Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called upon the nation to remain alert to 1975-like killings, coups and conspiracies that could hinder the country's prosperity.
"I urge the nation to stay alert to killings (like 1975), coups and conspiracies in Bangladesh that can impede country's progress and also against assignation of children," she said.
The prime minister made the call while opening the "Sheikh Russel Day" and distributed "Sheikh Russel Gold Medal" among the winners, marking the 57th birthday of Sheikh Russel, the youngest son of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, through video conferencing from her official Ganabhaban residence in the capital.
According to a BSS report, Sheikh Russel Jatiya Shishu-Kishore Parishad organised the function under direct supervision of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Division at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC).
The prime minister mentioned that the Father of the Nation had enacted a law in 1974 to ensure security for the children, saying, "How much unfortunate it was that his children had to die by the hand of killers."
Sheikh Hasina, the eldest sister of Sheikh Russel, said with an emotion-charged voice that the killers brutally assassinated Russel on August 15 in 1975 after killing his father, mother, brothers, and uncle as he wanted to go to his mother.
She questioned: "Why was the baby killed? What was his guilt? What was the guilt of others? Was it a crime to liberate the country?"
The prime minister said that her government has been trying to ensure that no such incidents would take place in the future.
Describing the children as "future of the coming days" she said, "I want everyone to perform their duties accordingly to give the children security, love and a beautiful and meaningful life."
Sheikh Hasina called upon the children to pay attention to study as nothing is as worthy as education.
"I just want to say to the children that do your study with attention because education is the most valuable asset which will never be lost, stolen or snatched away," she said.
The prime minister urged the guardians to encourage their children to study and take part in sports, cultural programmes and other extracurricular activities.
She said that the schools, colleges and universities across the country are gradually reopening after a long hiatus due to the Covid-19, urging all concerned to maintain health protocols to remain protected from the deadly virus.
Greeting the winners of various competitions, she said that giving a reward is a recognition which creates fresh spirit among the winners to do better in the future and create love and dutifulness towards the country.
The prime minister distributed "Sheikh Russel Gold Medal" among 10 children in five categories -- education, sports, science and technology, fine arts-literature-culture, and children with special needs --- for their outstanding contribution to the respective fields.
The awards include a medal weighing one tola of gold, a laptop and a certificate while prizes were also distributed among the winners of online quiz competition.
Besides, laptops are being distributed among 4000 freelancers out of 40,000 participants under the Learning and earning Development Projects (LEDPP) for their outstanding performance.
The prime minister also distributed prizes among the winners of the sports and cultural competitions across the country arranged by Sheikh Russel Jatiya Shishu-Kishore Parishad.
Read more: Sheikh Russel Day observed at BMDA
She also handed over prizes among the winners of roller skating competitions organised by Roller Skating Federation.
The prime minister also unveiled the cover of two books -- one titled "Sheikh Russell Jhore Jawa Phul (Sheikh Russel, a fallen flower) and another on "Sheikh Russel Deepta Joyullas, Adommo Attabishaws (Sheikh Russel radiant joy, indomitable confidence).
An Audio-visual presentation on the life of Sheikh Russel was screened and the theme song of the "Sheikh Russel Day" was also played at the function.
The nation, for the first time, is observing the day in a befitting manner, as the government had earlier announced October 18, the birthday of Sheikh Russel, as "Sheikh Russel Day" under the category "Ka".
The day is also being observed at Bangladesh missions abroad while different dailies published special supplements today highlighting the significance of the Day.
State Minister for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Zunaid Ahmed Palak presided over the function and it's Senior Secretary N M Zeaul Alam, spoke on the occasion.
Sheikh Russel Jatiya Shishu-Kishore Parishad Secretary General KM Shahidullah gave a welcome address and Afsa Zafar Srijeeta expressed her feelings on behalf of the children at the function while a parishad leader Barrister Jahangir Hossain Rani moderated it.
A Doa was also held at the function, seeking eternal peace of the departed souls of Sheikh Russel and other martyrs of August 15 in 1975.
The prime minister later witnessed a colourful cultural programme performed by artists of Sheikh Russel Jatiya Shishu-Kishore Parishad.
Sheikh Russel, the youngest son of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and also the youngest brother of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, was born on October 18 in 1964 at the historic Bangabandhu Bhaban at Dhanmondi road 32 in the city.
He was brutally assassinated along with most of his family members, including his father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, on August 15, 1975 when he was a student of class four at the University Laboratory.
To mark the day, government bodies, the ruling Awami League and its associate bodies, and different socio-cultural organisations have taken various programmes to observe the day at the national and international level.