golden jubilee of independence
Bangladesh’s Golden Jubilee of Independence: PM seeks general discussion in Parliament
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday placed a proposal for holding a general discussion in Parliament on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of the Independence. She placed the proposal under rule 147 of the Rules of Procedure where MPs from the treasury and opposition benches will take part in the discussion before passing the proposal on Thursday. In her proposal, the Leader of the House said the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of Independence is a glorious chapter in Bangalee’s national life as Bangladesh is marching forward at an irresistible speed. “Bangladesh is now a ‘development surprise’ in the world.” She mentioned that Bangladesh’s independence came through the path of Language Movement from 1948 to 1952, 1966 Six Points movement, 1969 Mass Upsurge under the leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, his historic speech of March 7, March 25 genocide, declaration of independence by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in the early morning of March 26, the formation of the Mujibnagar government on April 17 and the sacrifice of 3 million great martyrs and 200,000 mothers and sisters. The final victory came on December 16, 1971 with the surrender of the Pakistani army, the Leader of the House said. During the adoption and implementation of various plans aimed at rebuilding the war-torn country, on August 15, 1975 era, a darkness descended on the national life, the Prime Minister told the House. The President of Bangladesh, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family were brutally murdered. Inside the prison, four national leaders were assassinated, power was seized illegally, and the constitution was shattered through military decrees while democracy and the rule of law were demolished. After the formation of the government in 1996, Hasina said, the trial of Bangabandhu's assassination was held, while the trial of the war criminals completed. Read: Bangladesh Army should be People’s Army: PM Through the implementation of the vision 2021, Bangladesh has gained recognition as a developing country coming out of the least developed country status. The proposal stated that Digital Bangladesh is a reality today. There has been successes in every field of human resource development, including poverty reduction, attainment of food self-sufficiency, 100 percent electrification across the country, construction of houses for nine lakh homeless people, social security activities, women's education and empowerment, development in disaster management, student stipends, prevention of maternal and child mortality rates. There has been marked progress in economic growth, remittances and reserves as Bangladesh today ranks 41st in the world economy, the Prime Minister said. The Delta Plan 2100 has been formulated to deal with the adverse effects of climate change, she said. In the proposal, the Prime Minister said the incentive package announced to overcome the Corona pandemic crisis has kept the economy afloat and mentioned about the metro rail, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Karnafuli Tunnel and self-financed construction of Padma Bridge which has proved the capability of Bangladesh in the world. “The demarcation of maritime boundaries with India and Myanmar and the launch of Bangabandhu satellite in space have added a unique milestone to the triumph of Bangladesh's success,” she said. The cornerstone of parliamentary democracy is the National Parliament. It is playing an effective role in implementing and fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of people by ensuring transparency and accountability of the government, Hasina said. In celebrating the Golden Jubilee of Independence, everybody’s vow should be establishing Bangladesh as a dignified and poverty-free country in the world overcoming all the challenges as dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, she said.
Amid all the celebrations surrounding the Golden Jubilee of Independence and the Mujib Centennial in March, there is one undeniable that fact that we can no longer run away from: it was the month we allowed the Second Wave of COVID-19 get out of hand and out of control. The hospitals are filling up as the country records a rising number of new coronavirus cases but the battle for survival is somewhat uncertain for the more serious patients who require intensive care. As of March 30, hospitals dedicated for treating coronavirus patients in Dhaka have 108 ICU beds but at the moment, only four are available, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS). The situation at private hospitals is no different. There are 188 ICU beds but 144 of them are occupied. People with low or fixed income prefer government hospitals where the treatment is cheap. The cost at private hospitals is much higher. The acute shortage of much-needed ICU beds means that only a fraction of the serious and critical patients will get life-saving treatment. Bangladesh health authorities reported a record number of cases on three out of the four days till April 1, when it shattered the previous day’s record of 5300-odd cases by reporting a whopping 6,469. Additionally it reported 59 new deaths, the second-highest toll in the entire outbreak since March 2020. The highest remains 62 last June 30 – but the way things are going, it only seems a matter of time before that is eclipsed. The second wave is well and truly here with a vengeance, and it seems set to be much worse than the first. “It’ll be very difficult to manage the situation,” said Prof Dr Mohammad Robed Amin, DGHS Director of Non-Communicable Diseases and media cell representative. Also read: Covid-19: Bangladesh records 6,000+ cases for 2nd straight day ICU beds running short Among the 10 dedicated hospitals, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University and Kuwait Maitree Hospital have 16 beds, Kurmitola General Hospital has 10, Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) has 10, Sheikh Russel Gastro Liver Institute & Hospital has 16, Sarkari Karmachari Hospital in Fulbaria has six, Central Police Hospital at Rajarbagh has 15. Two beds each are available at Sheikh Russel Gastro Liver Institute and Hospital and the Central Police Hospital in Rajarbagh. Meanwhile, the hospitals are running out of general beds as the number of patients increases. Of the 2,461 beds, 2,127 are currently occupied. Among