President Abdul Hamid
President Abdul HamidPhoto: UNB

President Md Abdul Hamid has urged the nation to forge an ironclad unity as it did during the Liberation War and stand united against communalism, undemocratic behaviour and violence.

In his special speech in parliament marking the 'Mujib Borsho', the president said unity is needed to build the 'Sonar Bangla' of Bangabandhu.

Bangladesh is celebrating the 'Mujib Borsho' from 17 March this year to 17 March 2021, marking the birth centenary of the country's founding father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

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"We shall have to protect our independence, which we snatched from the clutches of the Pakistani invaders in exchange for a sea of blood. The benefits of freedom shall have to be delivered to the doorsteps of all," the president said.

He said political parties shall have to nurture the culture of tolerance of others' opinions, show mutual respect, and attach due importance to others' views in order to give democracy an institutional shape.

"By getting imbued with the spirit of 1971, we shall have to build up resistance against those who seek to hinder the trend of advancement in the country through confusion-mongering and derailing the simple-minded people of this land by denying the reality and concocting imaginary stories and situations," Hamid said.

He said only then would the 'Golden Bangla' dreamt by Bangabandhu materialise and the celebrations of his birth centenary become meaningful.

Mentioning the decision to observe the 'Mujib Borsho' as a very significant one, president Hamid said that the life and works of Bangabandhu, his thoughts, ideas and philosophy have to be disseminated among the younger generation of Bangladesh and across the world through observance of the 'Mujib Borsho'.

'Learn about Bangabandhu to know Bangladesh'

"The life and political philosophy of Bangabandhu is fully relevant, modern, timely and ever-lasting for the freedom-seeking people of the world even during the 21st century," the president said.

He hoped that the country's politicians, historians, academics, researchers and journalists will contribute significantly towards disseminating Bangabandhu's biography, work and ideals worldwide.

"There's no scope to look at Bangabandhu and Bangladesh separately. One has to know about Bangabandhu in order to know Bangladesh, the struggle for freedom of the Bangalis and the liberation," he said in his speech.

"Those who tried to look at these two phenomena separately have failed. Today's reality is the biggest proof of that," he said.

"Let the nation advance on the path of building hunger and poverty-free Bangladesh by embracing the spirit of the Liberation War and the ideals of the Father of the Nation. Let the nation succeed in dropping its anchor on the shore of Bangabandhu's 'Sonar Bangla'," he said.

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'Want Rohingyas to return home with dignity'

In his speech, the president also touched upon the issue of the Rohingya crisis.

He said Bangladesh gave shelter solely on humanitarian grounds to around one million forcibly displaced Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar despite the country's own sizable population of 160 million.

President Hamid said Bangladesh has repeatedly raised the issue in the world forums, including the United Nations, to bring these refugees back to their homeland with dignity.

Meanwhile, the case of brutal persecution and genocide against the Rohingyas has been placed in the International Court of Justice and the court has issued some preliminary directives to the Myanmar government.

"We want the displaced Rohingya refugees to return to their homeland with dignity," the president added.

President Hamid also reiterated his call to all countries and international organisations, including the United Nations, to extend necessary support in this regard.