Shaheed Dr Milon Day is being observed across the country onSunday, commemorating the 32nd martyrdom anniversary of Dr Shamsul Alam Khan Milon who was killed during the 90s’ anti-autocratic movement. Different socio-cultural and political organisations as well as professional bodies have chalked out various programmes to observe the day with due respect. The day's programmes include placing wreaths at the grave of Shaheed Dr Milon on the Dhaka Medical College campus, offering 'fateha' there and holding discussions to mark the day. On this day in 1990, Dr Milon, the then joint secretary general of Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA) and a teacher of Dhaka Medical College, was shot dead by gunmen near TSC on the Dhaka University campus on his way to a meeting against then autocratic ruler HM Ershad. Read more: Shaheed Dr Milon Day on Friday The movement got momentum following the martyrdom of Dr Milon and autocratic ruler Ershad had to quit power finally in the face of a vigorous mass movement. President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in separate messages, paid homage to Shaheed Dr Milon, recalling his supreme sacrifice for the restoration of democracy in the country. In his message, the President expected that being imbued with the ideology of Dr Milon the new generation will engage themselves in the democratic practices. "Democracy and development are complementary to each other. The advancement of democracy must also be accelerated to ensure sustainable development,"he said. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in her message, the anti-autocracy movement got new speed through the supreme sacrifice of Dr Milon. Read more: Shaheed Dr Milon Day on Saturday "Emergency was declared on the day, but denying the emergency and curfew, students and mass people brought out processions on the streets several times. Later, the autocratic ruler was forced to quit and democracy was restored," she added.
Restoration of democracy in Myanmar is crucial for ‘sustainable’ repatriation of Rohingya, says Japan
Japan is banking on restoration of democracy in Myanmar for the sustainable repatriation of the forcibly displaced Rohingya in Bangladesh. “Sustainable repatriation of the forcibly displaced Rohingya would be possible after the resumption of democracy in Myanmar,” visiting Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs TAKEI Shunsuke. He said this while calling on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her official residence Ganabhaban. PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed the reporters after the meeting. He said that the Japanese state minister for foreign affairs said Japan supports Bangladesh on the Rohingya issue. In reply, the PM said Japan can talk with Myanmar over Rohingya repatriation. He said that it is required to wait for democracy for sustainable repatriation of Rohingya. Sheikh Hasina said Rohingya have become a heavy burden as five years have already elapsed since they took shelter in Bangladesh in 2017. She said the Rohingya population is increasing. The PM said that the biggest challenge is that many of the Rohingya are involved in drug and arms trafficking. She also said that Rohingya groups are fighting and killing each other. She reiterated her call that Myanmar should take back Rohingya who are their own people. Hasina described the relations between Bangladesh and Japan as wonderful and said that Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had laid the foundation of the relationship. “The relations between Japan and Bangladesh have been growing,” she said. The PM recalled the contribution of Japan with due respect during the War of Liberation and in rebuilding the war-ravaged Bangladesh soon after independence. Read more: Myanmar situation doesn't allow full-scale Rohingya repatriation now: Japan She also recalled the Japanese cooperation in Bangladesh’s development efforts. “They are still working in Bangladesh’s various development projects including the Matharbari and third terminal of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport,” she said. She described late Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as a “great friend of Bangladesh”. Japanese state minister said, “Japan feels proud being a development partner of Bangladesh. Japan will continue assisting Bangladesh in development efforts.” He said that he visited Bangladesh five years ago and became astonished with its huge development in the last five years under the dynamic and visionary leadership of Hasina. Read more: Japan, UNFPA join hands to provide $3.7 million assistance to Rihingyas in Bhasan Char, host communities in Noakhali TAKEI Shunsuke said the Japan government is carrying forward the comprehensive partnership of Japan and Bangladesh launched in 2014 by Japanese late Prime Minister Abe and Hasina. He said the operation of flight between Dhaka to Tokyo marking 50 years of diplomatic relations between Japan and Bangladesh will promote connectivity in the days to come. PM’s Ambassador-at-large Mohammad Ziauddin, PM’s Principal Secretary Ahmad Kaikaus and Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Ito Naoki were present among others.
