High Commission of Sri Lanka in Dhaka celebrated Sri Lanka’s 66th Independence Day on 4th February 2014 with the participation of a large number of Sri Lankans and diplomatic community, prominent political and business leaders in Bangladesh in two separate events at the “Sri Lanka Residence” premises, coinciding with the Independence Day celebrations which were held in Kegalle, Sri Lanka under the patronage of President H.E Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The morning event of celebrations on the 4th February commenced with the High Commissioner H. E Mr.W.A Sarath Weragoda hoisting the National flag and a choir comprising of Sri Lankan children singing the National Anthem. Religious observances by Buddhist, Hindu Christian and Islamic faiths were conducted invoking blessings on Sri Lanka and its people. The audience observed a two minute silence in honor of all those who sacrifice their precious lives in the unity of Sri Lanka. A group Sri Lankan children, performed Jayamanagla Gatha and lighting of traditional oil lamp was performed in keeping with the age old Sri Lankan traditions. The Independence Day message of His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, the President of Sri Lanka was read in all three languages.
Addressing the Sri Lankan community, High Commissioner H.E. Mr. Sarath Weragoda said that Sri Lanka is poised to undertake a journey towards prosperity by forging greater national amity amongst all communities in Sri Lanka under the dynamic leadership of His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa. He stressed that the freedom gained with much strife, needs to be protected with loyalty and integrity. He further invited members of the Sri Lankan community to work together for the national unity and to contribute to the socio-economic progress of the country. At the conclusion of the ceremony, nearly 400 Sri Lankans who were present at the event were invited to enjoy a traditional breakfast spread which included kiribath and traditional sweetmeats.
The Mission hosted over 300 guests at a reception in the evening of the 4th February at the “Sri Lanka Residence” which included prominent politicians of Bangladesh, resident Ambassadors, members of the Diplomatic corps, high ranking Officers of the Government and Armed Forces of Bangladesh, members of the business community and other prominent personalities. Hon. Mr. Amir Hossain Amu, M.P.,Hon. Minister for Industries of the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh graced the event as the Chief Guest.
High Commissioner Weragoda in his remarks at the gathering recognized the strong relations between the Bangladesh and Sri Lanka as well as the positive strides of post conflict development made by the Government of Sri Lanka in the post conflict era. He expressed appreciation to the people of Bangladesh for their steadfast support in International platforms and urged further enhancement of existing bilateral ties.
The Chief Guest Hon. Minister of Industries, in his speech, recalled that the cordial relationship between two countries has existed over the years and expressed satisfaction of the ongoing dialogue between the two countries to strengthen cooperation in various areas, particularly in the fields of health, shipping and connectivity and economic activities.
The audience was able to witness a glimpse of Sri Lankan traditional dances when a group of Sri Lankan dances performed Sri Lankan traditional dances highlighting the rich cultural diversity of Sri Lanka.
Paper Supplement was published in the “Independent” a Bangladeshi English Daily newspaper in Bangladesh on the occasion of the 66th Independence Day by the High Commission and a special Souvenir was published to be disseminated among the Diplomatic Corps and distinguished invitees during the celebrations.
In a separate event on the 6th of February, the High Commission will host a Dinner – reception for nearly 300 Sri Lankans residing in Dhaka at the Official residence.