the private hospitals, Bangladesh Specialized Hospital has nine ICU beds, Anwer Khan Modern Medical College Hospital has 30, Square Hospital has 19, United Hospital has 22, Evercare Hospital has 40, Asgar Ali Hospital has 32, Ibn Sina Hospital has five, and Impulse Hospital has 35, and AMZ Hospital has 10. Also read: Covid-19 surge lays bare another crisis: Scant ICU beds and specialists Anwer Khan Modern Medical College Hospital has eight beds available, Square Hospital has five, United Hospital has eight, Evercare Hospital has six, Asgar Ali Hospital has 12, Ibn Sina Hospital has one, Impulse Hospital has three and AMZ Hospital has two. Among the 925 general beds, 528 are occupied. Health Minister Zahid Maleque warned that the rise in coronavirus cases at the current rate would overwhelm the healthcare system. DGHS Secretary Abdul Mannan told our sister newsagency UNB that people must follow the health protocols and directives issued by the government to bring down the cases. Dr Amin said they are emphasising setting up ICUs at hospitals which have additional space to meet the increasing demand. He noted that the number of ICU specialists must be increased along with ICU beds. “We don’t have enough ICU specialists,” he said. Prof Amin said the government is planning to install new ICUs at the district hospitals. “The pressure on [hospitals in] Dhaka will lessen if we set up ICUs at district level.” The recent spurt in cases prompted the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to issue an 18-point directive this week for the next two weeks to contain the spread. Health Minister Maleque said they proposed partial lockdowns for some places with higher Covid-19 transmission rates. The government launched a countrywide vaccination campaign on February 7. Those who are 40 years or above and the frontline workers are being prioritised. Till March 29, 5,139,679 people received the first dose, according to government data. What can be done? As Bangladesh is experiencing record-breaking Covid cases, experts think ‘health emergency’, ‘nighttime curfew’ and area-based lockdown can be the right measures to slow down the virus transmission. They think the 18-point directive issued by the government on Monday is not enough as the coronavirus situation is going from bad to worse with both high infection and mortality rates in the country. Also read: Fighting the Second Wave: Govt seeks stricter implementation of PMO directives The experts warned that Bangladesh may experience an ‘explosive’ Covid situation in the coming months, breaking down the already overwhelmed medical system, if unnecessary public movements and mass gatherings cannot be controlled with the strict enforcement of laws. They also suggested ramping up contact tracing, mass testing, expanding ICU capacity and ensuring necessary treatment facilities and equipment in every hospital, including upazila health complexes, since the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) has identified 31 districts as risky for the virus outbreak with a high infection rate. According to public health expert Dr MH Chowdhury (Lenin), chairman of the medicine department at Health and Hope Hospital, the government’s directives are inconsistent with the coronavirus transmission pace. “When it’s necessary to stop all the social and political gatherings right now, it was said to be discouraged in the directives. When a nighttime curfew should be enforced from 6pm, people are only asked not to come out of their homes unnecessarily. The shopping malls should be allowed to remain open for at best six hours on a limited scale, but the government said both sellers and buyers in shopping malls must follow the health rules,” he said. Dr Lenin said all types of mass gatherings should be controlled strictly, but the government asked to hold public exams maintaining health hygiene rules, which is not possible. “People are discouraged to go to tourist and recreation spots, movie houses and theatres, and all kinds of fairs. But the Ekushey Book Fair is going on in full swing,” he pointed out. Dr Lenin said the government has instructed all to maintain health safety rules in public transport, but people do not do that for lack of monitoring. “Strong enforcement of law is necessary to force people to abide by those rules.” Dr Be-Nazir Ahmed, former director (disease control) of the DGHS, said, “The directives are not time-befitting and consistent with the current pandemic situation. These instructions should have been given at least one month back when the virus cases started surging.” Dr Be-Nazir said when elections can be held amid such a situation, how can the government ask people not to arrange social programmes and mass gatherings? The health expert said the government has given a directive to shift kitchen markets to open places, but the shopping malls will remain open. “When people can go to shopping malls in enclosed areas, where’s the problem if they visit the kitchen markets?” he asked. “I think the directives have not been formulated considering the severity of the current Covid situation. So, these directives may not help contain the virus outbreak. We should take the corona situation seriously and come up with serious actions. Or else, we’ll have to pay a heavy price in the days to come.” Dr Be-Nazir said all-types of mass gatherings and unnecessary public movement must be stopped to overcome the situation. Also read: Avoid public gatherings, wear masks to fight Covid surge, PM urges all “We should announce a health emergency by forming a high-powered committee to enforce it by taking necessary decisions to tackle the situation. The committee should be given the power to issue orders to curtail different services and close shops, offices and restaurants, to involve any organisation in healthcare management. “Adequate funds should be allocated so that the committee can take necessary preventive and curative measures.” He said the committee should also be empowered to convert any community centre, convention centre, hotel or other institutions into temporary hospitals, quarantine or isolation centres. The expert said the government should engage police, Rab, Ansar, BGB and even the army to enforce the health emergency. “A situation should be created so that people don’t venture out of home without masks and any valid reason.” ‘Suspend the Book Fair’ Dr Lenin said the Ekushey Book Fair should be suspended for at least two weeks while the tourist and recreation spots, movie houses and theatres should be closed