Shaheed Noor Hossain Day will be observed on Thursday, commemorating the martyrdom of a young pro-democracy activist during the anti-Ershad movement in the late 80s. On November 10, 1987, Noor Hossain, a leader of Awami Jubo League, was killed in police firing when he had staged protests against the then autocratic rule of Gen HM Ershad at the capital’s zero point near Gulistan. The 26-year-old took to the streets with the slogan ‘Swairachar Nipat Jak, Gonotantra Mukti Pak’ (down with autocracy, let democracy be freed) inscribed in white on his chest and back. His death sparked a mass uprising that finally overthrew the Ershad regime. Different socio-political, cultural and professional organisations have chalked out elaborate programmes to observe the day with due reverence. Read more: Shaheed Noor Hossain Day on Wednesday Leaders and activists of different political parties, including Awami League and BNP, and their associate bodies will pay tributes to the martyr by placing wreaths at Noor Hossain Square in the city's Gulistan area in the morning. ‘Zero Point’ in the capital’s Gulistan area was renamed as ‘Noor Hossain Chattar’ (square) after the young man was gunned down in the area. On the eve of the day, President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages. President Hamid, in his message, said November 10 is an important day in the history of the movement for the restoration of democracy in Bangladesh. He recalled with respect all the martyrs, including Noor Hossain, who sacrificed their lives for democracy. In her message, PM Hasina said the country's democracy was restored through the sacrifice of the lives of many for the ouster of the dictator. She prayed for eternal peace for the departed souls of all martyrs, including Noor Hossain, and conveyed deep sympathy to the bereaved members of his family. BNP Acting Chairman Tarique Rahman and Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir also issued separate messages on the occasion recalling the supreme sacrifice of Noor Hossain for the restoration of democracy. In a statement, Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader urged all and the leaders and activists of Awami League and its associate bodies to mark the day with due respect.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Monday urged his party leaders and activists to prepare for 'more sacrifices' for making the current pro-democracy movement a success by ousting the Awami League government. Speaking at a discussion here he also said they will not retreat from the street agitation until their goal is achieved. "Our one point demand is the resignation of the government and Sheikh Hasina,” the BNP leader said. He said the state power has to be handed over to a caretaker government and then an election must be conducted under a new Election Commission so the country gets a genuinely elected government of the people. "We have already sacrificed a lot. Many of us are being arrested, jailed, and killed. We have to make more sacrifices,” Fakhrul told BNP rank and file. He said their party leaders and activists will have to move forward by making sacrifices to get back democracy, and people’s rights and protect the country’s independence. Read more: Police–BNP clash in Kishoreganj: 29 including 11 cops hurt “Let us take the oath on November 7 that we won’t go back home from the streets without achieving our goals, ensuring the fall of this government, restoring democracy and people's rights,” the BNP leader said. BNP arranged the discussion in front of its Nayapaltan central office, marking what the party said the ‘National Revolution and Solidarity Day'. Amid political turmoil, soldiers and civilians jointly freed then chief of army staff Ziaur Rahman from captivity in Dhaka cantonment on 7 November 1975, paving the way for his coming to power. BNP has long been observing the day as the National Revolution and Solidarity Day’. The BNP leader said November 7 is a very significant day for the nation as the country’s independence was consolidated for the second time on this day in 1975. “Soldiers and mass people created a new history by freeing proclaimer of independence Ziaur Rahman from captivity through their unprecedented revolution on this day.” He said this revolution also paved a new chapter of a truly democratic, happy and prosperous Bangladesh. “Our leader Ziaur Rahman united the entire undivided nation in just four years.” Fakhrul said Zia Introduced a free economy and multi-party democracy removing one-party rule, and restoring freedom of speech, freedom of expression, rights to freedom of assembly, and all fundamental rights in the country. He said Zia also showed the nation a new dream in a short period of time to stand as a strong nation. Speaking at the programme, BNP standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said Ziaur Rahman restored democracy and people’s rights by freeing the nation from one-party Baksal rule. Also read: Sylhet BNP politician stabbed to death “Awami League now again created a Baksal-like situation in the country by snatching people’s all rights and annihilating democracy. So, we take a vow on this day being imbued with the spirit of November 7 to restore democracy by ousting those who established Baksal.” Earlier in the day, senior BNP leaders and activists, led by Mirza Fakhrul, placed a wreath at Zia’s grave at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar around 11am. They also offered fateha there and a munajat seeking salvation of Zia’s departed soul. While BNP and its alliance partners celebrate November 7 as the National Revolution and Solidarity Day, the ruling Awami League and its front organisations consider it as the day of ‘Killing of freedom fighters”.
