Homage paid to ’52 martyrs

February 21, 2014

The nation paid tributes to martyrs of the language movement by placing flowers at shaheed minars beginning a minute after midnight past Thursday.
People in the capital Dhaka started streaming along roads leading to the Central Shaheed Minar on the Dhaka University campus to place flowers at the altar of the monument after state dignitaries had placed wreaths a minute past midnight and stood in silence for a few seconds.
The main altar of the Central Shaheed Minar was soon bedecked with wreaths as people paid tribute after standing in queues for several hours after midnight. Almost all political parties, students organisations, socio-cultural and professional groups paid tribute to the language movement heroes.
In the capital, Dhaka University is supervising the Amar Ekushey observance at the Central Shaheed Minar as it did in the past.
The president, Abdul Hamid, was the first to place a wreath at the altar on behalf of the nation a minute after midnight followed by the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, as head of the government.
The president and the prime minister stood in solemn silence for a while as a mark of respect to the martyred language movement heroes.
Hasina as president of the Awami League, along with her party leaders, and cabinet colleagues later placed another wreath at the monument on behalf of the party.
The speaker, Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, and the leader of the opposition in the parliament, Raushan Ershad, among others, paid tributes to the language martyrs.
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson, Khaleda Zia, paid tribute to the martyrs by placing a wreath at the monument after an hour past midnight.
After the state dignitaries, Dhaka University, diplomats, chiefs of the three services, the ruling alliance and some other political parties placed wreaths.
They placed wreaths as Amar Bhaiyer Rakte Rangano Ekushey February was sung and stood in silence for a few seconds in honour of Salam, Barkat, Rafique, Shafique and Jabbar who were died in police shooting on February 21, 1952, which fell on Phalgun 8, 1359 in the Bangla calendar, when they, along with others, campaigned for the recognition of Bangla as a state language of the erstwhile Pakistan. The incident later culminated into Bangladesh’s war for national independence in 1971.
It was the first uprising of Bengalis against the colonial attitude of Pakistani rulers that became the prime inspiration for their struggle for self-determination throughout the 1950s and the 1960s and the subsequent emergence of the independent Bangladesh through a war spanning nine months.
Ekushey February, formally known as Shaheed Dibas or Martyrs’ Day, has come to be observed as International Mother Language Day since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism after a proclamation by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s general conference in November 1999.
People outside the capital also thronged monuments across Bangladesh and other countries to pay tribute as Amar Ekushey was observed officially in all district and upazila headquarters while various organisations also placed flowers and wreaths at local shaheed minars.
The national flag has been hoisted at half-mast atop government, autonomous and private buildings. The day is a public holiday. Black flags have also been hoisted to pay tributes to the martyrs.
The state-run Bangladesh Television aired the observance at the Central Shaheed Minar live.
Bangladesh Betar and private television and radio channels are airing special programmes on the occasion. Newspapers published supplements highlighting the significance of the day.
Bangladeshis living abroad also observed the day, reports reaching Dhaka said.
A number of organisations across the country also held programmes such as daylong free medical camps, blood collection programmes, held discussions and cultural programmes, marking the day.
Earlier, the president, Abdul Hamid, the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, the leader of the opposition in the parliament, Raushan Ershad, and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson, Khaleda Zia, issued messages on the occasion.
The president said, ‘I recall with profound reverence unfading memories of the language martyrs namely Barkat, Rafiq, Salam, Jabbar, Shafique and many unknown others who made the supreme sacrifice on this day in 1952.’
The prime minister said, ‘The greatest Ekushey is a symbol of grief, strength and glory in the life of every Bengali. The blood-stained resonance of Amar Ekushey is now resounded in hearts of the people of 193 countries surpassing the boundary of Bangladesh.’
‘International Mother Language Day is now a source of inspiration for all the people of the world to establish their right of language and culture. We have already taken initiatives to make Bangla, spoken by more than 250 million people of the world, as one of the official languages of the United Nations,’ Hasina said.
The Dhaka Metropolitan Police has, meanwhile, taken all-out security measures for a smooth observance of Amar Ekushey.
Strict security measures have been taken at and around the Shaheed Minar to ensure smooth observance of the day. Members of law enforcement agencies were deployed and closed-circuit television cameras and archways were set up. Besides, bomb squads and dog squads were on patrol in the Shaheed Minar area.
The Central Shaheed Minar was brushed up and painted. Fine arts students decorated the walls around the monument with floral designs. Roads, dividers and islands have been decorated with the national flag and festoons painted with Bangla letters.

Courtesy of New Age

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