Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is on a two-day visit to Bangladesh, congratulated the neighbouring country on Friday for its 50th year of Independence and said that he too had gone to jail while protesting for Bangladesh's liberation.
"I was about 20-22 years old when along with some friends I had protested in favour of Bangladesh during its struggle. I even went to jail. Pakistan’s atrocities in Bangladesh are well known…the pictures didn’t allow me to sleep,” PM Modi said.
PM Modi also paid his respects to the Indian Army who fought for the freedom for Bangladesh. "They played a huge role in Bangladesh’s freedom struggle,” he said.
PM Modi also paid his respects to Bangladesh's Father of the Nation, 'Bangabandhu' Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Incidentally, it is his birth centenary. "I pay my respects to Bangabandhu. He gave his life for the people of Bangladesh," he said. "Bangabandhu Mujibur Rehman was a ray of hope. He made sure that no country could enslave Bangladesh. The efforts of PM Indira Gandhi in 1971 are also well known," he added.
"It is a happy coincidence that the 50 years of Independence of Bangladesh and 75 years of Independence of India have come together,” PM Modi further said. "The next 25 years are crucial for both India and Bangladesh. Our heritage is shared, our growth is shared, our targets and opportunities are also shared. While there are similar opportunities in trade and industry, there are similar challenges in terrorism," he added.
Meanwhile, PM Modi also presented the Gandhi Peace Prize 2020, being conferred by India upon Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, to his daughters - Premier Sheikh Hasina and her younger sister Sheikh Rehana.
PM Modi, who was wearing a 'Mujib Jacket' as a tribute, handed over the award, a citation, a plaque and a shawl to Prime Minister Hasina and her sister Rehana.
For the uninitiated, the Gandhi Peace Prize is an annual award instituted by the Government of India since 1995, the 125th birth anniversary commemoration year of Mahatma Gandhi. The award carries an amount of Rs 1 crore, a citation, plaque and an exquisite traditional handicraft/ handloom item.
Know about Sheikh Mujibur Rahman:
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was imprisoned in Pakistan when Bangladesh was born. Pakistan was forced to set him free on January 8, 1972.
He returned to Dhaka on January 10, 1972. He later took over as Prime Minister of Bangladesh but was assassinated by some military officers during a coup d'etat on August 15, 1975.
His wife, brother, sons and daughters-in-law were also assassinated along with him. Hasina and her sister Sheikh Rehana survived as they were in Europe.