Govt skirted provocation
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said the government was very cautious about avoiding any kind of war despite repeated provocations from a neighbouring country.
In an oblique reference to Myanmar, she said, "At one point, our very close neighbour showed such an attitude that there would be a war between us. I alerted our army, border guards and police so that they don't get confused because of any provocations under any circumstances and wait for my orders."
The PM was addressing a reception accorded to her on her return yesterday morning following a three-week visit to the United States and the United Kingdom.
The Awami League organised the programme at the VVIP lounge of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport for her achievements at the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Hasina, also president of the AL, had left Dhaka on September 17 to join the global event.
Apart from the party leaders, many senior leaders of the AL-led 14-party alliance as well as writers, journalists, artists, academicians, artistes, athletes and business leaders greeted the PM at the lounge.
From the reception, Hasina returned to the Gono Bhaban amid a warm welcome from thousands of her party leaders, activists and supporters who stood on both sides of the street -- from the airport to the official residence of the PM -- holding national flags, banners, placards, replicas of pigeons and portraits of Bangabandhu, Hasina and her son Sajeeb Wazed Joy. Many were playing drums. In response, Hasina waved at the crowd.
On the occasion, Hasina's portraits describing her as "mother of humanity" were hung on poles along the streets. Also, national, the AL and white flags were hoisted and patriotic songs were played through loudspeakers at some places.
Early in the morning, people started heading towards the airport in small processions, public transports and hired trucks and pick-ups to welcome the PM. Some of them were chanting a slogan -- "Bangladesh is blessed to have Sheikh Hasina".
Addressing the reception, the PM said Myanmar wanted to create a situation that could divert the world attention (from the Rohingya crisis).
"We're very much alert about that," UNB quoted her as saying.
She also said various quarters in the country were out to create a similar situation.
About Bangladesh's stance on giving shelter to the Rohingyas, Hasina said had Bangladesh not taken that stance it wouldn't have been possible to draw the attention of the international community like the way it has been.
"Now everyone is sympathetic, everyone is extending their hands and everyone is coming forward to help the Rohingyas."
The PM, however, thanked the Myanmar government for coming forward to start discussions over the issue. "I think this is a special aspect, I think, there's an international pressure [on them]...we'll be able to solve the problem gradually through discussions."
Turning to the installation of the first span of the Padma Bridge, Hasina said the bridge is no longer an imagination but a visible reality.
"It's the befitting reply to the false allegations of corruption and various conspiracies against my government and my family," she said.
Yesterday's mass reception led to a traffic chaos in the capital, causing sufferings to the commuters.
People had to remain stuck in jam for a long time on the major city streets in the morning as AL activists took position on Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue, Bijoy Sarani, Old Airport Road, Begum Rokeya Sarani and Mirpur Road.
Sayeed Chowdhury, a private job holder, said he was stuck inside a bus for nearly two hours since 7:45am on his way from Gulistan to Mohakhali. Later, he got down at Farmgate and walked to his destination.
"I had an urgent meeting at 9:30am in Mohakhali. It is already 10:00am and I am quite far away from my office," said the man who lives in Narayanganj.
Nurjahan Dipa, who works at a rights organisation, said she started at 8:00am from her home in Malibagh for her office in Banani.
She took a rickshaw as well as a CNG-run auto-rickshaw to avoid the jam, but in vain. In the end, Dipa had to walk quite a distance.
Those who attended yesterday's reception to the PM included senior journalists Rahat Khan, Golam Sarwar, Abed Khan, Manzurul Ahsan Bulbul, Bangladesh One-day captain Mashrafe Mortaza, artist Hashem Khan and singer Rezwana Choudhury Bannya.