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POST TIME: 22 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Language breaks border barrier
Our Correspondent, Benapole

Language breaks border barrier

The venue was symbolic. After all, what could be better than the no-man’s land for a people speaking the same tongue but separated by an international border to come together to celebrate International Mother Language Day?

So, they arrived in hordes. Carrying banners, festoons, and placards, thousands of people from Bangladesh and India’s West Bengal state gathered at the no-man’s land in Benapole yesterday to attend the ‘Indo-Bangla Ekushey Milon Mela’.

A temporary Shaheed Minar was erected on the land to pay homage to the language martyrs. Distinguished guests from the neighbouring nations paid floral tribute at the monument. The border guards of the two nations greeted each other with flowers.The people of both countries donated blood on the occasion, to be used in the neighbouring country.

The Indian delegates included West Bengal food minister Jyotipriya Mallik, MP Mamata Thakur, MLAs Biswajit Das and Surajit Kumar Biswas, and Bongaon municipality chairman Shankar Adhya.

The Bangladesh side was represented by Awami League (AL) presidium member Pijush Kanti Bhattacharya and the AL’s Jessore district unit general secretary Shahin Chaklader. Benapole mayor Ashraful Alam Liton presided over the function.

Addressing the programme, Jyotipriya Mallick said: “I am here to respond to the call of my mother tongue. I am overwhelmed to see the people of both countries observing the day together. We don’t want the border and the fence. We want the people of the two sides to come and go freely. The Language Movement led to the freedom of Bangladesh.”

Addressing journalists later, Mallik said he believes that the two Banglas will become one in the next 20 years.

Indian author Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay said the people of this soil have set a rare example by sacrificing their lives for their mother tongue. He hoped that such gatherings would bring the people of the two neighbouring countries closer.

The nation will always remember the heroes who sacrificed their lives to establish Bangla as the state language, said Pijush Kanti Bhattacharya.