Prime Minister and Leader of the House Sheikh Hasina on Sunday told the parliament that her government would put the worst hit areas by Covid-19 under lockdown to stop further spread of the lethal virus alongside taking effective measures to keep the wheels of economy turning so that no one dies from starvation.
"We have decided to bring the worst-hit areas by coronavirus under lockdown to check its further spread," she said while paying glowing tributes to deceased lawmaker Mohammed Nasim and State Minister for Religious Affairs Advocate Sheikh Md Abdullah taking part in a discussion on the obituary references at the death of two veteran leaders of the Awami League.
Mentioning that the fear arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic has reached terrible height, she said, "We couldn't allow the death of people from starvation due to panic.... We have to take measures so that their lives and livelihoods can continue.".
She said her government has been trying its best to make people understand the urgency of maintaining health guidelines properly to stem further spread of Covid-19.
Pointing out that deaths and infections by Covid-19 have come to an end after a certain stage in the developed and western countries including the USA, the premier said its wave has now reached South Asia.
She said, "Every country, rich or poor, is now facing similar situation due to the coronavirus."
The premier said the attack of Covid-19 came at a time when the country was progressing rapidly as the Awami League government was able to reduce the poverty rate to 20 percent from 40 percent and the GDP growth was also on the rise.
She hoped that her government would make Bangladesh poverty-and hunger-free as dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman after overcoming all the hurdles, including the Covid-19.
Noting that the entire world is now going through a crisis due to the invisible virus which none witnessed earlier, Sheikh Hasina, also President of the ruling Awami League said, "This is a war (for us). In such a time, we have lost two veterans (Mohammed Nasim and Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah) of the party who played significant roles in each of the democratic movements and struggles. It is a matter of sorrow to loss them."
In this context, the premier recalled some phone calls that requested her not to go to parliament in the current situation resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic and said she could not refrain herself from joining the parliament as she lost two of the frontline fighters of her party. She also mentioned that she has gone under many life threatening attacks of bullet, bombs and grenades.
The premier said Mohammed Nasim and Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah continued to work till their death for the betterment of the country and the people upholding the ideology of the Father of the Nation.
"Both of them always believed in non-communal spirit as well as peace and harmony," she added.
Regarding former minister and Awami League Presidium Member Mohammed Nasim, Sheikh Hasina said, "Mohammed Nasim Bhai (brother) was very efficient as a political leader. He always stood beside me since I was trying to reorganize the Awami League with members of the families of martyrs after my return to the country in 1986."
The premier also said that Mohammed Nasim was like his father, one of the four national leaders Shaheed Captain Mansur Ali, who worked for the welfare of the country and the nation being inspired with the ideology of the Father of the Nation.
She said that Nasim was very courageous and he faced everything with bravery for which he had to endure inhuman tortures by the governments of military dictators and Khaleda Zia.
The prime minister said Mohammed Nasim could have died in the jail as he had suffered a stroke when the government after 1/11 changeover tortured him inhumanly after his arrest.
She went on saying that luckily he (Nasim) survived as an ambulance which had been kept ready at the jail gate for Salman F Rahman took him to the hospital in due time, but one side of his body was paralysed.
Yet, Mohammad Nasim Bhai used to take part in each of the party's programmes although he was paralysed, she said, adding that he had a great role to reorganize the Awami League at the grassroots.
In this context, the premier said that he (Nasim) always liked to move together with others, adding, "So, I always give the responsibility of maintaining the alliance among the 14 parties. The leaders of other parties of the alliance also liked him very much."
Sheikh Hasina, however, requested the authorities concerned to make an amendment to the obituary reference as it did not mention that Mohammed Nasim was the chief whip of the opposition in the 1991 parliament.
About Awami League's religious affairs secretary and veteran of 1971 Liberation War Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, the premier said, "He looked after my constituency since I was elected a lawmaker."
"Since the Kawmi madrasa leaders were divided into several groups Abdullah and my former military secretary (Major General Mia Mohammad Zainul Abedin Bir Bikram) had been entrusted with the responsibility of holding talks with them regarding giving approval to the Kawmi madrasa certificate, formulating and passing of the law," she said.
Sheikh Hasina prayed for the eternal peace of the departed souls and conveyed profound sympathy to their bereaved families.
Mohammed Nasim passed away at Bangladesh Specialised Hospital at Shyamoli in Dhaka on Saturday morning at the age of 72 while Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah died of heart attack at Combined Military Hospital in Dhaka late at night on the same day.
Awami League lawmakers, Matia Chowdhury from Sherpur-2 constituency, Mrinal Kanti Das from Munshiganj-3 and Md Habibe Millat from Sirajganj-2 took part in the discussion on the obituary references adopted by the Jatiya Sangsad.
Jatiya Party (Ershad) lawmakers Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the parliament Ghulam Muhammed Quader from Lalmonirhat-3 constituency and Kazi Firoz Rashid from Dhaka-6 and Bangladesh Workers Party lawmaker Mustafa Lutfullah from Satkhira-1 also spoke on the obituary references.
A one-minute silence was observed and a munajat was offered seeking eternal peace of the departed souls. Deputy Speaker M Fazle Rabbi Miah conducted the munajat.
The day's business of the parliament was adjourned immediately after the adoption of the obituary references as per the rules of business as Mohammed Nasim was an incumbent member of parliament (MP).