Mentioning the brutal killing that took place on 15 August, 1975 and the grenade attack on 21 August, 2004, she said, attacks were carried out against me many a time and also attack was carried out against Kamal (Sheikh Kamal) in 1974.

“Attempts were also made to shoot and kill him (Kamal), but when they saw that he was alive, false accusations were spread against him. That means the defeated forces were always active.”

Stating that students have played an enormous role in the history of Bangladesh’s achievements, she said students were the front runners in every movement such as language movement, anti-autocracy movement, military dictatorship or any injustice in the country.

“Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had once said that Bangladesh’s history is BCL’s history… So you (leaders and activists of BCL) have to keep that in mind and move forward,” she said.

Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), student wing of ruling Bangladesh Awami League (AL), organised the discussion to observe the 46th martyrdom anniversary of the country’s founding father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Bangamata Begum Fazilatunnesa Mujib at Krishibid Institution Bangladesh (KIB) auditorium in the capital.

AL presidium members Jahangir Kabir Nanak and Abdur Rahman also spoke as the special guests reminiscing their days as BCL leaders.

With BCL president Al-Nahian Khan Joy in the chair, its general secretary Lekhak Bhattacharya moderated the discussion.

The prime minister also unveiled the cover of the BCL’s regular publication ‘Matribhumi’ and its monthly mouthpiece ‘Joy Bangla’.

Referring to the hectic efforts of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for building the war-torn Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina said the defeated forces staged the 15 August carnage when they saw Bangladesh cannot be pulled back from its economic growth.

She noted that the defeated forces took their revenge with the 15 August carnage and distorted the history of Bangladesh, especially trying to wipe out the name of Bangabandhu and demolish the spirit of the Liberation War.

But, today it is not possible for anyone to erase the name of Bangabandhu as his 7 March (1971) speech has been accepted as a world documentary heritage, she said, adding, “It has been possible due to our forward march with an ideology and fixed goal.”

She requested all to keep strong vigilance as Bangladesh has many enemies and massive hurdles in every step of its development journey.

The prime minister went on saying: “Our path of progress is not smooth. It’s rather full of hurdles, but we’ve to move forward overcoming all the odds and obstacles, and we’re doing that.”

Mentioning that Bangladesh has stood out on the world stage in the last 12 years and now became a developing nation which Awami League announced in its election manifesto, she said, “We’ve to move forward keeping that in our mind.”

Turning towards the role of Ziaur Rahman and his engagement in the War of Liberation in 1971, the prime minister said there is no instance that Ziaur Rahman fired a single shot against the Pakistani forces.

“No one can prove it,” she said.

Regarding Ziaur Rahman’s involvement with the killing of Bangabandhu, Sheikh Hasina said Mustaque, Rashid and Farooq during their interviews with the BBC admitted that Ziaur Rahman was always with them. “Zia was the source of all power (for them) . . .,” she alleged.

The prime minister further said that she sometimes thinks that these people, who had always visited Bangabandhu’s house for various purposes, including personal matters, killed the Father of the Nation. “How could they do that?”

Highlighting the sacrifice of her mother Bangamata Fazilatunnesa Mujib, she said her mother was beside Bangabandhu throughout her life.

“My father could fully engage in the service of the country as he got such a companion beside him… this is a rare instance,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina, also the president of Awami League, praised the BCL leaders and activists as they stood beside the people during the Covid-19 pandemic in different ways.