Bangladesh along with the world community on Thursday bowed in respect for the Bengali language martyrs to mark the historic Amar Ekushey and the International Mother Language Day. The day is one of the most important days in Bangladesh’s calendar as on this day in 1952 the martyrs made supreme sacrifice for establishing Bangla as the mother tongue and the state language of Pakistan along with Urdu.
Sowing the very seeds of a unique nationhood based on language and culture, valiant sons of the soil, including Salam, Barkat, Rafiq, Jabbar and Shafiur shed their blood in the historic language movement 67 years ago which eventuallyled to the birth of Bangladesh in 1971 under the leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina led the nation in placing wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar at zero hour.
They stood in solemn silence as part of the ritual of the day to pay their respects to the valiant sons of the soil.
The Speaker, opposition figures, lawmakers and diplomats then paid their tributes.
After their departure, tens of thousands of barefoot people wearing black badges, holding bouquets in their hands, singing Ekushey anthem ‘Amar Bhaiyer Rokte Rangano Ekushey February’ paid tributes to the martyrs.
People from all walks of life, politicians and supporters of different political and socio-cultural organisations stood in queues in front of the Central Shaheed Minar before the clock struck 12 on Tuesday night.Street paintings, festoons, banners, buntings and placards with popular inscriptions on the language movement featured the areas, adding to the solemnity of the event.
The day was a public holiday.
The national flag was hoisted at half mast and black flags flew atop government, autonomous and private offices.
State-run Bangladesh Television and Bangladesh Betar and private TV channels aired special programmes while BTV telecast live the wreath-laying ceremony from the Central Shaheed Minar.
Newspapers published special supplements highlighting the significance of the day.
Huge contingents of police and Rab members are patrolling the area. Also, a bomb-defusing squad and a dog squad remained deployed till tonight to ensure foolproof security.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police has imposed restrictions on the movement of vehicles on roads leading to the Central Shaheed Minar to pave the way for easy movement of the general public.
On February 21, 1952, the Pakistani police opened fire on a unarmed and peaceful procession in Dhaka and brutally killed a number of people, mostly students, including Salam, Barkat, Rafiq, Jabbar and Shafiur.