PM Sheikh Hasina's address to nation marking Independence Day 2024


Published on March 26, 2024
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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina addressed the nation this evening on the occasion of the Independence Day 2024.

Her speech was aired on Bangladesh Television, Bangladesh Betar as well as private TV channels and radio stations.

The full text of the Prime Minister's speech is as follows:

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim

Dear Countrymen,

Assalamu Alaikum.

On the occasion of the Great Independence and National Day 2024, I extend greetings and Mubarakbad of the holy Ramadan to all citizens of Bangladesh living inside the country as well as abroad.

On this auspicious occasion of Independence Day, I remember with deep respect the greatest Bangalee of all times, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman under whose undisputed leadership and at the cost of his boundless self-sacrifice, we achieved our great independence.

I recall four national leaders - Syed Nazrul Islam, Tajuddin Ahmed, Captain M Mansur Ali and AHM Qamaruzzaman. I pay tributes to 30 lakh martyrs and two lakh violated mothers and sisters of the Liberation War. I salute the valiant freedom fighters with deep respect.

With profound sorrow, I recall all martyrs of August 15, 1975, including my mother Begum Fazilatunnesa Mujib, three brothers- Valiant Freedom Fighter Captain Sheikh Kamal, Valiant Freedom Fighter Lieutenant Sheikh Jamal, 10-year-old Sheikh Russel- Kamal and Jamal's newly married wives - Sultana Kamal and Rosy Jamal respectively, my uncle Valiant Freedom Fighter Sheikh Abu Naser, Valiant Freedom Fighter youth leader Sheikh Fazlul Haque Mani, Valiant Freedom Fighter Agriculture Minister Abdur Rab Serniabat, Brigadier Jamil and ASI of police Siddiqur Rahman who were killed by assassins.

I remember all martyrs who were killed in the democratic movements and struggles for realizing people's right to vote and food in the post 1975 period.

Dear Countrymen,

Bangladesh Awami League formed the government for the fourth time in a row and for the fifth time after 1975 by achieving an absolute majority in the 12th Jatiya Sangsad elections. At the same time, my party bestowed the great responsibility of prime minister upon me for the fifth time.

I shouldered this responsibility again and again as my duty to my countrymen as well as to further take ahead the work of building a Sonar Bangladesh as dreamt by my father, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur.

I tried to change the fortune of the common people of this country to bring smile on their faces with the support and cooperation of all. Today on the occasion of the 53rd anniversary of the Independence in the year 2024, I want to say firmly that we have been successful to a large extent to meet the expectations of the countrymen. This is not just a figure of speech. Today Bangladesh is a shining example in the developing world in terms of socio-economic development. We have proved that a country can be moved forward with limited resources through political determination and proper plans.

After the assassination of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib and most of his family members on August 15, 1975, the military rulers seized the state power down the barrel of a gun. Depriving the people of their basic rights, they established a dictatorship. All the activities taken by the father of the nation to rebuild the war-torn country came to a standstill. Instead of improving the fortunes of the people, the rulers became busy to change their own fortunes.

The long history of twenty one year's till 1996 was the history of oppression and deprivation of the people of this country. At that time, Bangladesh was branded as an dysfunctional and backward country by destroying the fundamental spirit of the struggle for freedom by infiltrating looting, corruption, distortion of history, fundamentalism and militancy in every level of society. Extreme poverty, hunger, premature death and lack of education, shelter and medical care were regular companions of the people of this country. Common people used to accept these deprivations as their fate. At that time, people were not allowed to realize that the government had responsibility and duty towards them.

Taking the charge of running the government after achieving victory in people's vote in 1996, Awami League started taking pro-people policies.

During the 1996-2001 term, we took the initiative to reach government services at the doorsteps of people through implementation of different welfare-oriented programme for farmers and old-age-allowance for landless and distressed people, allowances for distressed women and widows, disabled allowances, freedom fighter allowances, Ashrayan Project for homeless people, Amar Bari Amar Khamar Project, community clinic, eradication of illiteracy, expansion of science and technology education, construction of Bangabandhu Bridge over Jamuna river as well as massive infrastructural development. This was the first time when common people realized that they too have the right to get government services.

