President, PM call for unity to materialise Bangabandhu’s ‘Sonar Bangla’

President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday urged the countrymen to work together for building a non-communal, hunger and poverty-free, developed and prosperous ‘Sonar Bangla’ as dreamt by Bangladesh’s founding father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

They made the call in separate messages on the eve of the historic Mujibnagar Day being observed today (Sunday).

In his message, President Hamid extended his heartiest greetings and congratulations to the countrymen and all Bangladeshis staying abroad on the occasion of the historic Mujibnagar Day.

He said 17 April is a memorable day in the long path of struggle for independence of the Bangalee nation.

On this auspicious occasion, he recalled with profound respect the greatest Bangalee of all time, architect of the great independence Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and four national leaders -- Syed Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahmed, Captain M Mansur Ali and AHM Qamruzzaman -- under whose strong leadership the country’s great independence was achieved through the nine-month bloody Liberation War.

The President also recalled with deep respect the three million people who laid down their lives in the Liberation War, war heroines, martyred intellectuals and the people of all strata and foreign friends who joined and extended support to the war.

He said the journey of struggle for freedom against Pakistani occupational forces, which began through Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s historic 7 March speech, had got the institutional shape with the formation of Mujibnagar Government on 10 April in 1971.

The first government of independent and sovereign People’s Republic of Bangladesh had taken oath on 17 April in 1971 at a mango grove at Baidyanathtala in the then Meherpur sub-division.

With the formation of the Mujibnagar Government, a constitutional government had appeared to administer the Liberation War under the leadership of the representatives elected by the people in the 1970 election, he said.

Because of the formation of the government, President Hamid said, the world community extended their support and hands of cooperation to Bangalees who were fighting an armed battle for independence.

He said the role that the Mujibnagar government had played to build public opinion, refugee management and formulate war strategies will remain as a unique chapter of glory in the history of the Bangalees’ struggle for independence.

He expressed his optimism that through observance of the Mujibnagar Day, the new generation would be able to know the country’s true history and would be encouraged to contribute to build a ‘Sonar Bangla’ as dreamt by Bangabandhu.

In her message, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said 17 April, the historic Mujibnagar Day, is a memorable one in the national life of Bangalees.

On this day in 1971, she said, the first provisional government of the independent Bangladesh had taken oath at a mango orchard at Baidyanathtala in the then Meherpur sub-division.

Meherpur turned into the capital of the provisional government and from that day, the place became familiar as ‘Mujibnagar’, she added.

The prime minister further said within two hours after the completion of formalities of the Mujibnagar Government, Pakistani Air Force occupied Meherpur by carrying out bombings and attacks.

As a result, the provisional government was bound to take shelter in India and continued its activities from there, she said.

She said brutal killings and mayhem were continued in East Bengal after confining Bangabandhu in West Pakistani jail.

She also said the anti-liberation evil forces assassinated Father of the Nation and most of his family members on 15 August, 1975 within three and a half years of independence.

Four national leaders who led the Liberation War were brutally killed inside the jail on 3 November that year, she said, adding that then there was no democracy in Bangladesh for long 21 years.

“After the formation of government in 1996, we have brought the killers of Father of the Nation and four national leaders to justice,” she said.

Then the trial of crimes against humanity and war criminals were carried out through the constitution of ‘International Crimes Tribunal’ after the formation of the government again in 2009, she added. “Since then, we have made unprecedented progress in all indexes of development in the last 13 and half years.”

On the 51st anniversary of Mujibnagar Day, the prime minister urged all to uphold the spirit of the country’s independence and the ideals of father of nation.

She urged all to work together in building hunger and poverty free, developed and prosperous Sonar Bangladesh as dreamt by Father of the Nation by resisting all sorts of conspiracies.

She wished a success of all programmes marking the Mujibnagar Day.