Hasina pays tributes on 50th anniversary of Bangabandhu's Homecoming Day

by IANS |

Dhaka, Jan 10 (IANS) Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday paid tributes on the 50th anniversary of Homecoming Day, which marks Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's return to the country in 1972 after spending months in a Pakistan jail.

She paid homage by placing wreaths at the portrait of her father at the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum in Dhaka, after which she stood in silence for a while.

The Prime Minister was accompanied by her younger sister Sheikh Rehana.

Following his return to Bangladesh, Rahman's first statement to the media was: "Gentlemen, as you can see, I am alive and well."

He was abducted by the Pakistan Army in the early hours of March 26, 1971 at the onset of Operation Searchlight, in an attempt to defeat Bangladesh's struggle for independence.

But Rahman's foresight in delegating responsibilities to his trusted deputies and faith in the people ensured they would not only wage one of the fiercest wars for independence, but also ensure victory.

After Bangabandhu was released on January 8, 1972, he wished to return to Dhaka immediately. But as Pakistani aircraft were banned in Indian airspace, Pakistan's new President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who had taken over from a disgraced General Yahya Khan, ordered that Rahman fly to Tehran or another 'neutral' location, not India.

He then decided to fly to London, where he addressed the world media in a sensational meet-and-greet at the Claridge's Hotel.

After a brief stopover in Delhi to thank then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for her assistance to the Bangladesh cause throughout the Liberation War, he finally returned home, where millions of people lined up the streets of Dhaka to welcome him.

Upon his return, Bangabandhu delivered a speech on January 10 at the Race Course (now Suhrawardy Udyan) outlining the principles upon which Bangladesh would function as a sovereign state.

"My Bangladesh is independent today, my life's desire has been fulfilled today, people of my Bengal have been liberated today. My Bengal will remain free.

"In my state, in this Bangladesh, there will be a socialist system. There will be democracy in this Bangladesh. Bangladesh will be a secular state.

"Together we will build a new and prosperous Bengal. The people of Bengal will be happy again, live life merrily and breathe freely in an open atmosphere," he had said.

The historic day will be observed across the country, but with Covid-19 protocols.

The ruling Awami League has arranged various programs.

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