Independence Day celebrated: Sacrifices recalled

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The 52nd Independence and National Day was celebrated across the country, commemorating the Liberation War heroes whose sacrifices ensured its freedom from Pakistani oppression in 1971.

The government took elaborate programmes marking the Independence and National Day.

The day’s programmes began by heralding gun salutes early in the morning as a mark of profound respect to the heroic struggle of this nation, which suffered a protracted subjugation under foreign rules from time to time till achieving its Independence in 1971.

On the occasion, President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid rich tributes to the Liberation War martyrs by placing wreaths at the National Memorial at Savar here this morning.

After placing the wreaths, the President and the premier stood in solemn silence for some times as a mark of profound respect to the memories of the martyrs of the 1971 Liberation War.

A smartly turned-out contingent drawn from Bangladesh Army, Navy and Air Force presented a state salute at that time while the bugles played the last post.

The President and the Prime Minister also signed the visitors’ book kept on the memorial premises.

Jatiya Sangsad Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Chief Justice Hasan Foez Siddique, senior Awami League leaders and high civil and military officials, among others, were present on the occasion.

Later, the Speaker and the Chief Justice also paid homage to the martyrs by placing wreaths at the National Memorial.

Flanked by her party leaders, AL President Sheikh Hasina also paid respect to the Liberation War martyrs by placing another wreath at the National Memorial on behalf of the party.

AL presidium members Begum Matia Chowdhury, Dr Abdur Razzaque, Shajahan Khan, Jahangir Kabir Nanak and Tofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya, AL general secretary Obaidul Quader, joint general secretary and information and broadcasting minister Dr Hasan Mahmud, publicity and publication secretary Dr Abdus Sobhan Golap, relief and social welfare secretary Sujit Roy Nandi, office secretary Biplab Barua were, among others, present.

Later, people from all walks of life, including families of Bir Shreshthas, war-wounded freedom fighters, members of the diplomatic corps, leaders of different political parties, social, cultural and professional bodies, placed wreaths at the National Memorial.

Leaders of Jatiya Party, BNP, Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB), Bangadesher Workers Party and Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal placed wreaths at the memorial.

The national flag was hoisted atop all government, semi-government, autonomous and private buildings in the morning while all streets and important city intersections were decorated with national and multi-coloured miniature flags and festoons.

Important buildings and establishments as well as city streets and islands were illuminated with colourful lights.

The day was a public holiday.

National dailies brought out special supplements while Bangladesh Betar, Bangladesh Television, private radio stations and television channels aired special programmes, highlighting the significance of the day.

Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Bangla Academy, National Museum, Liberation War Museum, Bangladesh Shishu Academy, and other social and cultural organisations arranged discussions, cultural programmes and sports competition, while painting competition for children, essay and debate competitions were organised virtually.

Documentaries and movies on the Liberation War were screened at cinema halls across the country.

Reception was accorded upon freedom fighters and the members of martyred freedom fighters at city, zilla and upazila levels, while Bangladesh Postal Office released commemorative postal stamps.

Special prayers were offered at all mosques, temples, churches and other places of worship across the country, seeking divine blessings for the eternal peace of the departed souls of Father of the Nation, four national leaders, the martyrs of the Liberation War and all other patriotic sons of the soil.

Doa mahfil (special prayers) were arranged at the mosques across the country, including Baitul Mukarram National Mosque, after Zohr prayers.

Christian community members arranged special prayers at churches, while Buddhist community members held prayers at International Buddhist Monastery and Hindu community members arranged prayers at Dhakeshwari National Temple here.

Improved meals were served to the inmates of hospitals, jails, old homes and orphanage centres to mark the day.

The country’s all children’s parks and museums remained open for all.

The missions abroad also celebrated the day through similar programmes.

Different political parties, including ruling Awami League, as well as socio-cultural and professional organisations also took various programmes to observe the day in a befitting manner.

The AL’s programme included hoisting of national and party flags atop Bangabandhu Bhaban along with central and party offices across the country in the morning and paid rich tributes at the National Memorial at Savar.

AL leaders and workers also paid homage to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by placing wreaths at his portrait in front of Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Dhanmondi road number-32 here.

Marking the day, an e-poster was published at the initiative of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s Birth Centenary Celebration National Implementation Committee.

Every year, the March 26 brings the most tragic reminiscence of the history’s blackest episode that heralded a nine-month bloody ordeal from the night of March 25, 1971, achieving the long-cherished independence on December 16 the same year at the cost of a sea of blood.

In the wake of the military crackdown, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who became the undisputed leader of the then Pakistan following the massive victory of his party – Awami League – in the 1970 general elections, declared the independence of Bangladesh through the then EPR (East Pakistan Rifles) wireless at 00-30 hours on March 26 (the night following March 25) in 1971 at his historic Road-32 residence at Dhanmondi here.

The great leader also called upon the people to build up strong resistance against the Pakistani barbaric occupation forces.

The Pakistani military junta, in a bid to stop the legitimate movement of the Bangalees, arrested Bangabandhu on that night following his declaration of independence.

Later, Bangabandhu was taken to the then West Pakistan where he had to spend nine months in a dark condemned cell.

Bangabandhu wrote down the declaration of independence soon after the Pakistani army cracked down on the fateful night of March 25, 1971.

The declaration of independence was soon put on air by wireless. The declaration was first broadcast by Awami League leader MA Hannan from Kalurghat Radio Station in port city of Chittagong on March 26, 1971.

The Pakistani military junta in their monstrous outburst unleashed a bloody holocaust breaking the silence of the night following March 25 in 1971 when they mercilessly killed hundreds of innocent sleeping Bangalees, including teachers, students, police, soldiers, pedestrians and rickshaw-pullers, here.

The nation soon launched the War of Liberation at the call of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in the early hours of March 26.

Bangladesh emerged as an independent and sovereign country on December 16, 1971 with the surrender of the Pakistani occupation forces, who killed three million innocent civilians, perpetrated atrocities on two lakh Bangalee women and burnt down lakhs of houses across the country during the nine-month bloody war.