Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said it must be ensured that Razakars, Al-Badrs, killers and those who distort history can never come to power.
"The country is marching forward and Inshallah the country will march forward," she said, pledging to build Bangladesh in the spirit of the Liberation War.
Hasina, also the ruling Awami League president, was addressing a rally at Suhrawardy Udyan as part of yesterday's nationwide celebrations for Unesco's recognition of March 7 Speech as a world documentary heritage on October 30.
In his historic speech on March 7, 1971, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had called on the freedom-loving Bangalees to wage a decisive struggle against the Pakistani rulers.
Yesterday's programmes, which included jubilant processions, essay and quiz competitions and screening of films on the war, were organised by the government in districts and upazilas across the country.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Cabinet Division asked all public servants to join the processions. Students and teachers of different schools and colleges in Dhaka also participated in the rally at Suhrawardy Udyan.
The daylong celebrations in the capital began around noon as a group of government employees, led by Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, placed wreaths at the portrait of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at his residence on Dhanmondi Road 32.
Holding banners, festoons and placards and chanting “Joy Bangla” and “Joy Bangabandhu” slogans, public servants, students and people from other professions started to throng Suhrawardy Udyan yesterday morning.
The historic speech played over loudspeakers from processions reverberated many areas of the city.
In her address, Hasina, daughter of Bangabandhu, recalled her memories of the speech and said it had a clear directive to the people to liberate the country.
"It was not merely a speech. It's the history of a nation as he [Bangabandhu] depicted 24 years of Pakistani oppression and called for building resistance against Pakistani rule [through it].
“In his address, Bangabandhu called for economic emancipation of the country. We will free Bangladesh of poverty and hunger as dreamt by the Father of the Nation. We will make Bangladesh a middle-income country by 2021 and a developed one by 2041 and this is the pledge from this civic rally.
“Standing here, I remember the historic day in 1971. I had the fortune of being here [Suhrawardy Udyan which was previously known as Race Course Maidan] on that day,” Hasina said and shared memories of her father and also her mother Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib.
After the assassination of Bangabandhu, the premier said, the speech was "banned" in the country.
"This speech never went on air through radio and television. Our leaders and activists had to face inhuman torture for playing this speech, many leaders and workers gave away their lives.”
Hasina said no one can erase history as real history always remains and this has been proven.
She also wanted to know the present condition of those who had "banned" the historic speech. "Where will they hide their faces after its recognition by Unesco?”
The PM said it is a matter of great regret for all that the anti-liberation forces not only killed the Father of the Nation, but also destroyed the ideal on which the Liberation War was waged and martyrs laid down their lives.
"They put Razakars, Al-Badrs and killers in state power... they distorted the country's history. They didn't allow me to return to the country,” she said.
“Once upon a time, Bangladesh was known as an extreme poverty- stricken nation. But now the country has created its position amid the global community as a dignified nation. Bangladesh is now a role model of development. When Awami League assumed the state power after 21 years, we worked with the ideology of the Father of the Nation,” she said.
Earlier, Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam gave the welcome address while Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury also spoke at the rally that began with the national anthem.