Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday (October 18) called for returning to peace, relinquishing war and arms competition to make the world a beautiful abode for the children, reports BSS.
“We want a peaceful world. We don't want war, devastation and arms trading. We don't want any child to turn into a refugee and to be shot to death,” she said.
The premier was virtually addressing a programme at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) here, from her official Ganabhaban residence.
The programme was arranged marking the Sheikh Russel Day-2022 and distribution of Sheikh Russel Padak-2022 among the winners.
The prime minister also inaugurated 5000 Sheikh Russel Digital Labs and 300 Sheikh Russel Schools of Future across the country at the function.
She said many children are becoming orphans, refugees and suffering pains due to the Russia-Ukraine war.
Referring to enduring cruel experience in her life as both a refugee and a war detainee, she said, "We want no more conflict and none to be killed like Russel rather we want a bright and developed future for all the children”.
The prime minister said with emotion choked voice Bangladesh has given shelters to forcibly displaced Rohingyas where the children are growing up as refugees.
Criticising those who raises voices on so called human rights issue, she questioned, "Where were they, when my entire family, my father and the then President of Bangladesh, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, my mother, three brothers including little Russel along with others were killed on August 15 in 1975".
The prime minister said they even did not want trial of the gruesome killings as an indemnity ordinance was passed by the military dictator government so her family could not seek justice.
She also said the persons, who are now vocal about so called human rights issue, even did not raise their voices against the inhumanity and human rights violation committed against her family, rather became patrons of the killers.
The premier said everyone who came to power after 1975 -- Ziaur Rahman, General Ershad and Khaleda Zia-- patronized and rewarded the killers of Bangabandhu and his family members.
"None stood beside us at that time.... today why do we hear so many words ---the words on humanity and human rights? Can anyone give an answer to my question,” she said.
After assuming power, she said her government had held trial in the Bangabandhu killing case, adding that they had to overcome many hurdles in cancelling the indemnity ordinance.
“We could hold the trial of Bangabandhu killing only when I had been able to form the government and became the Prime Minister of Bangladesh overcoming many barriers and obstacles," she said.
The prime minister said the judges of the apex court had even felt embarrassing to hear the trial in the Bangabandhu killing case and they are now becoming great philosophers and giving sermons.
"Today we have to hear words of democracy, voting rights and human rights from those people who are killers, patrons of killers and violators of human rights," she said.
A video message marking Sheikh Russel's birthday from Nobel Laureate and renowned child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi was also played at the function.
The prime minister unveiled a book titled "Duronto Pranobanto Sheikh Russel" edited by State Minister for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Zunaid Ahmed Palak as well.
Trailer of an animated film "Amader Chhotto Russel Sona" written by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was also screened on the occasion.
Presided over by Zunaid Ahmed Palak, the programme was also addressed, among others, by ICT Division Senior Secretary NM Zeaul Alam, Bangladesh Jatiyo Shishu Kishore Parishad Secretary General KM Shahidullah and child speaker Afsa Zafor Srijita.
On behalf of the prime minister, Zunaid Ahmed Palak distributed Sheikh Russel Padak-2022 among the individual and institutions winners in various categories.
Awards were also distributed among the winners of the nationwide quiz, sports, arts and cultural competitions held marking the Sheikh Russel Day.
A video documentary on Sheikh Russel and a theme song marking Sheikh Russel Day-2022 made by the ICT Division were also screened at the function.
Sheikh Russel was born on this day (0ctober 18) in 1964. Today is the 59th birthday of Sheikh Russel, the youngest son of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Bangamata Begum Fazilatun Nesa Mujib, which is being observed as Sheikh Russel Day across the country.
The day's programme began with paying rich tributes to Sheikh Russel at his grave in Banani Graveyard here by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her younger sister Sheikh Rehana.
Referring to the brutal killing of her youngest brother Sheikh Russel along with most of his family members, Sheikh Hasina said, “We don't want such injustice to happen in Bangladesh”.
The prime minister said 19 coups took place in the country after the 1975 massacre in which many armed forces officers and soldiers were killed and their relatives even did not get their bodies.
Hundreds of Awami League leaders and activists were inhumanly tortured, arrested and killed by the post 1975 governments, she said.
She said with an emotion-charged voice: “We don't want to hear cries of losing loved ones, cries of sons for losing their fathers and cries of fathers for losing their children. ---we want a beautiful and improved life for the people particularly children”.
As part of her government move to build the future generations with the knowledge of science and technology, she said 13000 Sheikh Russel Digital Labs have so far been established across the country marking the 59th birthday of Sheikh Russel.
The prime minister said her government has a target to provide science and technology education to the children so that they can compete with the ever-changing world as they would be the future leaders of the country.
“They will be upgraded with science and technology based education as they will lead the country towards prosperity. Today's children will be the guardian of tomorrow,” she said.
The children of today will take the country ahead and raise voice against any sort of injustice, she hoped.
“We are working to ensure that human rights aren't hampered and no child isn't tortured alongside giving a improved and beautiful life to all,” she said.
The premier said her government is creating scopes for sports and culture alongside education to prepare the children as worthy citizens of the country so that they never lag behind in anything in the competitive world.
Recalling the birthday of Sheikh Russel with the voice of sobbing, Sheikh Hasina said, “Today is his (Sheikh Russel) birthday. It is a day for happiness for us and we never forget the day. I was so happy after taking the newly born baby in my lap. He started walking with my hand. He (Russel) was like a doll to us (four siblings)”.
She said Russel was growing up without getting love and affection of father as his father Bangabandhu was arrested time and again by the then Pakistani ruler.
Even, his father Bangabandhu was not present at the time of his (Russel) birth as the Father of the Nation then was in Chattogram for the presidential polls campaign, she added.
Little Russel used to call his mother as Abba (father) while he got his father for very little time as Bangabandhu was arrested time and again for his efforts to make Bangladesh independent to give its people a beautiful and improved life, she said.
The prime minister said Russel wanted to be an army officer, but his dream did not come true as he was brutally killed on August 15 in 1975.
“But, by the grace of Allah and help of the countrymen, we had been able to hold trial of Bangabandhu killing case and I expressed my gratitude to them," she said.
She continued: "Through the trial, we not only get our human rights, but Bangladesh was also freed from the curse which had fallen upon the country after the 1975 massacre and for that reason Bangladesh is advancing forward,”.