Myanmar should take lesson from Bangladesh’s religious harmony: PM


DHAKA, May 06, 2018 (BSS) – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today suggested Myanmar to take lesson from the prevailing religious harmony in Bangladesh.

“I think that Myanmar should take lesson from Bangladesh that how a country could be run by maintaining (traditional) religious harmony,” 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 here this afternoon.

Buddhist Religious Welfare Trust under the Ministry of Religious Affairs arranged the function.

Religious Affairs Minister Principal Matiur Rahman presided over the function, while State Minister for Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs Ministry Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing, Vice-Chairman of the Buddhist Welfare Trust Shupto Bhushan Barua, Deputy Office Secretary of Bangladesh Awami League Barrister Biplab Barua, Buddhist Sangha Nayak Suddhananda Mahathero, Upo Sangha Raj Satyapriyo Mohathero, Joint Secretary General of Swadhinata Chikitsak Parishad Uttam Kumar Barua, Dean of the European School of Law in London and Bangladesh Supreme Court lawyer Prashanta Bhushon Barua spoke on the occasion.

Trustee of the Buddhist Religious Welfare Trust Dayal Kumar Barua delivered the welcome address.

Earlier, the Buddhist religious leaders greeted the prime minister by presenting bouquets to her.

Vice-Chairman of the Budhist Welfare Trust Shupto Bhushan Barua presented a statue of the Lord Buddha to the prime minister, while Director of Shaheed Suhrawardhy Medical College Hospital and Joint Secretary General of Swadhinata Chikitsak Parishad Uttam Kumar Barua handed over an oil painting on Bangabandhu to the premier.

On behalf of the trust, Dayal Kumar Barua handed over a cheque for Taka 5 lakh to the prime minister for her relief and welfare fund for the assistance of forcibly displaced Rohingya people.

The prime minister said the rights of the Rohingya people to stay in their homeland will have to be protected and they should be given all sorts of facilities to live there.

“Myanmar is our next door neighbour where an inhuman repression took place on the Rohingyas and influx of so many Rohingyas happened that I was concerned about it,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said her government took immediate steps for giving shelter to the Rohingya people. “We could claim that we didn’t only give shelter to them, we’ve also taken proper steps so no clash or violence takes place there,” she said.

Reaffirmed that Bangladesh has given shelter to the Rohingyas on a humanitarian ground, the premier said as a neighbor, Bangladesh didn’t create any conflict with Myanmar.

“We’re continuing our efforts for solving the crisis thru’ discussion and all countries of the world are praising it,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said there is no place for clash or unrest in any religion, but it’s unfortunate that it takes place some time. “You’re the victims of such unrest,” she told the Buddhists citing the September 2012 incident in Ramu, Ukhia and Cox’s Bazar.

The prime minister said Bangabandhu had framed the constitution within nine months of independence incorporating the freedom of all religions and four principles including secularism.

In this connection, she said secularism means the people of all faiths will perform their religions freely and live with honour and dignity.

“Now we can claim that we’ve been able to create such environment in the country,” she said.

The prime minister urged the Buddhist to broaden their minds and live in the country with due rights. “You don’t consider yourselves as a minority community and you’ll have to think about the rights that this country and soil are yours,” she said.

“The mind is narrowed, if you narrow your mind. So you’ve to broaden your mind and it’s possible to move with liberally if the mind is broadened,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh achieved its hard-earned independence as the people of all faiths — Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Buddhists — fought shoulder to shoulder 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.

The prime minister also sought cooperation of the people of all faiths including the Buddhists to build Bangladesh as a hunger and poverty-free Sonar Bangla as dreamt by Bangabandhu. “We’ve firm belief that we will be able to achieve the goal,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh is progressing fast socioeconomically and now is a role model of development in the world.

“We’ve been graduated to a developing country from the least developed one,” she said and urged all to work for keeping up this success.

Extending her heartiest greetings to the people of the Buddhist community on the occasion of the Buddha Purnima, the prime minister called upon all to work together to ensure advancement of the country by following the non-violent message of Lord Buddha.

“We want to build Bangladesh as a hunger and poverty-free peaceful country in South Asia following the teachings of Lord Buddha,” she said.

Sheikh Hasina said Gautam Buddha, the proponent of Buddhism, used to foster equality, friendship, sacrifice, mercy and non-violence throughout his life.

“He preached the message of peace and would remain memorable forever for setting glorious examples of serving the distressed and doing welfare to them,” she said, adding that his teaching is still equally applicable to build an ideal and knowledge-based society.