An emergency worker carries a child, wounded in an Israeli air strike on the Sheikh Radwan neighbourhood in Gaza, at the city's Al-Shifa hospital yesterday. Israeli warplanes struck targets across Gaza in retaliation to rocket fire after a 72-hour truce expired. Photo: AFP
Strongly condemning the killings in Gaza by Israelis, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday came down heavily again on the developed nations and the human rights organisations at home and abroad for their silence over the offensive.
"I am stunned to see the world conscience remain silent. When one incident of death occurs here (Bangladesh), we receive letters from so many congressmen with protests and criticisms. Today, hundreds of children and women, including expecting mothers, are being killed with bullets… why their conscience is silent," she questioned.
The prime minister was speaking at a function organised by women and children affairs ministry at Osmani Memorial Auditorium marking the 84th birth anniversary of Begum Fazilatunnesa Mujib, the wife of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who was killed along with most of her family members, including Bangabandhu, on the fateful night of August 15, 1975.
Chaired by the State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Meher Afroz Chumki, the function was addressed, among others, by Dhaka University Vice-Chancellor AAMS Arefin Siddique, Chairman of Jatiya Mahila Sangstha Momtaj Begum and Bangladesh Shishu Academy Chairperson Selina Hossain.
The premier also took a further dig at the 'civilized world', saying, "Why the people, who claim themselves as civilised ones, are silent now?"
Pointing finger at the country's human rights organisations, Hasina said these organisations often run to the hill tracts, islands and here and there in case of any trivial incident. "Where are they now, why are their voices missing?" she asked.
She requested the Mahila Awami League and other women organisations of the country to strongly raise their voice against the killing of women and children.
"When there is any such incident anywhere in the world, I'll request you to raise your voice … though these incidents are not taking place here in Bangladesh, there shouldn't be any complacence that we are safe," she said.
Briefly describing the role of Fazilatunnesa, the prime minister said the killers of August 15, 1975 knew about her courage and organisational capacity. "That's why they didn't spare my mother," she said.
Earlier, a documentary on Begum Fazilatunnesa Mujib was also shown in the programme sketching the life of the wife of the Father of the Nation.