National, Front Page

Spend money for food, children, not for arms

PM urges world leaders

Published : 18 Oct 2023 10:22 PM

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged the world leaders to spend the money, used in producing arms, for food, health and development of the children.

She said war and arms race never brought welfare for the mankind except destruction and the women and children are the worst sufferers of the conflicts.

"We want peace as it gives prosperity while the war brings destruction. So, we don't want war rather peace. We always work for establishing the peace," she said.

She also said the world witnessed beginning of Russia-Ukraine war last year and now sees the Israeli attack on Palestine.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also denounced the attack on a hospital in Gaza that killed innocent people including children, reiterating her call to global leaders to stop the war and arms race for the wellbeing of mankind.

"We saw killing of people and children by bombing on a hospital in Gaza and blood stained faces of the children yesterday. I am urging the world leaders to stop the war and arms race," she said.

The prime minister was addressing a programme marking the Sheikh Russel Day-2023 and distribution of Sheikh Russel Padak-2023 and Smart Bangladesh Padak-2023 coinciding with 60th birthday of Sheikh Russel, the youngest son of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Sheikh Russel Jatiyo Shishu Kishore Parishad and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Division jointly organized the programme at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) here.

People and children are being killed both in the Palestine and Israel, the premier said.

In such way, she said the children are becoming orphans losing their parents and the parents are losing their children in the war. 

"We know their pain as we two sisters had become orphans in 1975," she said.

The prime minister said they had seen the dreadfulness of the war for themselves during the War of Liberation in 1971.

"I had seen by my own eyes the bodies lying down at different parts of Dhaka city," she said.

She said she and her younger sister Sheikh Rehana were in forced exile abroad six years.

"Spending time as refugee, without knowing when we could return to our country, was the most painful. So, we don't want war rather peace" she said.

At the function, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Chowdhury Abdullah Al Mamun and five Deputy Commissioners (DCs) from Chattogram, Cox's Bazar, Dhaka, Panchagar and Thakurgaon districts received the Smart Bangladesh Padak-2023 from the premier.

Sheikh Hasina also distributed Sheikh Russel awards among the winners of the competitions in different categories including education, painting, sports and cultural.

At the same programme, the prime minister also inaugurated and laid foundation stone of some development schemes including Sheikh Russel Animation Lab and Sheikh Kamal IT Training and Incubation Centers under the ICT Division by swiping a smart card.

She, as well, unveiled the cover of a book titled "Swaroner Aborone Sheikh Russel" edited by ICT Division State Minister Zunaid Ahmed Palak.

A video message regarding Sheikh Russel's memory of Indian Army's Col (rtd) Ashok Kuma Tara was broadcast at the programme. Tara rescued the family members of Bangladesh's Father of the Nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman from the captivity of the Pakistani occupation forces.

Presided over by ICT Division's State Minister Zunaid Ahmed Palak, the programme was also addressed, among others, by ICT Division Secretary

Md. Shamsul Arefin, Sheikh Russel Jatiyo Shishu Kishore Parishad Acting Chairman Chowdhury Nafeez Sarafat, Secretary General KM Shahidullah, Organising Secretary Fariduddin Ahmed Raton and child speaker Amira Nayer Chowdhury.

The trailer of the three-dimensional animation film 'Amader Chhoto Russel Sona' based on Sheikh Russel's life, written by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was screened on the occasion.

An audio-visual documentary on the life sketch of Sheikh Russel by the ICT Division was also screened while a theme song of Sheikh Russel Day-2023 was also played at the function.

Sheikh Russel Day is being observed in the country today in a befitting manner coinciding with the 60th birthday of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's youngest son Shaheed Sheikh Russel. 

Russel, also the youngest brother of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, was born on October 18 in 1964 at the historic Bangabandhu Bhaban at Dhanmondi road number 32 in the capital.

But he was brutally assassinated along with most of his family members, including his father Bangabandhu, on August 15, 1975 when he was a student of class four at University Laboratory School.

The Cabinet Division in 2021 declared October 18, the birthday of Sheikh Russel, as 'Sheikh Russel Day' under the category "Ka".

To mark the day, government bodies, ruling Awami League and its associate bodies and different socio-cultural organizations observe various programmes at national and international levels.

Sheikh Hasina asked the children to study attentively to be the country's worthy citizens.

"We want the children to flourish themselves with the mentality of 'human for human'," she said.

The prime minister advised the children to obey their parents and senior citizens.

"Keep in mind that money and properties will not remain, but the education will stay and the education is the main power," she said.

She also said that she herself and her younger sister Sheikh Rehana raised their children with this motto.

The premier said their children are now working for the welfare of the country and its people from behind after taking higher degrees from abroad.

"The students would have the ambition of becoming worthy citizens of the country and they will have to keep them away from the militancy, terrorism and drugs. Then they will prosper in life," she said.

The prime minister said they have made digital Bangladesh and is working to turn the country into Smart Bangladesh by 2041.

"We have made Digital Bangladesh today and will build Smart Bangladesh tomorrow and the children will run the Smart Bangladesh in future," she said.

Referring to the brutal killing of her youngest brother Sheikh Russel along with most of his family members, Sheikh Hasina said, "We don't want such injustice to happen again in Bangladesh." 

She said Russel was growing up without getting love and affection of father as his father Bangabandhu was arrested time and again by the then Pakistani ruler.

"The little Russel went to jail (with us to meet our father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman). But, he did not want to back home. We got chance twice in a week (to meet our father in jail). He used to spend the whole night with crying, but he could not say something as he was only one and a half years old," she said.

Even, his father Bangabandhu was not present at the time of his (Russel) birth as the Father of the Nation then was in Chattogram for the presidential polls campaign, she added. 

The prime minister said Russel wanted to be an army officer, but his dream did not come true as he was brutally killed on August 15 in 1975.