Update September 6, 2020

Dhaka 11-07 pm, 24-September, 2020

Oversee mosque construction to check recurrence of N’ganj-like incident: PM

Mirajul Moin Joy

Describing the Narayanganj mosque blast as a very tragic incident, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday said it is essential to oversee whether mosques are constructed in the country maintaining the due designs and with permission from relevant authorities so that such incidents do not happen again.

“Now air-conditioners are being installed in the country’s mosques in an unplanned way or mosques are built anywhere [without planning]. Now it’s absolutely essential to see if the place is suitable to construct a structure or permission is taken from appropriate authorities or its design is formulated accordingly. Or else, such incidents (like Narayanganj mosque blast) might recur anytime,” she told Parliament.

The Prime Minister said this joining the discussion on a condolence motion brought in the House expressing profound shock at the demise of two sitting MPs –-Advocate Sahara Khatun and Israfil Alam— as well as former President of India Pranab Mukherjee and some other personalities.

Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury moved the condolence motion in the House at the beginning of the 9th session of the 11th parliament. Later, the House unanimously adopted the condolence motion.

Sheikh Hasina said the government has already formed a committee to ascertain the reason why the deadly blast in the Naryanganj mosque took place.

“Now it’s being investigated to find out how and why this incident happened. I would like to say it (the reason) will definitely be unearthed.” she added.

The Prime Minister said she has already instructed the Cabinet Secretary and the electricity and gas authorities to identify the reasons behind the incident.

She said the government has taken all the necessary measures for the treatment of those injured in the deadly blast.

She prayed for the salvation of the departed souls, expressed deep sympathy to the bereaved family members and wished speedy recovery of the injured

Mentioning that six air-conditioners were installed in a tiny place (the mosque) and it is said that the mosque was constructed over a gas pipeline, Sheikh Hasina said. “Has the Rajuk given the permission (for the construction of the mosque over a gas pipeline)? It (such permission) shouldn’t have been given because there is always a risk. Now it’ll be investigated.”

Recalling the valiant role of Sahara Khatun during the 2009 BDR mutiny, the Prime Minister said the incident occurred within 52 days after Awami League formed the government in 2009 and those who could not come to power at that time were behind the mutiny.

Noting that BNP and some other quarters spread many rumours many times over the BDR mutiny, she said, “We’d just formed the government. It has no point that we, forming the government, can carry out such an incident that would create an abnormal situation in the country.”

Among the army officers killed in the BDR mutiny, 33 belonged to Awami League-minded families, she said.

Hasina said when Awami League came to power with majority in the 2008 general election, those who had made ill-efforts to thwart all things carried out this incident. “Truth must come out one day.”

She said Sahara Khatun went to Philkhana risking her life to receive the arms surrendered by the mutineers and rescue the stranded officers and their families. “We saw her courage during the BDR mutiny.”

Sheikh Hasina, also Awami League President, said AL presidium member Sahara Khatun was a very simple and honest person and was dedicated to the party as she always played a bold role in every movement and struggle.

About Israfil Alam, the Prime Minister said he was very brilliant. “We thought he would be a good parliamentarian in the future. We lost a good parliamentarian of the future (at his death),” she said.

Recalling Pranab Mukherjee, Hasina said he was a true friend of Bangladesh and always stood beside Bangladesh and for the wellbeing of its people.

When she and her sister had to stay in India as refugees, Hasina said they got the feeling of a family and dear ones from the family of Pranab Mukherjee.

Alongside the Prime Minister, a number of MPs across the board joined the discussion.

Following the tradition, the day’s business was postponed after the adoption of the condolence motion over the death of sitting Awami League MPs – former minister Sahara Khatun and Israfil Alam– elected from Dhaka-18 and Naogaon-6 constituencies respectively.

The House also expressed deep shock at the death of 15 former MPs, including three former ministers –valiant freedom fighter Shahjahan Siraj (MP elected from Tangail-4 in the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th Parliament), Lt Col (retd) HMA Gaffar Bir Uttam (MP from Khulna-5 in the 3rd and 4th Parliament) and Abul Kashem (MP from Dhaka-16 in the 2nd Parliament).

The former 15 MPs also include two former state ministers — Abdul Mannan (MP from Dhaka-2 in 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th Parliament) and TM Giasuddin (MP from Shariatpur-2 in 3rd and 4th Parliament)—and one ex-whip Md Ashraf Hossain (MP from Khulna-3 in 2nd, 5th, 6th and 8th Parliament).

The remaining ex-MPs are valiant freedom fighter Azizur Rahman (MP elected from Moulvibazar-3 in 3rd and 5th Parliament), valiant freedom fighter Prof ANM Nazrul Islam (Mymensingh-6 in the 1st Parliament), Sheikh Md Nurul Haque (Khulna-6 in 7th and 10th Parliament), ATM Alamgir (Cumilla-10 in 5th and 6th Parliament), Sultan Uddin Bhuiyan (Narayanganj-1 in 3rd and 4th Parliament), Dr Shahjahan Ali Talukdar (Bogura-5 in 4th Parliament), Group Captain (Retd) Saiful Azam (Pabna-3 in 5th and 6th Parliament), Kamruddin Yahyeah Khan Majlish (Sirajganj-6 in 5th and 6th Parliament) and Engr Shamsuddin Ahmed (Mymensingh-6 in 6th and 8th Parliament).

Parliament condoled the death of noted personalities, including two sector commanders in the Liberation War –-Maj Gen (retd) Chitta Ranjan Dutta (Sector-4 Commander and founding president of Bangladesh Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Oikya Parishad) and Lt Col (retd) Abu Osman Chowdhury ( Sector-8 Commander)—and first elected mayor of the Sylhet City Corporation Badar Uddin Ahmed Kamran.

The noted personalities also include Defence Secretary Abdullah Al Mohsin Chowdhury, former law and justice secretary Abu Saleh Sheikh Md Jahirul Huq Dulal, Legislative and Parliamentary affairs secretary Naren Das, eminent artist Murtaja Baseer, renowned journalist and cultural personality Kamal Lohani and noted journalist and litterateur Rahat Khan.

Besides, the Jatiya Sangsad expressed deep shock at the loss of lives in the mosque blast in Narayanganj, the Beirut explosion in Lebanon, the Kerala plane crash in India, as well as the Covid-19 pandemic and different accidents both at home and abroad.

A one-minute silence was observed and a munajat offered seeking eternal peace for the departed souls.

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