Accusing the government of turning Bangladesh into a crematorium, BNP leaders on Wednesday said that removing the ruling Awami League from power was the only option to restore democracy in the country. “We fought the War of Liberation for democracy. After 50 years of independence, we are fighting again for its restoration. It’s a big and tough struggle, and we must win it,” BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told a massive anti-government rally in Chattogram. “We have no other alternative but to win this battle. Either we’ll turn victorious, or we’ll die in this fight,” he told his supporters on Polo Ground in the city. He warned that if their current movement fails, democracy will vanish from the country and the nation’s existence will be at stake. “We want to get democracy and people’s rights back,” he said. As part of the party’s planned divisional programmes, Chattogram city unit BNP organised the rally in the port city where tens of thousands of their activists and leaders joined. Wednesday’s programme was the first divisional rally to denounce the ongoing power crisis, unusual price hikes of daily essentials and killing of five opposition activists in police firing in Bhola, Narayanganj, Munshiganj and Jashore during recent anti-government protests. The BNP on September 27 announced to hold public rallies in all divisional cities. The party will conclude the divisional rallies through a mass gathering in Dhaka city on December 10. On Wednesday, Mirza Fakhrul also accused the government of destroying the country’s economy and all the state institutions by indulging in corruption and plundering over the last 15 years. This monstrous regime of Awami League had turned Bangladesh into a crematorium. “They looted public money and laundered it abroad,” he said. Referring to the US sanctions on RAB, the BNP Secretary General said the sanctions should be imposed now on the government instead of the elite force. “Because the incidents of enforced disappearance and extrajudicial killing have been carried out at the behest of the government.” Fakhrul also said the United Nations and different international human rights agencies say that enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings take place in Bangladesh as the judiciary cannot function independently. About the Election Commission's recent meeting with deputy commissioners and superintendents of police, Fakhrul said police and bureaucrats such as DCs are least bothered about what the Election Commission says, as they only follow the instructions of the Prime Minister. "So, a credible election is not possible without a neutral government,” he said.. Noting that the current government is an unelected one, he said that it has no mandate to rule the country. “The people of the country didn’t accept this regime.” The BNP leader said people are going through serious ordeals as the prices of daily commodities have gone up abnormally Read:BNP rally going on amid tight security in Chattogram
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Tuesday strongly criticised foreigners talking about democracy and elections in Bangladesh – saying that there are “weaknesses” in democracy everywhere including in the USA. “There are good and bad sides of democracy in all the countries. It is not a perfect situation. It is a dynamic process. It’s an evolving process. Democracy gets mature through continuous efforts,” he said. Momen made the remarks during a media briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when his attention was sought to US Ambassador Peter Haas’ repeated comments on democracy in Bangladesh and the upcoming national election. Read:Brunei Sultan’s state visit to Bangladesh now scheduled for Oct 15-17 He said foreigners make comments when they are approached by the media here. “You should come to us instead of going to them (with questions).” The Foreign Minister said democracy in Bangladesh has “weaknesses” but the government is trying to see how those weaknesses can be rectified. “We do have weaknesses. But that does not mean that they have (US) the best. They have their own weaknesses,” he added. Momen said, “We are not a big power. Yet we have principles and values in this country. We remain vocal where we see any injustice. This is Bangladesh.” Referring to the 1971 War of Liberation, he said when genocide was taking place in this country, they (US) did not come close to Bangladesh and when genocide was taking place in Myanmar, nobody provided them shelter. “Who did it? It is Bengal. It is Bangladesh. Sheikh Hasina has the guts to open up the border on humanitarian