PM skeptical of those deny Bangabandhu’s contributions
Dhaka: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday said she has doubts whether those deny the contributions of Bangabandhu to the War of Liberation believe in the country's independence.
"Yahya Khan declared Bangabandhu as the lone enemy of Pakistan and put him to the dock for trial for declaring the independence. So, I've doubts whether those couldn't realise this truth believe in the country's independence," she said.
The Prime Minister made the remarks while exchanging views with the leaders of the Hindu community at her official residence Ganobhaban on the occasion of Janmashtami.
She said when Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman declared the country's independence on March 26 in 1971, the then Pakistani President not only arrested Bangabandhu but also blamed only Bangabandhu for it (independence).
Hasina said Yahya in his address on March 26 did not mention the name of any other leader except Bangabandhu. He put signature to the verdict to execute Bangabandhu through the farcical trial, she said.
The Prime Minister recalled that people from all faiths fought shoulder to shoulder during the War of Liberation and thus liberated the country. "People from all faiths have equal rights in this independent country and scope has been created in the Constitution to openly exercise all religions."
She said after the assassination of Bangabandhu with most of his family members in 1975, military dictators Ziaur Rahman and HM Ershad had unleashed oppression on the minority communities.
Hasina also mentioned that during the attack on Babri Mosque in India in 1992, the BNP men had attacked the Hindu community in the country and burned down some 352 temples. "But, we then stood by them."
In the same way, the BNP-Jamaat also unleashed oppression on the minority communities after the 2001 general election and resorted to killing, torture, rape and looting, she said. "AL always stood by the oppressed people and will continue to do so."
The Prime Minister said her government does not want to see any recurrence of attack on the minority communities, saying, "People from all faiths are the citizens of Bangladesh and they'll live here with equal rights and that's what I believe in. Even, Islam also speaks about the equal rights of people."
She said it is the aim of her government that everyone will perform their religious rituals independently without any interference by others. "People of all faiths will equally take part in a festival no matter which religion it belongs to."
Extending her heartfelt thanks to the Hindu community on the eve of Janmashtami, she expressed the hope that Bangladesh will turn into a prosperous and developed country imbued with the spirit of the War of Liberation while its people will enjoy all the democratic and constitutional rights.
Mentioning that necessary directives have already been given to take measures to hold the largest religious festival of Hindu community, Durga Puja, peacefully, Hasina also told the Hindu community leaders to live with dignity and observe every festival with due religious fervour, assuring that the government will extend whatever cooperation is needed.
State Minister for Fisheries and Livestock Narayan Chandra Chanda, State Minister for Youth and Sports Dr Biren Shikder, Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad President Jayanta Sen Dipu, Janmashtami Udjapan Parishad, Bangladesh President Debashish Palit, Mohanagar Sarbajanin Puja Committee President DN Chaterjee, former President of Janmashtami Udjapon Parishad Ramesh Ghosh, Janmashtami Udjapan Parishad General Secretary Advocate Chandan Talukdar spoke at the function.
PM's International Affairs Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi, Gyan Prakashananda Moharaj and Srimat Swami Sudarshananda Moharaj were present on the dias.
At the outset of the function, a one-minute silence was observed as a mark of respect to the memories of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and other martyrs of the August 15 carnage.
Earlier, the leaders of Janmashtami Udjapan Parishad, Bangladesh, Bangladesh Puja Udjapan Parishad and Mahanagar Puja Udjapan Parishad greeted the PM by presenting her bouquets and crests.