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Marking Bangladesh Independence Day

South Shields Town Hall has hosted members of the Borough's Bangladeshi community and raised the Bangladesh flag to mark the country's 51st anniversary of independence.

Saturday 26 March commemorated Bangladesh's declaration of independence from Pakistan. The day is seen as a memorial to the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians who died in the Bangladesh Liberation War.

To mark the occasion, the Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside, Councillor Pat Hay and Mrs Jean Copp, held a special reception at South Shields Town Hall for members of the local Bangladeshi community.

The town hall also flew the Bangladesh flag on 26 March, when the Mayor and Mayoress were also guests of the Assistant High Commissioner of Bangladesh, Kazi Ziaul Hasan, at a special Independence and National Day reception in Manchester over the weekend.

The Mayor said: "The Mayoress and I were delighted to host some of the members of our Bangladeshi community in our beautiful town hall and to join the Assistant High Commissioner of Bangladesh for celebrations in Manchester.

"We have a thriving Bangladeshi population in South Tyneside and, along with other ethnic groups, they play an important part in strengthening the diversity of the Borough.

"It is only right we recognise the importance of this day to our Bangladeshi residents and celebrate the valuable contribution the Bangladeshi community makes to South Tyneside.

"The community is a huge part of our rich cultural heritage. We were proud to fly their nation's flag to mark the anniversary of this significant occasion in world history."

Habibur Rahman Rana, Chair of the Bangladeshi Welfare Association in South Tyneside, said: "It was great to join the Mayor and Mayoress to celebrate this special day which we have done many times in years before. Our plan was to do something big last year, but we couldn't because of covid.

"We are really grateful to the Mayor for this arrangement and to the Council for flying the flag. It's a great way to honour this special day. But it's also a really sad day because it's the day the war started.

"We are very grateful to live in a place like South Shields. It's a multi-cultural society where people respect each other and live in harmony. It's a beautiful town and people."

Mufti Uddin, who has been in the town for over 25 years, added: "It's really nice to be here. South Tyneside has always looked after the Bangladeshi community."

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