right now as part of a move to control mass gatherings and mass movement. He said people have long been asked to wear masks, but they are not paying heed to it. “So, a heavy fine should be realised from those who don’t wear masks.” Also read: Nat’l committee for stopping Ekushey Book Fair as Covid cases surge Dr Lenin said putting the entire country under lockdown is the last weapon to control the mass gatherings, but it will harm the economy badly. “So, we should use other preventative measures like a curfew from 6pm to 6am to control the situation.” Besides, he said, the government should identify the areas where the infection rate is very high and declare those as ‘red zones’. “We need to now enforce area-based lockdown in the red zones. The situation has reached such a level that we won’t be able to control the infection rate without controlling the movement of people in corona hotspots.” Dr Lenin said the offices that can be run online should take immediate steps to keep their employees at home. “Other offices that can’t be run through online should follow skeleton duty schedules to lessen the presence of their staff.” “The main thing is that we must control the mass movement and mass gathering as much as possible. We should take all possible steps in this regard. Or else, the pandemic will take a tsunami turn in Bangladesh.” Prof Muzaherul Huq, a former adviser to WHO South-East Asia region, said the government should take all-out steps to tackle the situation in the days to come by ensuring proper treatment facilities in all the district and upazila hospitals since the virus case has been gradually growing across the country. “If the virus continues to spread for two more weeks, it’ll put a serious pressure on the healthcare system. The Prime Minister has issued an instruction to ensure ventilators and ICU beds in every district hospital. The government should implement this instruction immediately. There should be sufficient oxygen supply and other necessary equipment in all the upazila health complexes to deal with the Covid patients,” he said. Prof Huq said the Covid patients must be identified quickly and kept in isolation centres. “We also need to locate people who come in contact with the Covid patients and quarantine them.” Too little, too late? In the wake of the alarming spike in Coronavirus cases, the government towards the end of the week decided to take a tougher position to implement the 18-point directive issued by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in an effort to contain the spread. The move came after the country recorded its highest-ever daily coronavirus cases (6,469) and registered more than 5,000 cases for the fourth straight day on Thursday (Apr 1). Also read: Restriction on gatherings, quarantine rule among PMO’s 18-point directive to contain Covid surge Following the health protocols, all ministries and organisations have been instructed to use only 50 percent of their manpower in office for two straight weeks by State Minister of Public Administration Farhad Hossain. Strict instructions have been issued to all the ministries and associated organisations asking them to follow the directives, he said. “We already started following the instruction from Wednesday and the rest of the ministries started implementing the directive from Thursday. All ministries and departments will form a duty roster for all their staffs,” he said. One half of the staff will attend office three days and two days from home in the first week and the second half will work the same way in the second week, Hossain said, adding that pregnant and officials above 55 years old will work online from home. Besides, all of the private and non-government organisations and offices were also directed to employ 50 percent workers in office and rest through online from home, the State Minister said. Pregnant employees and officials above 55 years old will work online from home. “We will ensure that no one go outside after 10 pm unnecessarily and also launched monitoring programme on the grass root level. Law enforcers will work in this regard,” Farhad Hossain said. The government will decide the next course of action after maintaining all the directives for two weeks and review the decision after April 12, he said. The Home Ministry said as the 18-point directive landed on Monday, police already prepared a work plan to implement the instructions across the country including the capital. Police check-posts have been installed at different places including Dhaka and a massive campaign is operated by cops and local administration to raise awareness among people, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan told UNB. Moreover Health Minister Zahid Maleque said the administration will do everything to constant monitor the implementation of the health directives “The way number of patients is rising if the scenario continues, no hospitals will have seats to admit patients. All must act immediately to curb the massive transmission. The pandemic might take a devastating form if we fail to follow the 18-directives issued by the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,” the minister said. Secretary of Health Services Division Abdul Mannan said they have already started following the health directive strictly. Transport restrictions Bangladesh Railway is operating keeping 50 percent of its seats vacant to curb the transmission of Covid-19 since Wednesday, said Railway Minister Nurul Islam Sujan. Half of the 50 percent railway tickets will be available online and rest will be sold at the stations, the minister said adding that “We won’t carry any passenger without following the health guideline and take all necessary measures to ensure hygiene in trains and stations.” Bangladesh Road Transport Owners Association Secretary General Khandakar Enayetullah said all buses are carrying 50 percent of passengers with the direction of the government. BRTA Chairman Nur Mohammad Majumdar told UNB that they have taken overall measures in this regard and mobile courts will be operated to prevent transport workers from violating the instructions. State Minister for Shipping Ministry Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury said they are also maintaining the 18-point directive by taking only 50 percent of passengers. Passengers will have to step into launch after following all health guidelines otherwise legal action will be taken, he warned. Meanwhile incoming flights from all countries of Europe except the United Kingdom have been prohibited to