Issuing a strong warning against religious fanatics, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said the government would not let anyone create any division and anarchy in the country over religion.
“This Bangladesh is the Bangladesh of Lalon Shah, Rabindranath, Kazi Nazrul, Jibanananda… this Bangladesh is the Bangladesh of Shahjalal, Shah Poran, Shah Mokdum, Khanjahan Ali; this Bangladesh is the Bangladesh of Sheikh Mujib and 16.5 crore Bangalees — this country is for all. We won’t allow anyone to create any division and anarchy in the name of religion,” she said.
The premier was addressing the nation on the occasion of Victory Day.
Hasina said a section of the defeated force of 1971 are out to confuse the religion-loving Muslims through providing false, fabricated and fictitious information as they want to create anarchy in the society.
“In 1972, the Father of the Nation had said not to make religion a tool of politics. But the associates of the defeated forces are now dreaming of taking the country to a situation which prevailed in the country 50 years back.”
The PM alleged that these bigots with political patronage were showing their audacity.
“The people of Bangladesh are pious, but not fanatics. We must not make religion as the weapon of politics. Everyone has the right to perform his own religious rituals.”
Hasina mentioned that Bangladesh is a country of communal harmony. The country achieved its independence in an exchange of blood of Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Christians. “The people of the country will move on towards prosperity, progress and development keeping the religious morale high.”
She briefly described various development programmes of Bangabandhu and Awami League governments for flourishing Islam in the country.
DEBT OF BLOOD
In her 18-minute speech, the PM urged all to take a vow on the eve of the Victory Day not to forget the debt of blood of millions of martyrs.
“We must not let the non-communal spirit of the Liberation War fade away. My request to the youths and the new generation is that you must not forget the supreme sacrifices of your predecessors ever. You must not let someone dishonour the red and green flag that they have gifted [us],” she said.
The premier said youths must take a vow to transform the country into Golden Bengal imbued with the spirit of Liberation War.
VICTORY DAY AMID COVID
Talking about the Covid-19 pandemic, Hasina said the country is going to celebrate the Victory Day this year in a different situation.
“We have to bring changes to our daily routine due to the coronavirus pandemic. We are carrying out our personal, social and national activities avoiding public gatherings. Each life is invaluable…the death of a single person due to negligence is not desirable.”
The PM urged all to perform their everyday works and celebrate the Victory Day following health safety rules. “Make sure that you are masked up while going out of home and clean hands with soap or sanitiser regularly. Your protection is the safeguard for all.”
She said the whole nation faced the coronavirus unitedly and set an example in the world.
“In Bangladesh, we have been able to tackle this adverse shock to some extent with timely steps and programmes. We have announced a stimulus package worth Tk 121,000 crore which is 4.3 percent of the GDP.”
After absorbing the initial hit, the remittance inflow, agricultural production and export have bounced back, the PM added.
Hasina said the government has changed the celebration programmes of the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman due to the pandemic.
“Our independence will step into the 50th year next year. Had there been no pandemic, we would have celebrated the Golden Jubilee of independence in a befitting manner simultaneously with the programmes of the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation.”
The premier said Bangabandhu used to say that nobody honours a beggars’ nation.
“We have erased that bad name of Bangladesh in the international arena as Bangladesh is now the name of a dignified country. Today’s Bangladesh is not a country of a fragile economy; today’s Bangladesh is self-dependent Bangladesh.”
Hasina said Bangladesh has fulfilled the eligibility criteria for graduation from the list of least developed countries to a developing country.
She said it was the dream of the Father of the Nation to establish secular Golden Bengal which would be free from hunger and poverty.
“We are at the doorstep of implementing his dream… we have to continue this development. With this, we will be able to fulfil our dream to become a developed and prosperous country by 2041,” the PM added.
State-owned Bangladesh Betar and Bangladesh Television simultaneously broadcast the prime minister’s address. Private television channels and radio stations also aired the speech.