Terming the passage of the much-talked-about Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) by Indian Parliament as a great political success of her government, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said this decades-old problem has been solved as the Awami League government is in power, BSS reports. “We earlier solved the maritime boundary issue with India and Myanmar. This time we resolved the Land Boundary Agreement with India. It’s a great political achievement of the present government,” she said.
In this connection, Sheikh Hasina took a swipe at those who are playing a dual role in maintaining relations with neighbouring India, saying this type of people always scold Awami League as the “collaborators” of India, but they always remain bowed by holding their (India) feet. “These people staged Farakka Long March and scolded Awami League as “collaborators” of India. It is the reality that they are real collaborators as they outwardly rebuke India, but always remain bowed by holding their (India) feet covertly,” she said.
The Prime Minister was addressing a function at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agriculture University here this morning marking its 16th founding anniversary. Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid, Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haq, Krishibid Abdul Mannan, AFM Bahauddin Nasim, MP, and Zahid Ahsan Russel, MP, spoke at the function as special guests, while Vice-Chancellor of the university Prof Dr M Mahbubur Rahman was in the chair.
Earlier, Sheikh Hasina inaugurated Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Hall, Dr MA Wazed Mian Central Laboratory, Shaheed Ahsan Ullah Master Hall, Agriculture Faculty Building, Fisheries Faculty Building, Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science Faculty Building and Begum Sufia Kamal Auditorium. The Prime Minister also unveiled the name plaques of Dr LM Eisgruber Graduate Studies Faculty Building, Professor Yoshio Yamada Library Building, Shaheed Tajuddin Ahmad Hall, Ila Mitra Hall and Agriculturist Dr Kazi M Badruddoza Outdoor Centre and laid the foundation stone of Agriculture Economics and Rural Development Faculty Building.
The Indian Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha unanimously passed the historic bill on May 6 (Wednesday) and on May 7 (Thursday) respectively in line with the historic Mujib-Indira Agreement, 1974 and the protocol signed between Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Indian Premier Dr Manmohan Singh in September 2011. Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh realised the long-awaited rights of the enclave people by maintaining good relations with its neighbour.
The Prime Minister said that not a single MP of the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha opposed the passage of the LBA Bill. “This Bill was passed unanimously, this is a great achievement for Bangladesh,” she said. Highlighting the background for the initiative of passage of the LBA Bill, Sheikh Hasina said it was Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who first took initiatives after independence for settlement of decades-old boundary disputes between the two neighbouring countries. “Bangabandhu first took initiatives and did work for resolving the land boundary dispute with India,” she said.
The Prime Minister said that the matter was included in 1974’s Mujib-India treaty and Bangladesh ratified in parliament at that time. “But India could not ratify the treaty for their internal problems,” she said. But after the brutal assassination of Bangabandhu, Sheikh Hasina said, this process was stalled and no subsequent governments took any measures to this end. “The post-75 governments did not take any initiatives for resolving any pending issues with India whether it was Land Boundary Agreement or maritime boundary dispute,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the Awami League government after taking office in 1996 after long 21 years, took steps to resolve the pending problems with India and other neighbouring countries.
“But the process was stalled again when the BNP-Jamaat alliance government came to power in 2001,” she said. The Prime Minister noted that it was the Awami League government which resumed the process after coming back to power in 2009. “We resolved the two problems with India — one is Land Boundary Agreement and other is maritime boundary dispute,” she said.
Recalling the propaganda against the Mujib-Indira Treaty, she said that Awami League had to hear all the last 40 years that that the Treaty was a ‘treaty of slavery for 40 years’. “Now everyone will realise that it was a false propaganda against Awami League, now it is proved that Bangladesh was the gainer by that Treaty,” she said, adding that the LBA would not have been passed in Indian Parliament had the Awami League government not been in power.
In this regard, Sheikh Hasina said that when she visited India on January 10, 2010 a joint statement was issued and the matter of LBA was included in that joint statement. The Prime Minister said that when the then Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh came in Bangladesh on September 6-8, 2011 the government signed a protocol on LBA and solved the un-demarcated 6.5 km border area. Sheikh Hasina said that those, who are always busy to sketch stigma on AL saying that the party is the collaborator of India, always acted like the collaborators.
She said that the policy of Awami League is to live with heads high and still it maintains that policy strongly. In this connection, the Prime Minister noted that she extended her sincere thanks to the Indian Prime Minister, the Opposition Leader, foreign minister, and chief ministers of the concerned states over telephone for passage of the LBA in Indian Parliament.