prevent coronavirus transmission, said Civil Aviation Authority Chairman Air Vice Marshal M Mofidur Rahman. The decision to exempt the UK has baffled observers. Twelve other countries that have been placed on the list alongside Europe are Argentina, Bahrain, Brazil, Chile, Jordan, Lebanon, Peru, Qatar, South Africa, Turkey and Uruguay. The prohibition will remain in action from April 3 to April 18, Rahman said, adding that the airlines can only carry transit passengers from these nations during this time and they will have to remain inside the Airport terminal during the transit period. The returnees from foreign countries who are allowed in will have to remain in institutional quarantine for 14 days at a quarantine centre or specific hotel, he said. Besides, all travellers must have Covid-19 negative certificates (Sample collected within 72 hours) for leaving or entering the country, he added. Passengers will have to wear face shields along with masks. All the directives came into effect since March 30 and will remain in force until further notice, he said. Besides, the Election Commission (EC) late in the week postponed all elections scheduled for April 11. The National Cricket League has also been postponed midway. Movement of all tourist ships on Teknaf-Saint Martin's Island route have been suspended, and all tourist spots in places like Cox’s Bazar and Sylhet have been instructed to close. However, movement of vessels carrying regular passengers and daily essentials will remain normal, subjected to maintaining health guidelines. Additional Reporting by AR Jahangir and Masudul Hoque (This article was first published on dhakacourier.com.bd)
China committed to remain engaged in future development
Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming on Wednesday said China will coordinate sustainable and green development and respond to the core concerns of Bangladesh and the international community on climate change. He made the remarks at a webinar titled-“Impressions of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on newly born People’s Republic of China” organised by Bangladesh-China Silk Road Forum. “Bangladesh has just completed a 10-day long grand celebration on the occasion of the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Golden Jubilee of Independence. I would like to take this opportunity to pay my highest tribute to Bangabandhu. As a friendly neighbour, we are very proud and glad to see the prosperity and progress of Bangladesh,” he added. Li Jiming also said over the past 46 years, China and Bangladesh have carried forward the traditional friendship, continuously deepened political mutual trust, and promoted economic and trade cooperation. During President Xi's state visit to Bangladesh in October 2016, the two sides signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and decided to elevate bilateral ties to the level of a strategic partnership of cooperation. “China has been Bangladesh's largest trading partner for years. In July last year, China began to offer zero-tariff treatment to 97% of Bangladesh's exports, and Bangladesh has ushered in a new golden age in exporting to China, Chinese market, the largest single retail market in the world and attracting Chinese and foreign investors,” he added. Also read: Will strengthen development strategies with Bangladesh: Chinese President During the pandemic, China and Bangladesh supported each other and worked together to overcome difficulties. At the difficult time for China to fight the pandemic, the government and people of Bangladesh donated a large number of medical materials to China, he also said. The two countries have also overcome the impact of the pandemic to advance cooperation projects such as the Padma Bridge and a multi-lane road tunnel under the Karnaphuli River. The Payra Power Plant has been completed and is going to go into commercial operation. “In 2021, China and Bangladesh have both entered a new stage of development. China has completed building a moderately prosperous society in all respects successfully and is going to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China and embark on the 14th Five-Year Plan to achieve the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035, while Bangladesh celebrates the 50th anniversary of its independence and embark on the 8th Five-Year Plan to achieve the Vision 2041,” he also said. “At present, the COVID-19 epidemic has brought the world into a period of turbulence and change. Only by maintaining strategic focus in the face of challenges, sticking to the theme of development and working together can we promote China-Bangladesh strategic partnership of cooperation entering a new stage. China and Bangladesh should adhere to the common commitment of upholding multilateralism made by the heads of states, and contribute to world peace and stability in the post-pandemic era,” Li Jiming said. He added that Bangladesh’s GDP has maintained a growth rate of over 6% for many years in a row. This has raised the welfare of Bangladeshi people. Recently, Bangladesh has obtained the qualification to graduate from the Least Developed Countries as assessed by the United Nations. Also read: Bangladesh, China discuss Covid vaccine assistance: Envoy In his video message, China’s president Xi Jinping stressed that he attaches great importance to China-Bangladesh relations. “In the future, we would like to work with people from all walks of life in Bangladesh to implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of our two nations, promote the synergy between the two countries to achieve high-quality coordinated development, and promote the early realization of the Chinese Dream and the dream of "Sonar Bangla. I am confident that with the concerted efforts of China and Bangladesh, China-Bangladesh cooperation will yield even more golden fruits,” he also added. Li Jiming said to continue the expansion of cooperation, China has decided to donate 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Bangladesh, ensuring the fulfillment of China's commitment to making vaccines more accessible and affordable in developing countries. Professor Dr. Gowher Rizvi, International Affairs Adviser to Prime Minister; Rashed Khan Menon, President of Workers Party of Bangladesh, Hasanul Haque Inu, President of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, Mozaffar Hossain Paltu, Advisory Council Member of Bangladesh Awami League, and Dilip Barua, Chairperson of Bangladesh-China Silk Road Forum also joined in the virtual discussion.
