Thursday, January 12, 2012

Honour at Tripura 'inspires' PM

Awarded Doctor of Literature (Honoris Causa) at the ninth convocation of Tripura University, prime minister Sheikh Hasina has said the honour would inspire and encourage her further in dedicating her life to serve the people.

Indian vice president Mohammad Hamid Ansari handed over the honorary degree to Hasina at a function held in the university on Thursday.

The university conferred the honour on Hasina in recognition of her "statesmanship, visionary leadership and resolute commitment to peace and democracy". She is the first foreign leader to receive an honorary DLitt from the university, established in 1987.

Hasina said she had learned the importance of secularism and the need to include all people, irrespective of their race or religion, from her father.

"The beliefs of Bangabandhu remain deeply embedded in my mind, and in my government," she said.

Referring to the peace model she presented at the 66th session of the UN General Assembly, Hasina said actual development depends on some interdependent factors.

These factors, she said, are poverty alleviation and eliminating disparity, reducing deprivation, bringing excluded people into the mainstream, accelerating human resources development, and rooting out terrorism.


She expressed heartfelt gratitude to the people of Tripura for their wholehearted support to Bangladesh's fight for independence in 1971.

She said: "As we touched down at Agartala airport last evening, a flush of emotion overwhelmed me. I recalled the tremendous sacrifices you made during our struggle for independence.

"As our hapless people streamed across the border with only their lives, starving and lost, they were welcomed by you with open arms. We vividly remember those tragic days and the love and support our people received from you."

Referring to the close historical, cultural, linguistic and traditional affinity between the people of Bangladesh and Tripura, she said, "This is why our people migrated en masse for refuge to Tripura during the horrifying days of 1971."

Hasina also recalled that the state was flooded with refugees that were more than its own population in 1971.

Presided over by chancellor of the university Prof Amiya Kumar Bagchi, the function was addressed, among others, by Bangladesh's foreign minister Dipu Moni, governor of Tripura Dr D Y Patil, chief minister of Tripura Manik Sarkar, Indian minister for HRD and science and ICT Kapil Sibal, and vice-chancellor of Tripura University Prof Arunoday Saha.

Earlier, Hasina unveiled the statue of Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore on the university campus, which was used as a refugee camp during Bangladesh's Liberation War.