Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday inaugurated the month-long Amar Ekushey Book Fair 2020, a yearly event of booklovers and publishers.
The fair began on the Bangla Academy premises and at its adjoining Suhrawardy Udyan in the city.
This year’s book fair has been dedicated to greatest Bengali of all-time and Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on the occasion of Mujib Borsho (Mujib Year).
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also distributed the Bangla Academy Sahitya Puroshkar-2019 (Bangla Academy Literature Award) at the opening ceremony.
The award recipients are former Home Minister Rafiqul Islam (Literature on Liberation War), Makid Haider (Poetry), Wasi Ahmed (Literature), Swarochish Sarkar (Essay/Research), Khairul Alam Sabuj (Translation), Rahim Shah (Children’s Literature), Ratan Siddiqui (Drama), Nadira Majumder (Science Fiction), Faruk Moinuddin (Autobiography/Travelogue) and Simon Zakaria (Folklore).
Each winner received a cheque for Tk 3 lakh and crests.
Bangla Academy Sahitya Puroshkar is given by the Bangla Academy of Bangladesh in recognition of creative genius in advancement and overall contribution to the field of Bengali language and literature.
Sheikh Hasina also unveiled a book titled ‘Amar Dekha Noya Chin’ written by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, which is the most attractive book among 100 new books to be published on Bangabandhu’s life and works on his birth centenary.
The Bangla Academy has started publishing the 100 new books in phases in the Mujib Year.
Presided over by Bangla Academy President National Professor Anisuzzaman, the inaugural function was also addressed by State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid, Cultural Affairs Secretary Dr Md Abu Hena Mostofa Kamal and Bangla Academy Director General poet Habibullah Siraji.
Later, the Prime Minister visited different stalls of the book fair.
The fair will remain open from 3pm to 8:30pm on weekdays, from 11am to 8:30pm on weekends, and from 8am to 9pm on February 21 -- International Mother Language Day.
On the occasion, seminars will be held at the main stage of the fair venue at 4pm every day from February 3 to 29 followed by cultural events. The seminars will also be held on Bangabandhu and books written on his life and works.
As in previous years, the venue has been extended to nearby Suhrawardy Udyan.
This year, the land earmarked for the fair was expanded to 8,00,000 sq ft. A total of 873 units were allocated to the 560 organisations.
The authorities have allotted 179 units at the Bangla Academy ground to 126 organisatons and 694 at the Suhrawardy Udyan to 694 organisations.
Every year the month-long book fair is arranged in February commemorating the sacrifices of eight people who laid down their lives on February 21, 1952 for establishing Bangla as the mother tongue.
The fair began informally in 1972 on Bangla Academy premises but the academy officially took the responsibility in 1978 to organise the book fair every year.
It was then named as ‘Amar Ekushey Grantha Mela’ and a guideline was laid out in this regard in 1984.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan on Sunday warned that action will be taken if any violence is carried out in the name of hartal, or people suffer for such activities.
He came up with the remarks while talking to reporters at the Secretariat over BNP’s hartal.
“There’s no impact of BNP’s hartal, everything is normal and there’s no reason to be panicked,” he said.
Enforcing hartal just a day before the Secondary School Certificate and its equivalent examinations is a wrong decision of BNP and it has been proved that they got detached from people, said Asaduzzaman.
Asked about low voter turnout in the Dhaka city polls, the minister said, “The rate of voter turnout in local body election is usually lower than any national election. In the city, many people move from one place to another, and they don’t come to cast their votes in their polling areas. We’ve to look into the matter.”
About violence, the minister said it happens in any election but this time there was no violence during the polls and people cast their votes without any fear, he said.
BNP is enforcing a dawn-to-dusk hartal (shutdown) in the capital protesting against ‘massive vote frauds’ in the Dhaka city elections.
The dawn-to-dusk hartal (shutdown), enforced by BNP in the capital today (Sunday) in protest against ‘vote frauds’ in Saturday’s Dhaka city elections, ended peacefully with lukewarm public response.
There was no report of any violence during the shutdown programme that began at 6am and ended at 6pm.
BNP’s first shutdown in nearly five years did not evoke good response with BNP leaders and activists noticeably absent on the streets. Only a few leaders and activists of the party took position in front of their Nayapaltan central office.
The vehicular movement was a bit thinner than the usual since morning while huge law enforcers remained deployed at the important city points to fend off any untoward situation.
Bangladesh Road Transport Owners' Association operated their vehicles since morning rejecting BNP’s hartal.
Assistant Commissioner (Traffic-Darussalam) of West Division Jahidur Rahman said the intercity bus service from Dhaka’s Gabtoli remained undisrupted while passenger buses operated across the city as usual but the number of private vehicles was relatively low.
Meanwhile, the presence of students in the city’s educational institutions was somewhat low.
BNP’s Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi along with some party leaders and activists took position in front of their Nayapaltan party office since early morning. BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir also went to the party headquarters around 9:30am.
They brought out a procession early in the morning in support of the hartal in front of their office and burnt a symbolic Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) there.
Later, they took position at the front gate of the party headquarters and shouted slogans in support of the hartal. BNP’s Dhaka south mayoral candidate Ishraque Hossain came to Nayapaltan around 11am and joined the protest.
Meanwhile, huge law enforcers were deployed near BNP’s Nayapaltan office and its adjoining areas to avoid any possible unwanted incident. Around 11:45am, police asked the protesting BNP leaders and activists to leave within half an hour. The protesters left before noon.
After observing the day-long hartal, Mirza Fakhrul announced that they will stage demonstrations in the city on Tuesday demanding cancellation of the results of city polls.
He claimed that people made their party’s hartal programme a success with their spontaneous support.
The BNP leader also thanked people to support their hartal programme announced within a short time.
Fakhrul claimed that their party leaders and activists observed the hartal programme at different wards of the city while police arrested at least four of them.
Mirza Fakhrul called for the shutdown on Saturday evening, reviving the ‘hartal culture’ in Bangladeshi politics.
Awami League mayoral candidates Atiqul Islam and Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh won the mayoral race of Dhaka North City Corporation and Dhaka South City Corporation in Saturday’s election.
Various cold-related diseases affected 3,278 people across the country in the last 24 hours, the government said on Sunday.
Data from the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) control room showed that 650 of the patients received treatment for acute respiratory infection (ARI).
Another 1,644people were treated for diarrhoea, and 984 for diseases including jaundice, inflammation in the eye, skin diseases, and fever.
A total of 4,57,384 people were affected by various cold-related disease across the country between November 1 and February 2.
Fifty seven deaths were reported during this period.
Nineteen dengue patients, including fifteen in the capital, are being treated at hospitals across the country, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) said.
Three new dengue cases were reported in the last 24 hours until 8am on Sunday.
Bangladesh experienced a massive dengue outbreak last year.
In January, the government confirmed that dengue had claimed the lives of 164 people last year. The Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) confirmed the number after reviewing 263 out of 266 reports of dengue-related deaths last year.
Last year, 101,354 people were hospitalised with dengue in the country. Of them, 101,037 made full recovery.
Since the beginning of this year, 202 dengue cases were reported. Of them, 183 had been discharged from hospitals.