Pak scholar wants their govt to apologise to Bangladesh
Internationally renowned scholar from Pakistan Husain Haqqani has said the people of Pakistan should urge their government to offer a formal apology to the people of Bangladesh for all the atrocities that were committed in 1971. “To this day, no apology has been forthcoming.... an apology is the most courteous thing ...," he said who served as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States from 2008 to 2011. Referring to the general elections of 1970 in the then Pakistan and the Pakistan military, Haqqani, now living in the United States, said the military’s reaction in the form of imprisoning Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and initiating genocide against the Bengalis. He made the remarks in a virtual talk on ‘‘Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman: An Iconic Leader of People’s Struggle for Freedom’’ organised by the Embassy of Bangladesh to Belgium and Luxembourg, and Mission to the European Union in Brussels on Monday. Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen joined the event as chief guest while Bangladesh Ambassador in Brussels, Mahbub Hassan Saleh, moderated the event. Ambassador Husain Haqqani, currently a Senior Fellow and Director for South and Central Asia at Hudson Institute, a top think tank in Washington, D.C., United States, said Bangabandhu is not only the greatest Bengali of all time, he is one of the greatest leaders emerging out of South Asia. He also said Bangabandhu is a great leader in the history of the world, and an iconic figure of struggle for freedom that the world has seen throughout the 20th century.
Bangladesh proved them all wrong: Modi
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said Bangladesh has proven all of them wrong who had objected to its creation, looked down upon the people and had apprehensions about the existence of the country. “I am pleased that under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s able leadership, Bangladesh is showing its dynamism to the world,” he said. Modi said the world did not talk as much about the cruelty, oppression and atrocities of ‘Operation Searchlight’ as it should have. He was addressing the special programme marking the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and 50 years of Bangladesh’s independence. President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, her sister Sheikh Rehana, Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque, Agriculture Minister Dr Mohammad Abdur Razzaque, among others, were present. The Indian Prime Minister was pleased that many Indian soldiers who were part of the Liberation War were also there with them at the special event. “The struggle for the Liberation of Bangladesh was also one of the first movements that I took part in," Modi said, adding: “I must have been 22 or 23 years old, when along with many of my friends, I did satyagraha, (a form of passive resistance), for the liberation of the people of Bangladesh.” As part of his efforts to support the liberation of Bangladesh, he also courted arrest and had a taste of life in prison. “That is to say, there was as much of a longing for Bangladesh’s freedom in India, as there was in Bangladesh," Modi said. Also read: Ideologies, forces behind inhuman acts remains active: Modi The images of the heinous crimes and atrocities committed by the Pakistani army here, made their blood boil too, and gave them countless sleepless nights! Inspired by the common legacy of Kazi Nazrul Islam and Rabindranath Tagore, the Indian Prime Minister said they have no time to lose, they must move forward for change, and they cannot delay any further. He said the two countries' goals are common; therefore, their efforts should also be united. “We therefore need to further boost our efforts, add new dimensions to them, and take them to new heights,” he said. Modi said he is confident that India and Bangladesh together will progress at a fast pace. “The love that you have showered on me, the brotherhood for India, this feeling of oneness – I will most certainly convey this to every Indian.” The Indian Prime Minister, upon arrival here, visited National Martyrs' Memorial in Savar and paid tributes to martyrs of the 1971 Liberation War. He signed Visitors' Book there after planting a sapling. Also read: Bangabandhu-Bapu Digital Exhibition inaugurated in Bangladesh "On behalf of the people of India, I pray that the eternal flame at Savar remains a lasting reminder of the noble victory of truth and courage over deceit and oppression," he wrote. He said their valour will continue to inspire future generations to fight injustice and defend the cause of righteousness. "May every visitor to this revered ground honour the sacred memory of the millions who were slain but not silenced," Modi wrote.
