The nation celebrated the Victory Day on Saturday with a renewed pledge to root out militancy and continue with its march towards progress and prosperity by foiling any conspiracy.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina led the nation in paying homage to the martyred freedom fighters at the National Memorial in Savar on the occasion of the day.
People from all walks of life with red-green national flag in their hands thronged the National Memorial to pay tribute to the best sons of the soil who laid down their lives to free the motherland from the clutches of Pakistan.
They also called upon the government to complete trial of all the war criminals and build the country free from Rajakars, fundamentalists
On December 16 in 1971, Pakistan occupation forces surrendered at the historic Racecourse Maidan (now Suhrawardy Udyan), leading to the birth of Bangladesh.
This year Victory Day celebrations got a new dimension thanks to the UNESCO’s recognition of Bangabandhu’s historic 7th March speech as part of the world’s documentary heritage.
The day was heralded by a 31-gun salute at dawn while all roads led to the National Memorial, marking the 47th anniversary of Bangladesh’s victory over Pakistan. President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina placed wreaths at the National Memorial at about 6:34am.
They stood in a solemn silence for a while when a smartly turned-out contingent from the three forces presented a state salute, playing the last post of the bugle.
Sheikh Hasina as the president of the ruling Awami League, along with party leaders and activists, also placed wreaths to pay tribute to the martyred war heroes.
Later, Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Leader of the Opposition Raushan Ershad, cabinet members, chiefs of the three services and diplomats placed wreaths at the memorial. The premier also paid homage to Bangabandhu by placing a wreath at his portrait at Bangabandhu Bhaban at Dhanmondi.
After placing of wreaths by the VIPs, the National Memorial venue was opened for all. People then started thronging the memorial to pay homage to the martyrs.
Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chairperson Khaleda Zia along with senior party leaders placed wreaths at the National Memorial at about 11:20am.
Political parties, socio-cultural bodies, wounded freedom fighters and members of the families of the martyred war heroes placed wreaths at the memorial.
Central leaders of the 14-party alliance, Jatiya Party, Workers Party, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal factions and other political parties placed wreaths at the memorial.
Mukitijoddha Sangsad, Dhaka University, National Press Club, Dhaka Reporters’ Unity, Crimes Reporters’ Association of Bangladesh, Amra Muktijoddhar Santan, Bangabandhu Sangskritik Jote, Shishu Academy, Bangabandhu Parishad, Bangabandhu Gabeshana Parishad, National Museum, Shilpakala Academy, Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal, Biplobi Workers’ Party, National Awami Party, Chhatra Union and educational institutions and socio-cultural-professional bodies placed wreaths to pay homage to the martyrs.
The President later took the salute from the armed forces at the National Parade Ground.
A contingent of freedom fighters, armed forces, security agencies and different ministries displayed their achievements by joining the Victory Day Parade at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar in the capital.
President Abdul Hamid was received at the parade ground by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Huq and chiefs of the three services.
Army, Navy, Air Forces, Bangladesh National Cadet Corps, Border Guard Bangladesh, Police, Rapid Action Battalion, Ansar, VDP, Coast Guard, and Fire Service and Civil Defence forces participated in the parade organised by the ninth infantry division.
The government, different political parties, socio-cultural organisations and educational institutions held elaborate programmes to celebrate the day.
The day was a public holiday. The national flag was hoisted at all public and private buildings across the country to mark the mark.
Newspapers published special supplements while radio and television aired special programmes highlighting the significance of the day in national life.
Special prayers were offered at mosques, temples, churches, pagodas and other places of worship, seeking divine blessings for peace and progress of the country.
The destitute children were allowed to visit Shishu Park (children’s park) in the capital on the day free of cost.
Improved diet was served in jails, hospitals, orphanages and vagrant homes across the country on the occasion.
Main thoroughfares and road islands in the capital were decorated with miniature national flag while important government buildings were illuminated.
The ruling party also chalked out various programmes to mark the day.
National and party flags were hoisted at all the offices of the AL across the country, including central party office on Bangabandhu Avenue and Bangabhaban.
The party will hold a discussion at Bangabandhu International Conference Center in the capital today. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will chair the event.
National Press Club president Muhammad Shafiqur Rahman, its general secretary Farida Yasmin and other senior journalist leaders celebrated the day, paying floral tribute to the portrait of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in the morning.
Among others, NPC vice-president Saiful Alam, senior journalist Molla Jalal, and Bhorer Kagoj editor Shyamal Dutt were present on the occasion.
Young journalists, led by Dhaka Reporters’ Unity (DRU) president Saiful Islam and its general secretary Syed Sukkur Ali Shuvo, paid tribute to the national heroes by placing floral wreath at national mausoleum at Savar in the morning.
Crimes Reporters’ Association of Bangladesh (CRAB), led by its president Abu Saleh Akon and general secretary Sarwar Alam, also paid floral tribute to the liberation heroes at Savar.
Sector Commanders Forum (SCF) celebrated the day through various programmes. They paid tribute to the liberation heroes at Savar in early morning.
Later, they staged a mock surrender of the Pakistani forces, replicating the surrender of General Niazi to the allied forces’ commander on this day in Suhrawardy Udyan in 1971.
Bangladesh Online Activist Forum (BOAF), a platform of young progressive people, laid a wreath in honour of the country’s liberation heroes at the national mausoleum at Savar at noon on Saturday.
Workers Party of Bangladesh paid tribute to the liberation heroes by placing floral wreath at Savar.
Officials of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) headquarters, led by DG Major General Abul Hossain, its regional units and battalions also observed the day with due respect and festivity. National flags were hoisted at its headquarters and other units across the country. They also prayed for salvation of the departed souls of the liberation heroes.
Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute has organised a two-day programme, marking the day. Dr Abul Kalam Azad, director general of the institute, inaugurated the programme on its premises on Saturday morning.