The first-ever ‘Sheikh Russel Day’ was observed in the country on Monday (October 18) marking the 58th birthday of Sheikh Russel, the youngest son of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Sheikh Russel, also the youngest brother of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, was born on October 18 in 1964 at Dhanmondi-32 in the capital. He was brutally killed along with most of his family members of Bangabandhu on August 15 in 1975 when he was a student of class four at University Laboratory School.
The Cabinet Division this year declared October 18 as Sheikh Russel Day. The Women and Children Affairs Ministry has been observing the ‘Sheikh Russel Day’ on October 18 since the last 10 to 12 years unofficially.
Various government bodies, ruling Awami League and its associate organisations, and different socio-cultural organisations have taken various programmes to observe the day across the country.
On this occasion, Awami League announced a two-day programme. The party paid rich tribute to Sheikh Russel by placing floral wreaths on his grave at Banani Graveyard in the capital in the morning on Monday.
The party’s central leaders led by its general secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader first paid tribute to Sheikh Russel. Then the ruling party leaders of Dhaka north and Dhaka south units and leaders from other associate bodies paid tributes to the youngest son of Bangabandhu.
Homage was also paid to other martyrs of August 15 by laying wreaths at their graves at Banani Graveyard. After paying the tributes, a special prayer (doya) and munajat were held.
As part of the two-day programme, a discussion meeting will be arranged at 3.30pm today (October 19) at the Awami League’s central office in the capital. Prime Minister and AL President Sheikh Hasina will join the event virtually.
The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Division has taken elaborate programmes, including placing wreaths at Sheikh Russel’s grave and portraits, launching ‘Sheikh Russel Gold Medal’, quiz competition, laptop distribution, and discussions, to observe the day.
Ten people, including children, were awarded the ‘Sheikh Russel Gold Medal’ for their outstanding contribution to the fields of education, fine arts, literacy and culture, sports, science, and technology.
Besides, 4,000 freelancers were provided with laptops under the Learning and earning Development Projects (LEDPP) for their outstanding performance.
Sheikh Russel Jatiya Shishu-Kishore Parishad arranged the award-giving ceremony under the supervision of the ICT Division at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in the city. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated and addressed the event from her official residence Ganobhaban.
To mark the day, the Bangladesh Shishu Academy arranged a book exhibition on Bangabandhu and the Liberation War. Wreaths were placed at the portrait of Bangabandhu in front of Bangabandhu Memorial Museum in the morning while children’s films were screened at Shishu Academy Auditorium at noon.
A milad and doa (prayer) were also offered at Shishu Academy Mosque at 1.45pm while a photo exhibition was arranged at Sheikh Russel Gallery of the academy at 2:00 pm.
Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) celebrated the day amid various programmes. On the occasion, Major General Md Nazrul Islam, executive chairman of BEPZA, along with high officials placed a floral wreath at the portrait of Sheikh Russel on BEPZA Complex premises in Dhaka. A discussion was also held marking the day.
The ‘Sheikh Russel Day’ was also observed at Bangladesh missions abroad while different dailies published special supplements highlighting the significance of the day.
The day was observed in different parts of the country. Savar Cantonment authorities observed the Sheikh Russel Day amid various programmes. On the occasion, ‘Sheikh Russel Smriti Inter Football Tournament’ was held at the cantonment as a part of the daylong programme. Mohammad Shaheenul Haque, GOC of 9th Infantry Division and Area Commander of Savar Area, participated in the closing ceremony of the tournament as the chief guest.
Discussion, painting competition and other programmes were also arranged at the Savar Cantonment, on the outskirts of the capital. The Cantonment authorities also set up Sheikh Russel Corner at all of their schools, colleges and other educational institutions.
Chattogram WASA arranged a discussion and milaf mahfil to mark the day. Its Managing Director, Engineer AKM Fazlullah, and other senior officials spoke on the occasion.
Marking the day, discussion, prize giving ceremony, cutting a cake, and offering prayers were held on Islamic University (IU) campus in Khustia. IU VC Prof Dr Shaikh Abdus Salam placed a floral wreath at the foundation stones of Sheikh Russell Hall on the campus.