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Bangladesh begins special parliament session to mark Bangabandhu’s birth centenary

  • Sajidul Haque, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2020-11-08 21:43:22 BdST

Bangladesh’s parliament has kicked off a special session to mark the birth centenary of independence hero Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

The session of the 11th National Parliament began at 6pm on Sunday with Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in the chair.

This is the first time a parliament session is being held with Bangabandhu’s image in the House as ordered by the High Court.

Earlier, the parliament went into special sittings on two occasions, when Bangabandhu was alive, on Jan 31 and Jun 18 in 1974 for addresses by former Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito and the then Indian president Varahagiri Venkata Giri.

The ongoing session is the first full special session with bills being tabled

World leaders were also supposed to be invited to the special session this year, but the plan was scuppered by the coronavirus pandemic.

President Md Abdul Hamid will convene the discussions on Bangabandhu’s political life, work and ideals among other issues related to him with a commemorative speech on Monday evening.

The discussions will continue until Nov 12 and a motion will be passed on the president’s address.

Before the president’s address, a video of Bangabandhu’s speech after his homecoming on Jan 10, 1972 will be displayed.

Parliament has also taken a raft of other programmes to celebrate the momentous occasion. The events include planting of tree saplings, launch of Mujib Year website, commemorative stamp and a book on Bangabandhu in parliament, celebration of Constitution Day on Nov 4, month-long photo and documentary exhibition, and a children’s fair.

A select group of MPs were allowed in parliament in the three sessions held amid the coronavirus outbreak.

But all of them will attend the special session on the opening day upon undergoing COVID-19 tests.

Parliament Secretariat officials’ access has also been restricted while no journalist has been allowed in during the special session.

Parliament’s Business Advisory Committee decided to hold the session as part of year-long celebrations surrounding Bangabandhu’s birth centenary.

Originally scheduled for Mar 22-23, the session had been postponed after the coronavirus outbreak struck Bangladesh.

Speaker Shirin apologised to those who had been supposed to be invited to the session.

The MPs passed a condolence motion on the people who died from coronavirus infection.

They also mourned former Gano Parishad member Syed AKM Emdadul Bari, former state minister AKM Mosharraf Hossain, former MPs, Mamtaz Begum, Nurul Islam, Khandaker Golam Mostafa and Shamsul Haque Talukder.

They also condoled the death of Mahbubey Alam, the longest-serving attorney general, senior counsel Rafique-Ul Huq, Hifazat-e Islam chief Shah Ahmed Shafi, author Rashid Haider, journalist Abul Hasnat, and Liberation War Museum Trustee Ziauddin Tariq Ali.

THE FIRST LEADER OF PARLIAMENT

Bangabandhu, who waged a life-long struggle for independence and democratic rights, spoke about his views on the parliamentary system in the first sessions.

The building, currently used as the Prime Minister’s Office, was the legislature at the time.

Young Sheikh Mujibur Rahman took charge as the joint general secretary in 1949 when Awami Muslim League was formed shortly after the birth of Pakistan in 1947.

He gradually became the leader of the people of East Bengal in the turns of events.

Sheikh Mujib, leading Bengali’s freedom movement from the front, had to go to jail frequently. He was given the Bangabandhu title by students later.

Bangladesh became independent through the bloody war of liberation in 1971 after a number of movements.

After release from Pakistan’s prison, Bangabandhu returned home on Jan 10, 1972 and began the mammoth task of rebuilding the war-ravaged country.

First the constitution was formulated through Gana Parishad. Parliament was formed following an election in line with the constitution.

The Awami League won 293 seats in that election while the independent candidates won five out of the seven seats. The JaSod won one and Bangladesh National League the other. Parliament had no leader of the opposition at that time.

While congratulating the speaker and deputy speaker on the first day of the First National Parliament’s first session, Bangabandhu said, “There cannot be any flaw in the history we have created. We want to comply with the principles of parliamentary conventions across the world. We have to maintain such a parliamentary procedure so that the world can take lessons from us.”

He also expressed his emotions about parliament while speaking after the passage of the fourth constitutional amendment on Jan 25, 1975.

“You have made me president by amending the constitution though I did not lack power. You gave me all the powers as prime minister. I have the two-thirds majority I need. I have all the members except for seven. But you have made me president through the amendment,” he said.

“It’s no less sorrowful for me that I will not sit here with you in this House anymore,” Bangabandhu added.

[Source: Bangladesh Jatiya Sangsade Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Edited by Sheikh Hasina and Baby Maudud, Agami Prokashoni]