive the Indian Prime Minister.
Modi is scheduled to visit Bangladesh from Friday to Saturday to join the celebration of Bangabandhu’s birth centenary and the Golden Jubilee Bangladesh’s independence.