Reiterating her firm determination of completing the ongoing trial of the war criminals, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina sought cooperation of women in the country for implementing the verdicts of the trials.
“We’ve started the trial of the war criminals, I want cooperation from the women of the country to implement the verdicts of these trials,” she said yesterday while distributing Begum Rokeya Padak-2013 at a function at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the city, marking the Begum Rokeya Day.
Recalling the role of women in the war of liberation, Hasina said over two lakh women lost their innocence in the hands of the Pakistani occupation forces and their local collaborators.
“The women also made tremendous contributions directly fighting in the war fields and helping the freedom fighters in different ways.”
Criticizing the opposition’s role of ‘putting barricade in the way of the trial’, she wondered if those putting such barricade do really believe in the country’s independence.
The Prime Minister requested the opposition to shun the politics of violence and destruction and instead engage in the politics of development.
“Today is the birthday of Begum Rokeya, but the opposition called hartal on this day. If she (Khaleda) shun this kind of politics we (Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia) could not be rebuked as ‘two ladies’,” she said.
Recalling her telephone conversation with the opposition leader, Hasina said it is known to all in what way the opposition leader talked to her. “I never heard such kind of words.”
The PM called upon the private individuals and organizations to come forward to supplement the government efforts for the development of the country’s women and also to ensure equal rights and opportunity for them.
She said though born and brought up in a conservative society of the 19th century, Begum Rokeya was the pioneer of women education and emancipation.
“Boldly facing all obstacles of a conservative society, Begum Rokeya felt that only education could ensure women’s self-respect, freedom and empowerment.
Hasina also said that Begum Rokeya had realized that the desired goal of development could not be possible unless women are involved in all activities in the family, society and the state.
In order to materialize the thoughts and spirit of Begum Rokeya, she said, the present government has been implementing various women development programs with special emphasis on ensuring the participation of women in all activities in the country.
The Prime Minister said that imbued with the teachings and ideals of Begum Rokeya her government has been working for the welfare and development of women.
In this regard, she mentioned the enactment of the National Women Development Policy-2011 and the Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act 2010.
She said massive steps have been taken to enhance skill and employment opportunities for women to establish them as entrepreneurs, ensure their massive participation in the labor market as well as to increase their economic power and taking substantial steps to prevent social crimes against women.
Hasina mentioned that female education has been made free up to higher secondary level and termed the massive increase of enrolment of girl students at primary schools a unique achievement of the government.
She also mentioned that paying respect to the great woman, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs is running the Begum Rokeya Agriculture Training Centre in Mymensingh and Begum Rokeya Workers Female Hostel in Dhaka.
Terming the achievement of MDG awards in 2010 in developing socio-economic development of the people, the Prime Minister said six of the eight MDGs are related to development of women and children.
Keeping all these in mind, her government has implemented various programs for the development of women as well as to ensure their empowerment, she said.
Besides, special emphasis has been given to the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper-PRSP on establishing gender equity and ensuring women empowerment, she added.
Hasina highlighted various programs for the welfare of poor women, saying her government has created hope and aspiration through undertaking programs like ‘One House One Farm’, VGD, Asrayan projects, Elderly and Maternity allowances, and also allowances for lactating mothers and widows.
About the empowerment of women, she said her government has created a unique example in the world as the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition and the Speaker of Jatiya Sangsad are all women.
Besides, female officers are now in many important positions in the civil service including administration and judiciary as well as in the armed forces, she said.
Earlier, the Prime Minister distributed Begum Rokeya Medals, 2013 to two erudite women for their outstanding contribution to the spread of female education, ensuring of human rights and immense work for the socio- economic development of rural people.
The recipients are Jharnadhara Chowdhury and Professor Hamida Banu.
Jharnadhara Chowdhury was born on 15th October 1938 at Lakshmipur district. She has been devoting her life since childhood for the cause of humanity, inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent creed. She is the chairperson of Gandhi Memorial High School. She has already achieved ‘Padmasri’ award from the Indian government.
Professor Hamida Banu was born on 23rd January 1940 in Chandpur district. She had been working as professor of Physics department at Chittagong University. She has successfully worked in many important positions including Bangladesh Public Service Commission. She has written many essays and research paper.
Presided over by Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Women and Children Affairs Ministry Begum Fazilatunnesa Indira, the function was also addressed, among others, by Secretary of the Ministry Tarik Ul Islam and Rokeya Medal recipient Prof Hamida Banu.
PM seeks coopn for implementing verdicts of war crimes trial