Dear Countrymen,

Bangladesh Awami League has been running the government for over fifteen years last by getting your mandate. This journey of fifteen years was not entirely easygoing.

Natural and man-made disasters, epidemics, wars, international instability and above all various conspiracies of domestic and foreign powers have repeatedly obstructed our path. Cyclones Aila and Sidr and several rounds of catastrophic floods had put a major impact on the livelihoods of people in coastal and low-lying areas.

Not only in our country, but also the economy of the entire world came to a standstill due to the coronavirus pandemic. No sooner had the crisis been overcome than Russia-Ukraine war began at the beginning of 2022.

Due to the imposing of economic sanctions and counter sanctions centering the war, developing countries like us has fallen in dire crisis.

As the production and marketing of daily products are disrupted, the normal transportation of these goods also gets hampered causing abnormal price hike of commodities.

In addition, the genocide carried out by Israeli forces on Palestinians in Gaza has been added at the end of the last year.

Apart from natural disasters, man-made calamities also caused huge sufferings to public life. During the 2013-14 and 2016 period, BNP-Jamaat enforced nationwide hartal and launched arson and atrocities including killing of many people, which also have deep impact on public mind still now.

Centering the 12th Jatiya Sangsad elections, BNP and its allies started carrying out terrorist activities like hartal-blockade and fire terrorism this time too. But this time they had to retreat in the face of people's resistance. However, several innocent people lost their lives and property worth Taka 100 crore was destroyed at their hands.

Braving these internal and international obstacles, we are making our best efforts to further accelerate the country's progress. It is known to all that Bangladesh has made an unprecedented transformation in the socio-economic sector in the last one and half decades. Bangladesh is marching forward facing internal and external blows.

Today visible changes are noticeable in all sectors including agriculture, industry, education, health, child and maternal mortality rate, poverty alleviation, infrastructural development and women empowerment. Bangladesh, once poverty-stricken, is now a capable emerging economy.

In 2021, Bangladesh has fulfilled all the conditions to be graduated to a developing country from the status of a least developed country. It is expected that Bangladesh will join the status of developing countries permanently by 2026.

Bangladesh is currently the 35th largest economy in the world. The poverty rate which was 41.5 percent in 2006 has declined to 18.7 percent and the extreme poverty rate declined to 5.6 percent from 25.1 percent. Today Bangladesh is self-sufficient in food production. At present, the amount of food grain production is about 4 crore 93 lakh metric tons. Bangladesh has risen to the third place in the world in rice, vegetable and onion production. Bangladesh is also self-sufficient in fish, meat, egg and vegetable production. Bangladesh ranks second in the growth rate of fish production from inland open water and Bangladesh ranks first among 11 hilsa producing countries. These successes in agriculture have come through continued policy support and incentives. The infant mortality rate has come down to 21 in per thousand and the maternal mortality rate declined to 161 in per lakh. The average human life expectancy has increased to 73 years.

Padma Bridge, Metro-rail in Dhaka, Elevated Expressway, Bangabandhu Tunnel beneath Karnaphuli River in Chattogram, Third Terminal at Shahjalal International Airport, opening of four or more lane highways with divisional cities, etc infrastructures brought a revolutionary change in the communication sector in recent years. Cent percent areas of the country have been brought under the electricity coverage.

Dear Countrymen,

On the occasion of this year's Ramadan month, we have made adequate stock of some products including sugar, gram, pulses and edible oil from much earlier.

Imports of 50,000 metric tons of onions and about similar amount of potatoes were allowed from India as none can earn excessive profits by creating a monopoly market.

Besides, since the beginning of Ramadan, fish, meat, eggs and milk are being sold in trucks at least 25 places in the capital Dhaka for the marginal population at cheap prices.

In the first phase, five products-rice, pulses, edible oil, sugar, gram and dates-are being distributed by TCB at reasonable prices for 1 crore cardholding families across the country.

