Wellingborough Bangladeshi community marks the big day for homeland

More than 100 people from the Bangladeshi community gathered to celebrate their country's independence day.

Many Wellingborough Hindus attended the event at the Hindu Community Centre, in Highfield Road, yesterday.

It was organised by the Wellingborough branch of the Greater Sylhet Development Welfare Council, a nationwide charity working for the welfare of Sylheti Bangladeshi people living in the UK.

Visiting dignitaries included the Assistant High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Birmingham, and the welfare council's chairman Mohammed Manchab.

The speeches were then followed by traditional singing and a buffet.

Abdul Basit, 26, who lives in Brook Close, Wellingborough, with his wife and two young children said: "Bangladeshi Independence Day was actually on March 26, but we all have work commitments, and today was the most convenient day for our celebration.

"We tell our children all about independence day and our people's fight for independence from Pakistani rule.

"So many people died for our independence, and this event is to respect them. There is a strong sense of community among Bangldeshi people living in Wellingborough, but there are not that many of us, which is why this event is so important."

The event has been running for the past five years and Mr Basit says it is getting bigger every year.

Former Northampton borough councillor Yousuf Miah said: "Bangladesh is a small country, and it is one that is regularly faced with natural disasters.

"However, it is not a small country in terms of it's cultural identity and the determination of it's people.

"This event is to remember the thousands of people who died so that Banglasdeshi people could speak their own language."

Shamin Chowdhury, general secretary of the Greater Sylhet Development Welfare Council, said: "This event has been organised to let our young people know how we achieved independence from Pakistan in 1971.

"We would also like to thank the British Government for the role they played in helping us to achieve independence."

Assistant High Commissioner Khondoker Mostan Hossain said: "The people of Bangladesh have much to contribute to the future of our society."