Curtain falls on 10-day celebration marking golden jubilee, Bangabandhu’s birth centenary
The 10-day nationwide celebration marking the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the golden jubilee of the country’s Independence concluded on Friday (March 26, 2021). Greetings poured in for the people and government of Bangladesh on the occasion of the nationwide celebration of the country’s historic milestones in the Mujib Year. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, five heads of the state or government were physically present in the 10-day programme held with the theme ‘Mujib Eternal’ from March 17 to 26. Read Bangabandhu outstanding political figure: Russia The celebration concluded with a cultural presentation and fireworks at the National Parade Square in the capital at 8:35pm on Friday. President Abdul Hamid as the chief guest and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the guest of honour were present at the concluding ceremony chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. On the final day, the video messages of UN Secretary General António Guterres and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson were screened, while congratulatory messages from Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, Russian President Vladimir Putin, USA President Joe Biden and Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan were read out by the heads of their respective diplomatic missions stationed in Dhaka. Also read: Modi due Friday as main attraction of 10-Day celebration At the event, Narendra Modi was honoured with ‘Eternal Mujib Memento’. Bangabandhu’s youngest daughter Sheikh Rehana handed over the memento to him. Later, Modi and Hasina witnessed the cultural presentation and fireworks. On March 17, President of Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih joined the inaugural ceremony of the celebration as the guest of honour. Besides, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa (March 19), President of Nepal Bidya Devi Bhandari (March 22) and Prime Minister of Bhutan Lotay Tshering (March 24) were physically present as the guests of honour in the celebration. A large number of world leaders and noted dignitaries including Chinese President Xi Jinping, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun, Pope Francis II, French Senator Madame Jacqueline Deromedi, OIC Secretary General Yousef Al Othaimeen, Director General of UNESCO Audrey Azule and President of the Indian Congress Sonia Gandhi greeted the people and the government of Bangladesh by sending video messages for the celebration. Also read: 10-day celebration: Dhaka ready to welcome global leaders Many others, including the presidents of United States, China, Russia, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Cuba, Czech Republic, Estonia, Ethiopia, Egypt, European Council, Georgia, Poland, Singapore, Thailand, Swiss Federation, Philippines, Palestine, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, Vietnam, Lao PDR, Mongolia and Zambia, and prime ministers of Algeria, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cuba, China, Czech Republic, Greece, Iraq, Kosovo, Montenegro, Monaco, Malaysia, Qatar, Serbia, Thailand, Vietnam, UAE Vice-President, and Chairman of State Administrative Council of Myanmar extended written greetings. Also, the Queen of Britain, the Emperor of Japan, the King of Belgium, Malaysia, Spain, Sweden and Morocco, the Sultan of Brunei, the Emir of Qatar and many others sent written congratulatory messages. Sheikh Hasina, on behalf of the People and the Government of Bangladesh and herself, extended her sincere gratitude to all the dignitaries who attended the celebration or extended greetings on the occasion. Also read: PM releases commemorative stamp marking Golden Jubilee During the celebration, the India government on March 22 conferred the prestigious ‘Gandhi Peace Prize-2020’ on Bangabandhu posthumously, recognising his immense and unparalleled contribution in inspiring the liberation of Bangladesh, bringing stability to a nation born out of strife, laying the foundation for the close and fraternal relations between India and Bangladesh, and promoting peace and non-violence in the India subcontinent. At the closing ceremony of the celebration, Sheikh Rehana accompanied by Sheikh Hasina received the ‘Gandhi Peace Prize-2020’ from Narendra Modi. Read I'm here to hear Bangladesh story sitting next to Hasina: Bhutanese PM
India needs to play leading role in building stable, vibrant S Asia: PM Hasina
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday said India, the largest country in the region, needs to play a pioneering role in building a stable and politically-economically vibrant South Asia. “If we move forward hand in hand, the development of our people is inevitable,” she said while chairing the closing ceremony of the 10-day festival in presence of her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi as the guest of honour. President Abdul Hamid attended the concluding ceremony in the city’s National Parade Square as the Chief Guest. The 10-day nationwide programme started on March 17 with the theme ‘Mujib Eternal’, marking the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Golden Jubilee of the country’s Independence in the Mujib Year. Sheikh Hasina said South Asia is the most densely-populated area but there are huge resources in this region. “If we all utilise the resources, we’ll be able to build it as a hunger-poverty-free region,” she noted. She urged all to make a vow to work together forgetting all differences for the welfare of the peoples in South Asia. “At this auspicious moment of celebrating the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation and the Golden Jubilee of independence of Bangladesh, let us pledge to forget all differences and work together for the welfare of our peoples,” she said. “Our foreign policy formulated by the Father of the Nation is that ‘Friendship to All and Malice towards None’. We’re determined to establish South Asia a developed and prosperous region,” the Prime Minister said. Relations with India reaches new heights Sheikh Hasina said the bilateral relations between Bangladesh and India have escalated to new heights. “Our relations with India have now escalated to new heights,” she added. Lauding Narendra Modi’s ‘neighbourhood first’ policy, she said, “He sent coronavirus vaccines as gift to the neighbouring countries, including Bangladesh, which was a reflection of that policy of Modiji.” She said Bangladesh has increased cooperation with India in various sectors including trade and commerce, communication, power, energy, and agriculture during the last few years. “India