considerations,” he continued. In his quite a long reply, Momen said Bangladesh is a leader in democracy and the people of this country gave blood in 1971. “We gave blood to establish democracy. Did you see anywhere in the world? For establishing democracy, we struggled when people’s voice was denied and when democratic rights were denied,” he said. Read:Rohingya Repatriation: Dhaka seeks more effective role from London Momen said the people of this country started the War of Independence for establishing democracy, justice and for human rights. “So, how much will others teach us? We still stand by democracy, human rights and justice.” About elections, Momen said the government does not want to see a single death during the election process. “The government is committed to holding a free, fair and transparent election. The government is committed to it,” Momen said, adding that Bangladesh Awami League came to power again and again through elections which “were known to be free and fair.”. He said they will try to ensure a free, fair and transparent election process. “It is better not to go to the foreigners.” Momen also said Sheikh Hasina also proved smooth transfer of responsibility. Momen described relatively very low vote casting in the US elections and lack of interest from the young people to come to politics. “Don’t they like your (US) democracy? Why don't young people come (forward)….you (journalists) should ask them those questions.”
Outgoing Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Kumar Doraiswami has said India wants Bangladesh to be happy, prosperous and successful in its democratic journey. “Your democracy is for you (Bangladeshis) to develop,” he told reporters at National Martyrs’ Memorial in Savar today. The Indian diplomat said he is not here to say that they will support this person or that person, noting that this is not a place to talk about politics. Read: Doraiswami: PM Hasina’s India visit "extremely successful" with "strong deliverables" “The relationship (Bangladesh-India) is strong….we will always stand with Bangladesh and the people of Bangladesh,” he said on his last day in Bangladesh. Doraiswami visited the memorial and paid tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice during the Liberation War of 1971. He observed a minute-long silence and signed the visitors’ book there after placing the wreath. “In everlasting memory of those who laid down their lives so that Bangladesh could live,” reads the message written on the wreath on behalf of the High Commissioner and all personnel. The diplomat said India's relationship with Bangladesh is now stronger with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's recent visit to India. Read: Under Sheikh Hasina’s leadership, India-Bangladesh ties will reach new heights: Doraiswami He said the people of Bangladesh are very good-hearted people. “As a result, I have performed my duties well in this country so far.” Doraiswami, who has been appointed as High Commissioner of India to the United Kingdom, is scheduled to leave Bangladesh tomorrow. Earlier at a farewell reception on Thursday evening, Doraiswami said Bangladesh-India relationship is like a “train” and that train must keep moving to do more great things together. Read "Bangladesh-India are connected through the heart" Doraiswami said people of Bangladesh and India are connected through souls and hearts, and it is stronger than blood ties. “We always have faith in that connection.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said without a free press, democracy cannot survive and without freedom of expression, there is no freedom. "On Democracy Day and every day, let us join forces to secure freedom and protect the rights of all people, everywhere," he said in a message marking the International Day of Democracy that falls on September 15. Today marks the 15th anniversary of the International Day of Democracy. "Yet across the world, democracy is backsliding," said the UN chief, adding that civic space is shrinking. He said distrust and disinformation are growing, and polarization is undermining democratic institutions. READ: Overseas aid cuts imperil SDGs: UN chief "Now is the time to raise the alarm. Now is the time to reaffirm that democracy, development, and human rights are interdependent and mutually reinforcing," Guterres said. Now is the time to stand up for the democratic principles of equality, inclusion, and solidarity, he said. "This year, we focus on a cornerstone of democratic societies – free, independent, and pluralistic media," Guterres said. Attempts to silence journalists are growing more brazen by the day – from verbal assault to online surveillance and legal harassment – especially against women journalists, he mentioned. Media workers face censorship, detention, physical violence, and even killings – often with impunity, said the UN chief. "Such dark paths inevitably lead to instability, injustice and worse," he mentioned
