Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today asked all irrespective of caste, creed and religion to work together to build a developed, prosperous and Smart Bangladesh by 2041.
“We, Hindu, Muslim, Bouddha and Christian will work shoulder to shoulder to take our motherland forward. We will build Sonar Bangla as envisioned by the Father of the Nation and Smart Bangladesh by 2041,” she said.
The prime minister was exchanging views with the Hindu community marking the Janmashtami, the holy occasion of birth of Lord Sri Krishna, also known as Janmashtami at her official Ganabhaban residence here.
She also called for constant vigil against any move to destroy country’s religious harmony and propaganda against its advancement.
She said Bangladesh is progressing and it will advance further towards Smart Bangladesh with having smart government, smart skilled manpower, smart economy and smart society as her government already transformed it into Digital Bangladesh as per 2008’s electoral pledge.
The premier said her government has restored the communal harmony and rights of the people irrespective of all castes, creeds and religions by amending the constitution after coming to power.
She said military dictator Ziaur Rahman annulled all the articles on protecting rights of all the religions and the freedom to celebrate religious festivals by amending the constitution.
Zia also abolished the Article 12 of the constitution which ensures religious neutrality, she said.
The secularism means the people of every religion will perform their religious rituals and festivals independently, she continued.
The prime minister reminded the Hindu community that the country belongs to all as everyone irrespective of caste, creed and religion made the country independent through nine months of battle against the Pakistani occupation forces during the War of Liberation in 1971.
Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder, State Minister for LGRD and Cooperatives Swapan Bhattacharjee and State Minister for Religious Affairs Md Faridul Haque Khan, among others, spoke on the occasion.
Sheikh Hasina said the Hindu community people must lead their life enjoying equal rights in Bangladesh as like others and asked them not to think themselves as minority.
“Why would you call yourselves minority? ….. There is nothing like minority and majority here. Rather, all citizens will live here enjoying equal rights. Don’t undermine yourselves as minority. Why are you doing so when you are the people of this country?” she said.
The premier mentioned that those who were born on this soil, they are the children of this soil and they have every rights as the citizens of the country.
“So, you (Hindu community people) will live accordingly,” she continued.
The premier said her government always tries to maintain religious and communal harmony in Bangladesh and keep a social harmony where one won’t undermine another and all the people will lead life enjoying equal rights.
“We know there are some vested people everywhere, who want to create some problems. All will have to pay attention so that none can create any problem,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina also alerted all against a section of people who are conducting propaganda at home and abroad to malign the country.
“I would like to request all to be alert in this regard,” she said.
The premier said the non-communal spirit of Bangladesh was destroyed after the assassination of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975.
The Hindu community people were subjected to inhuman tortures and repressions time and again after Ziaur Rahman grabbed state power illegally, she said.
“We’ve again been able to ensure the equal rights and religious freedom for the people of all religions and casts by amending the Constitution,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina extended her thanks to the people of the country for voting her party to power and giving the scope to restore the non-communal spirit in Bangladesh.
“Since they have allowed us to serve the country by voting, we’ve again been able to restore the non-communal spirit and uphold the spirit of the Liberation war through the amendment to the constitution and we’ve got the scope to implement the ideals of the Liberation War,” she said.
“I want you all to practice your respective religions properly. Once there was a disparity in case of (government) jobs, but now this inequality is no more here,” she said.
The government even evaluates competence and performance in case of promotion in the government services, she added.