has now become one of our development partners,” she added. The Maitree Bridge over Feni River has recently been inaugurated to increase connectivity between the North-Eastern Indian states and Bangladesh. These Indian states are now able to use the Seaport and Airport of Chattogram, she said adding that India can also use the Mongla port. Hasina said Bangladesh has graduated from the status of least developed country to a developing country due to her government’s relentless efforts in the last 12 years. “We’re taking Bangladesh on the track of prosperity by overcoming multiple obstacles,” she added. Also read: Independence Day: PM Hasina pays homage to Bangabandhu She said her government wants to make Bangladesh an upper-middle-income country by 2031 and a developed and prosperous one by 2041. Sheikh Hasina, Bangabandhu’s eldest daughter, said Bangabandhu was a great believer in regional cooperation. “In addition to the political freedom of the oppressed people of the world, he dreamed of economic emancipation. That made him emphasise regional cooperation based on mutual trust, confidence, and equality,” she added. She expressed gratitude to the Indian government and the Prime Minister for awarding the prestigious ‘Gandhi Peace Prize-2020’ to Bangabandhu at this very auspicious moment. “I must say, India indeed honoured a worthy leader in South Asia as well as a real fellow of Gandhiji through this award,” she said. She also thanked the government and the people of India as India is providing 109 ambulances to Bangladesh this time as a gift of their amicable gesture for the people of Bangladesh. Noting that Indian government always remains beside Bangladesh, she said every Indian political party and the people of India, irrespective of their creed and views, become united regarding any issue of Bangladesh and stand beside the people of Bangladesh. “India is not only our next-door neighbour, we’ve historical, social, cultural, heritage, and geographical rapports with this country,” she said. Recollecting that the people and the Government of India were immensely involved in the evolution process of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina said, “The self-sacrifice (of a notable number of Indian soldiers), support, and cooperation of the people of India during our Liberation War will never be forgotten. We gratefully recollect that contribution.” In recognition of outstanding contribution to the Liberation War, Bangladesh dedicated the ‘Independence Award’ to late Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the ‘Liberation War Friendship Award’ to 225 Indian citizens including the ‘Liberation War Award’ to former President Pranab Mukherjee and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, she said. On the occasion of the birth centenary of Father of the Nation, the Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh’s Independence, and 50 years of Bangladesh-India diplomatic relations, the two countries have decided to hold several joint programmes, she said. Besides, the Indian government has taken the initiative of the Bangabandhu-Bapu Digital Exhibition commemorating the two most-reputed leaders of this subcontinent Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib and Mahatma Gandhi, she continued. Sheikh Hasina extended her sincere thanks to the Indian Prime Minister for attending this festival amid the Covid-19 pandemic. “We always recall with respect the contribution of India to our liberation. So, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi glorified our event attending it as the guest of honour,” she said. At the event, Bangabandhu’s youngest daughter Sheikh Rehana accompanied by Sheikh Hasina received the prestigious ‘Gandhi Peace Prize-2020’ from Narendra Modi, which was conferred on Bangabandhu. The Indian Prime Minister was honoured with ‘Eternal Mujib Memento’. Sheikh Rehana handed over the memento to Modi. The video messages of UN Secretary General António Guterres and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson were also screened. Congratulatory messages from Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, Russian President Vladimir Putin, USA President Joe Biden and Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan read out by the heads of their respective diplomatic missions stationed in Dhaka. Earlier, Sheikh Hasina along with her younger sister Sheikh Hasina received Modi when he reached the venue at 4:30pm. Later, both the prime ministers witnessed a cultural programme there.
Act responsibly to make independence meaningful: President
President Abdul Hamid on Friday urged the people to carry out their respective duties with honesty, integrity and sincerity to make independence meaningful and disseminate its benefits among the mass people. He said the country achieved its independence under the leadership of Bangabandhu after a Liberation War lasting nine months and costing many lives. “Therefore, we have to carry out our respective duties with honesty, integrity and sincerity in order to make our independence meaningful and disseminate the benefits of independence among mass people. In imparting our duties in personal, family, social, political and state related affairs, we need to behave very responsibly,” he said. President Hamid made the remarks while addressing the final day of 10-day special programme 'Mujib Chirantan' as chief guest marking 50 years of independence and the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at Parade Ground. Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi attended the celebrations in the afternoon as special guest. Hamid said that people need to develop able leadership, emphasising principles, ethics and ideals in all sectors. The President said the development of the country and people are not the sole responsibility of the political leadership. Rather, as citizens of an independent country, it is the duty and responsibility of all. Mentioning independence as the right of the people, the President said the true meaning of freedom can only be achieved if it is used properly without limiting it within the accomplishment of rights. Again, the beauty of freedom diminishes with its inappropriate use. Liberation and arbitrariness cannot be treated in the same manner. Terming India as the closest neighbour and a trusted friend of Bangladesh, President Hamid recalled with deep appreciation the unstinting moral and material support that the political leaders and people of India extended to Bangladesh during our Liberation War. Also read: President Abdul Hamid to receive coronavirus vaccine tomorrow Hamid also remembered with profound respect the heroes of Indian Armed Forces who sacrificed their lives in our