– BNP on Saturday voiced hope that as a friendly, neighbouring country India will support the people of Bangladesh to succeed in their struggle for democracy, just as they helped them gain independence during the Liberation War in 1971. Speaking at a rally in front of BNP’s Nayapaltan central office, party secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir also claimed that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina could not make any visible gain from her recent four-day India tour as India is no longer happy with Awami League (AL). “We certainly hope that India will also support the struggle of the people of Bangladesh for democracy and a democratic system since it helped us in the Liberation War in 1971. We also expect the same thing from all the democratic countries,” he said. Criticising the government for what he termed its repressive acts and failure to deliver, the BNP leader said the government cannot be given any more time to stay in power. “They (AL) don’t want time from the people of Bangladesh. Going to our neighbouring country India, they sought more time and steps so that they can stay in power for one more term. I would like to say it clearly that no one can do anything here without the support and love of the people of Bangladesh,” Fakhrul said. The BNP Dhaka south city unit’s Motijheel, Paltan and Shahjahanpur zone organised the rally in front of BNP’s Nayapaltan central office, protesting the increase in prices of essentials, fuel and transport fares and the killing of three leaders of its associate bodies. Fakhrul said their party wants to maintain friendship with all countries, including India: “We think that India is a friendly country to us.” Read: BNP to intensify movement in Dhaka city with 16 rallies in September He said they hoped that the Prime Minister would take steps to resolve the outstanding issues with India, including the sharing of waters of the Teesta and other common rivers and stopping border killings and reducing the trade gap during her visit. “They (PM and AL) also expected that India would give them everything, but it didn’t happen as India is also not happy with them.” He alleged that the current government has ruined the country’s economy by indulging in 'widespread' plundering and corruption. Referring to a report by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), he said, Tk75,000 crores were siphoned off abroad from Bangladesh last year. “They’re indulging in mega corruption in the name of mega projects. They’re looting from every project, but not doing anything for the common people. Most of the banks’ funds have now been depleted. So, our backs are pushed against the walls. We must wake up to remove this regime,” the BNP leader said. Stating that Awami League has long been in power by force, he said a strong unity of people is now mandatory to restore democracy and establish a government ‘of the people’ by ousting the current regime.
BNP on Friday recalled the sacrifice of slain Jubo Dal activist Raja Ahmed Shaon for democracy by holding a gayebana namaz-e-janaza in the capital. The gayebana janaza - funeral prayers in absence of the body- was held in front of BNP Nayapaltan central office after Juma prayers with the participation of several hundred leaders and activists of the party. In a brief address prior to the janaza, party secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said police shot dead Shaon in Narayanganj on Thursday after recently killing Noor-e-Alam and Abdur Rahim in Bhola in the same way. “We had programmes to mark BNP's founding anniversary, not against the government. But the government’s police force opened fire in many places across the country during our peaceful programmes. Shaon embraced martyrdom in Narayanganj,” he said. Read:Gunning down Shaon amounts to killing democracy: Fakhrul Stating that Shon sacrificed his life for the sake of democracy and the people’s rights, the BNP leader said it cannot go in vain. “His sacrifice will make us stronger and encourage us to intensify the struggle that we started for the restoration of democracy and (unconditional) release of our leader Begum Khaleda Zia. We’ll peacefully involve people of the country in this struggle and we’ll achieve victory through the movement on the streets,” he observed.