Sheikh Hasina said they have been working to change the fate of the marginalised people in the grassroots level alongside attaining economic self-sufficiency of the country.

She also said Bangladesh is marching forward and will continue this progress as the enlighten people of the country is showing the path.

“Our progress has been possible due to your (enlighten people) contribution to various sectors,” she opined.

The prime minister hoped that the country’s young generation would follow the contribution and path of this enlighten people and devote them to the welfare of the country.

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On behalf of the prime minster, liberation war affairs minister AKM Mozammel Haque, MP, handed over the Ekushey Padak, the second highest civilian award in the country, among 24 eminent persons for their outstanding contribution to the society and country.

With state minister for cultural affairs KM Khalid, MP, in the chair, secretary of the ministry Md. Abul Monsur delivered the welcome address.

Cabinet secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam conducted the award-giving ceremony organised by the ministry of cultural affairs and read out the citations of the recipients.

Briefly describing the struggle of the country’s Independence from the language movement, the prime minister said the sacrifice of many people helped achieve the Independence of the country.

She said, “Independence does not come through a sudden declaration of any person. The Independence of the country came through the long journey of struggle started by the Father of the Nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman”.

The independent Bangladesh emerged by the contribution of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, she added.

Recalling the evil efforts to erase the contribution of Bangabandhu after his assassination in 1975, Sheikh Hasina said the Father of the Nation’s contribution to the Language Movement and Liberation War was almost wiped out.

“But the reality is, none can erase the truth, history comes repeatedly,” She continued.

The prime minister said that her government is trying to find out the people who have contributed to various fields and giving them honour so that “people of the country can get rid of history distortion”.

Congratulating the award winners, she hoped that the new generation will come forward to devote themselves to the welfare of the country following their footsteps.

After the brutal assassination of her father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most of family members, Sheikh Hasina said, “She and her younger sister Sheikh Rehana made promise that whenever they get opportunity they will work for the people and help the Bangalee nation to stand with head high before the world”.

“Today I can say that we stand before the world with head high,” she continued.

The head of the government also reiterated her call to the people of the country to receive Covid-19 vaccine as they are providing the jab free of cost although many rich countries are not doing so.

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She requested all responsible persons both in government and private sector to make sure that their near and dear ones as well as neighbours receive the Covid-19 jabs to protect them from the lethal virus.

She also urged all to maintain health safety protocol properly to escape the virus infection.

Earlier, on 3 February, the government announced the names of 24 eminent persons for the ‘Ekushey Padak-2022’ for their outstanding contributions to their respective fields.

This year, two persons got the medal in the Language Movement category, four in the Liberation War, seven in Shilpakala (art, music and dance), two in Social Service, two in Language and Literature, four in Research and one each in Journalism, Science and Technology, and education.

Mostafa MA Matin (posthumous) and Mirza Tofazzal Hossain Mukul (posthumous) received the medal in the field of Language Movement.

Valiant freedom fighter Alhaj Principal Md Matiur Rahman, Syed Moazzem Ali (posthumous), QABM Rahman and Amzad Ali Khandaker got the padak in the Liberation War category.

Jinat Barkatullah received the padak for dance while Nazrul Islam Babu (posthumous), Iqbal Ahmed and Mahmudur Rahman Benu for music, and Khaled Mahmud Khan (posthumous), Afzal Hossain and Masum Aziz for acting.

MA Malek got the padak for journalism while Md Anawar Hossain in science and technology and professor Gautam Buddha Das in education.

Besides, SM Abraham Lincoln and Sangharaj Gyanshree Mahathero got the padak in the social service category. Poet Kamal Chowdhury and Jharna Das Purkayastha received the padak in language and literature category.

On the other hand, Md Abdus Sattar Mandal, Md Enamul Haque (team leader), Shahanaz Sultana (team) and Jannatul Ferdous (team) got the padak in research category.

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