great Liberation War and expressed sincere thanks to the Government of India for the decision to confer the ‘Gandhi Peace Prize 2020’ upon Bangabandhu posthumously in recognition of his outstanding contributions towards social, economic and political transformation through non-violent and other Gandhian methods. The President hoped that the visit of the Prime Minister of India will further strengthen the friendly relations between the two countries. Celebration of the Birth Centenary is an admirable initiative to know and realise Bangabandhu. The President said: “In place of the ceremonial components of the celebration, we need to put emphasis on educating our new and future generations about the life, work, principles and ideals of Bangabandhu. Initiatives need to be taken so that we can represent Bangabandhu in the international arena in different languages.” Hamid also called upon researchers, historians and politicians to play pioneering role in this regard. He shared his direct observation how India had supported and co-operated with us during our glorious War of Independence. At least 10 million people from then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) took shelter in India. At that time, the government and people of India provided shelter to our 10 million people, arranged their food, provided training to the freedom fighters, supplied weapons, conducted diplomatic efforts to obtain the support of the outside world in favour of our fight for independence, and also a number of Indian soldiers sacrificed their lives as members of the allied force. This is a unique example in the history of empathy and humanity, Hamid said. Also read: President Abdul Hamid wants closer ties with Canada 'Friendship to all, malice to none'- following the policy of Bangabandhu, Bangladesh is successfully advancing in the diplomatic arena by developing bilateral and multilateral relations. The land boundary agreement with India has already been implemented and the maritime boundary dispute has been resolved peacefully. President Hamid said bilateral talks aimed at resolving other unresolved issues are being held regularly and hoped that these unresolved issues will be settled amicably and in a dignified way soon. Prime Minister Hasina received Modi at the VVIP tarmac of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) upon his arrival by a special flight in the morning. The Indian Prime Minister was received by 19 gun salutes and given the guard of honour. He visited the National Martyrs Memorial at Savar and Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Dhanmondi in the city to pay tributes to Liberation War martyrs and Father of the Nation Bangabandhu. Also read: President Abdul Hamid reaches Geneva Modi placed wreaths and planted a sapling at the National Martyrs Memorial and signed the visitors’ book there. He also placed wreaths on the portrait of Bangabandhu at Bangabandhu Memorial Museum and signed the visitors’ book. He jointly inaugurated Bangabandhu-Bapu Museum and attended a state banquet preceded by a cultural programme hosted by Prime Minister Hasina. Modi will have a one-to-one meeting with his Bangladesh counterpart and hold bilateral talks at the Prime Minister’s Office. He will also meet President Hamid at Bangabhaban on March 27. Narendra Modi arrived here on a two-day state visit to attend the twin mega celebrations marking the birth centenary of Father of the Nation and 50 years of independence.
Undeclared “curfew” in Dhaka ignoring people: BNP
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Friday alleged that the government is celebrating the Golden Jubilee of Independence without people by imposing an undeclared “curfew” in Dhaka. “The situation that prevails today (Friday) in Bangladesh, especially in Dhaka city, is not expected for any of us. We’ve seen an undeclared curfew in the entire city while people’s movement is being stopped,” he said. The BNP leader said, “The government is celebrating this day keeping people away.” As part of ensuring foolproof security centring Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit, traffic on different roads in the capital has been restricted. The leaders and activists of BNP were barred from going to the grave of party founder Ziaur Rahman to pay homage to him on the occasion of Golden Jubilee of Independence. Taking permission from police, Fakhrul and some other party senior leaders placed a wreath at Zia’s grave paying tribute to him. Also read: BNP brings changes to Independence Day prog Later, talking to reporters, Fakhrul said they have postponed their most programmes, including a rally, to mark the day due to the deteriorating Covid situation. He alleged that though coronavirus situation has taken a dangerous turn, the government is showing apathy to it. “The main reason behind the government’s indifference is that they’re busy with foreign guests. We don't see their interest in protecting people.” Replying to a question, Fakhrul said the government has long been failed to resolve the unsettled issues, including ensuring fair share of water of the common rivers, with friendly country India. Also read: He said the government has been talking about signing the Teesta water sharing deal for 10 years, but it has so far failed to do so. The BNP leader alleged that the government has unilaterally signed a deal with India to share water of the Feni River. Also read: BNP postponed Independence Day event to avoid embarrassment: Obaidul Quader He also said the killings of Bangladeshis along the border have not stopped yet. “The government is enhancing connectivity with India, but people have not been told what benefits we are getting from it. We surely want good relations with all countries. But we never want anyone to be our master and the people of Bangladesh will also not accept it,” Fakhrul said. Meanwhile, senior leaders of Dhaka district unit BNP, on behalf of the party, paid tributes to the martyrs of the Liberation War by placing wreaths at the National Mausoleum, Savar in the morning.
Independence Day: President, PM pay tributes to martyrs of Liberation War
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid tributes to the martyrs of the Liberation War by placing wreaths at the National Memorial at Savar on Friday morning, marking Bangladesh’s Independence and National Day. This year, the country is celebrating the Golden Jubilee of its Independence. President Hamid first placed wreaths at the altar of the memorial followed by the Prime Minister. After placing the wreaths, the President and the Prime Minister stood there in solemn silence for some time as a mark of profound respect to the memories of the martyrs of the 1971 great Liberation War.