Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday received the degree of Doctor of Literature (Honoris Causa) from Vice-President Hamid Ansari at the Tripura Central University campus in Agartala. K Anurag reports
She was offered the honorary degree by the university in recognition of her "great contribution to the protection of multicultural democracy and peace" in her country and in the sub-continent.
An emotional Hasina said her long cherished dream was fulfilled as she arrived in Tripura, "the pilgrimage of Bangladesh Liberation War".
Tripura was the 'war capital' during the Bangladesh liberation war in 1971, sheltering more than 15 lakh people from across the border.
"As we touched down at Agartala airport on Wednesday evening, a flush of emotions overwhelmed me as I recalled the tremendous sacrifices during our glorious struggle for independence," she said.
"I express my deep gratitude to the people of Tripura who gave us food, shelter and clothing and cared when the people of our country were subject of inhuman and barbaric torture in the hands of Pakistani army and migrated to this land.
"I was further amazed when I came to know that before this university was set up, this place was a training camp of the Bangladesh liberation soldiers," she said.
"Our freedom fighters also received training and support on this side of the border and eventually fought with our Indian friends to the final surrender of the occupation forces
and liberation of Bangladesh on December 16, 1971. How can we not remember with gratitude our friends in need in Tripura and India?" Hasina said.
Ansari, who was the chief guest at Thursday's programme, said, "We admire your courage, Prime Minister, in facing the threats of terrorism and extremism afflicting humanity, your advocacy of pluralism, moderation and tolerance, and the ambitious agenda of economic growth, welfare and social justice that you have planned for and implemented in Bangladesh."
Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said "the people of Tripura and the people of Bangladesh have always had close relations at socio-cultural level and these relations are being further strengthened."
Bangladesh Foreign Minister, Dipu Moni said Bangladesh and India have many issues which need to be resolved for development of both the countries.
"Bangladesh and India share a common language, common history of freedom movement and both the countries have established further closeness after Sheikh Hasina took over as
premier of the country," Minister for Human Resources, Kapil Sibal said. Among others, Chancellor of the university, Amiya Kumar Bagchi and Governor D Y Patil also spoke on the occasion.
(With inputs from PTI)