Live Correspondent: Speaker of Jatiya Sangsad Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury today pleaded for overcoming the prevalent crucial challenges of democracy in South Asia keeping in view the global
“Democracy should be given an institutional shape to ensure equal rights and dignity of human beings,” she told the inaugural session of a two-day international conference on “secularism, democracy and gender parity in South Asia” at Dhaka University (DU) Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban.
DU Vice-Chancellor Professor AAMS Arefin Siddique presided over the opening session while Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Harsh Vardhan Shringla joined it as special guest.
Professor of Jamia Millia Islamia University of India Dr Rezwan Kaiser and Professor of DU History Department Mesbah Kamal also addressed the function. Dhaka University (DU) and Research and Development Collective (RDC) are jointly organizing the conference.
The Speaker said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman used to say ‘secularism does not mean showing no respect for religion.
“The key principles of the politics of Bangabandhu are democracy, secularism, nationalism and socialism” she said adding that Bangladesh is marching ahead following the ideologies of Bangabandhu,
who in his entire life struggled for the welfare of the common people.
Shirin Sharmin said the Bangladesh government has been working restlessly for strengthening democratic base in the country as well as emphasizing on poverty alleviation, women empowerment
and socio-economic development.
“The government has already taken different initiatives to empower women at the grassroots and involve themselves in various income-generating ventures,” the Speaker said.
Indian high commissioner said democracy and secularism are two pre-requisites in establishing a progressive society.
He underscored the need for making united efforts for maintaining interreligious harmony, peace and stability in the South Asian region.
DU vice-chancellor said equal rights should be ensured for every citizen around the globe irrespective of religions, castes and creeds.
“Religion should be excluded from politics for establishing a society with secular and progressive ideologies,” Professor Siddique said.
He said Bangalees had fought in the War of Liberation in 1971 to establish interreligious harmony, peace, progress and stability in the South Asian countries. “Our education system also upholds secular and non-communal spirits” said Professor Siddique, also an academician.
On women development, the VC said despite their lots of development in every sphere, violence and repression against women have not yet stopped.
“Only education and changing of social outlook can free the womenfolk from the violence and repression,” he added. Academicians from host Bangladesh and India are participating in the two-day conference.
Dhaka// 28, Aug (campuslive24.com)// IH