In the second phase, six products - rice, pulses, edible oil, sugar, chickpeas and dates - are being distributed among cardholder families in Dhaka and surrounding areas. On the occasion of Eid, the government has given a special allocation of 1,00,628 metric tonnes of rice for 1,62,800 families across the country. Every family will get 10 kg of rice free.

We have, officially and on behalf of the party, discouraged organising iftar parties this year. The Awami League and all its affiliated organisations are distributing iftar items among the poor and needy people up to grassroots level.

The prices of some products, including dates, imported fruits, lemon, watermelon and onions were a bit high at the beginning of Ramadan. But, the prices of these products have come down to normal and tolerable levels within a few days. When the prices of goods increase, the commoners, especially the people with limited income, suffer a lot. We are trying our best to ease public suffering.

Dear Countrymen,

Since the birth of Bangladesh Awami League, it has been struggling to establish democracy, human rights and fundamental rights of people. As part of this struggle, Bangladesh was created under the leadership Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by getting rid of the oppression and oppression of Pakistan. To ensure the rights of common people, he formulated one of the best constitutions of the world inserting four principles - nationalism, socialism, democracy and secularism.

After 1975, when Ziaur Rahman seized power following the example of Ayub-Yahya, the Awami League was the first to come forward in the struggle of restoring democracy. In the next 21 years, hundreds of the Awami League leaders and activists shed their blood on the streets to establish democracy and the people's rights to vote and food. In 1981, when I returned home after six years in exile to fight for the rights to vote and food, I also had to risk my life and face imprisonment time and again. At least 19 armed attacks were carried out for killing me.

Bangladesh Awami League will never go in vein the democracy gained by the blood of hundreds of martyrs. As per the verdict of apex court, we have made the way of seizing the state power closed forever through constitutional amendment. All democratic parties and common people of the country have to play a role of vanguard to uphold democracy. We have to remember that our constitution is the ultimate safeguard to protect and uphold democracy. Bypassing or trampling on the constitution, there is any effort to do anything is to undermine democracy.

The Awami League government always governs the state by upholding the constitution. We have made Jatiya Sangsad the central point of all the activities of the state. Holding elections at all levels of local government, local level development has been ensured through public representatives.

My Beloved Countrymen,

For ages, this land of ours has been the target of colonial powers. At various times, foreign powers ruled this country under their control, looted our resources and exploited. Bangalees never enjoyed full freedom.

After 23 years of political struggle and nine-month armed liberation war under the leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Bangalee nation gained complete independence for the first time by forming an independent-sovereign state in 1971.

But, despite being unpleasant, it is true that the conspiracy to undermine our freedom-sovereignty and to foil the aspiration for economic liberation has not stopped even today. The conspirators are still trying to figure out how to halt the Bangladesh's advancement.

The defeated forces of 1971 and the assassins of 1975 and their allies are still out to avenge their defeat. They will strike once they get the chance. Their only obstacle is the Awami League. If Awami League can be undermined or weakened by deception, the rise of defeated forces is inevitable. So, be careful.

Bangalee is a nation of heroes. We have snatched away the freedom of this country through war. We are governing the country by following the foreign policy taken by the Father of the Nation - Friendship to all, malice to none. We have no lord but we have friends. So, the Bangalee nation will never tolerate anyone's blood-eyes. If necessary, the Bangalee nation will protect the independence-sovereignty-honour of the country in exchange of blood.

Dear Countrymen,

I am extending my thanks and gratitude to you for keeping trust in us again in the 12th Jatiya Sangsad elections. Our goal is to take ahead the development and progress we have made so far and build Bangladesh as a developed and prosperous Smart Bangladesh by 2041. That Bangladesh will be a hunger-poverty-free, non-communal Sonar Bangladesh as dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

On the 54th Independence Day, let us make united efforts to take forward the development and progress of Bangladesh by destroying all conspiracy nexus and evil designs.

Udoyer Pothe Shuni Kar Bani

Voy Nai Ore Voy Nai

Nisheshe Pran Je Koribe Dan

Khoy Nai Tar Khoy Nai

May Allah bless us all.

Heartiest greetings to you all again.

Khoda Hafez

Joy Bangla, Joy Bangabandhu

Long Live Bangladesh.