Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina put emphasis on stopping sectarian war among the Muslims, saying that it ultimately benefits the arms traders.
Calling upon the people of all faiths including Buddhists to work shoulder to shoulder in establishing Bangladesh as a dignified nation in the world, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said her government would ensure dignity of the people of all religions.
"Our aim is to build Bangladesh as a dignified nation in the world and we want you to work shoulder to shoulder to achieve this goal," she said.
The prime minister was addressing a view exchange meeting with the Buddhist religious leaders and distinguished persons of the community on the occasion of the Buddha Prurnima at her official Ganabhaban residence on Tuesday afternoon.
The Buddhist Religious Welfare Trust under the Ministry of Religious Affairs arranged the function.
Religious Affairs Minister Principal Matiur Rahman, State Minister for Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs Ministry Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing, MP, Sangha Nayak Suddhananda Mahathero, Upo Sanhga Raj Satyapriyo Mohathero, President of the CHT Bouddha Bhikhkhu Sangha Proggyananda Mahathero, Deputy Office Secretary of Bangladesh Awami League Barrister Biplab Barua, Director of Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardhy Medical College Hospital Dr Uttam Kumar Barua and Vice-Chairman of the Buddhist Welfare Trust Shupto Bhushan Barua spoke at the function. Trustee of Buddhist Religious Welfare Trust Dayal Kumar Barua delivered the welcome address.
Earlier, the Buddhist religious leaders greeted the prime minister by presenting a flower bouquet to her.
Sheikh Hasina also unveiled a brochure highlighting the activities of Buddhist Religious Welfare Trust.
The prime minister urged the people of all faiths including Buddhists to live in the country with equal dignity and said her government wants to develop Bangladesh involving all in the development process.
"Bangladesh is your country ... we want you to perform your religion with equal dignity and would move with equal dignity. We want development taking all with us, not excluding anybody," she said.
The prime minister also urged the people of all religions to work together to build Bangladesh as a hunger and poverty-free Sonar Bangla as dreamt by Bangabandhu
"We want to change the lot of all and build Bangladesh as a developed and prosperous country. Let's come to establish it as a hunger and poverty-free Sonar Bangla as dreamt by Bangabandhu," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said her government wants that the people of all faiths live together in the country by maintaining communal harmony. "We would ensure that the people of all faiths could move with dignity," she said.
She said her government is trying its best to assist the people of all faiths so that they could celebrate their festivals in a festive mood.
The premier reiterated her call to the people of all faiths, classes and professions to put up resistance against terrorism, militancy and drugs to build Bangladesh as a peaceful nation in South Asia.
"The people of the country are peace-loving and they want to live in this country with peace," she said, adding there won't be any room for corrupts, plunderers, and those who created terrorism and militancy in the country.
The prime minister said Bangladesh achieved its hard-earned independence as the people of all faiths -- Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Buddhists -- fought under the leadership of Bangabandhu.
"The aim of the independence was that the people of all faiths would lead a beautiful life and perform their religions peacefully," she said.
She regretted that Bangladesh's image was tainted during BNP-Jamaat alliance government from 2001-2006 when minority people were killed, attacked, tortured as well as their property and religious establishments were destroyed in many parts of the country under the patronage of the state.
Referring to the mindless violence and rampage of the BNP-Jamaat in 2013, 2014 and 2015, Sheikh Hasina said innocent people including women and children, buses, rails, trucks -- none were spared from their atrocities.
The premier said it was beyond imagination that a human being could burn to death another human being. "We do politics for the welfare of the people and interest and we want that burning people to death in the name of politics and movement no more happen in the country," she said.
The prime minister said her government's wants to take the country forward peacefully and with the non-communal spirit. "Our goal is socioeconomic development of the country where not a single one would remain homeless and nobody would suffer from diseases and would stay out of education," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said her government is developing the country in a planned way. "We are advancing the economy in a planned way and have made open the public sector and our economy is strong adequately ... as much as our economy would be strong, the poverty rate would be reduced to that extent," she said.
The prime minister said those who grabbed power through coup and conspiracy after the assassination of Bangabandhu didn't take any steps for changing the lot of the people. "They were only busy to change their own fate by corruption, looting and money laundering," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the lot of the people has changed when Awami League came to power. "The confidence and trust of the people were restored," she said.
The premier said the government wants that the people would move with confidence and trust and stand on their own feet. "As the government, we would ensure all facilities for them," she said.
Photo: Yeasin Kabir Joy
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