Dhaka, Dec 16 (PTI) Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said on Wednesday that everyone in Bangladesh enjoys equal rights irrespective of religion and caste as the country celebrated the 49th anniversary of its victory against Pakistan.
'The people of all religions will be staying in Bangladesh enjoying equal facilities as they sacrificed blood to liberate the country,' Prime Minister Hasina said while virtually addressing a meeting organised by the ruling Bangladesh Awami League on the occasion of 'Great Victory Day'.
Bangladesh won its victory on December 16 in 1971 following a nine-month long Liberation War with Indian support against Pakistan.
'There has been an effort to create debate over Bangabandhu’s sculpture... Bangladesh is a country of non-communal spirit,' she said.
She was referring to extreme rightwing Muslim groups who have waged a campaign against sculptures in the wake of the government's plans to setup statues of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in major cities.
Hasina reaffirmed that all will have their liberty to perform their religious rituals as the government believes in that spirit.
'Islam teaches us that lesson…,' the prime minister said.
Her remarks came a day after she cautioned people against reappearance of fanaticism in the country and said that her government was determined to prevent any attempt to use religion as a 'political weapon' to create social unrest.
'Don't use religion as a political tool…we will not allow anyone to create any anarchy or division in this country in the name of religion,' Hasina said in a televised speech on the eve of the 49th Victory Day on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, hundreds of people gathered at the National Memorial at Savar on the Victory Day on Wednesday despite the coronavirus outbreak.
The government has scaled down the Victory Day celebrations this year due to the pandemic. There was no parade by the armed forces.
On behalf of President Abdul Hamid, Military Secretary Maj Gen SM Shamim-uz-Zaman paid homage at the National Memorial, while Hasina's Military Secretary Maj Gen Naqib Ahmed Chowdhury paid the tribute on her behalf, bdnews24 reported.
On behalf of the cabinet, Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque, State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid and State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Enamur Rahman paid their respect.
In his message, President Hamid said the country was making advances in every socio-economic index, including health, education, women’s empowerment and the per capita income. PTI ZH ZH