General

Nation celebrating Independence Day

The nation is celebrating the 53rd Independence

and National Day today in a befitting manner.

President Md Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave separate

messages on the eve of the 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 their coveted Independence in 1971.

The national flag is hoisted atop all government, semi-government,

autonomous and private buildings with the rises of sun while all streets and

important city intersections are decorated with national and multi-

coloured miniature flags and festoons.

Bands of different forces played music at different important points in

Dhaka.

Important buildings and establishments as well as city streets and islands

are illuminated with colourful lights.

The National Martyrs' Memorial at Savar became the main venue of the day's

celebration.

President Md Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina placed wreaths

early in the morning as a mark of profound respect to the memories of the

martyrs.

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, also

laid wreaths at the national memorial in the morning of the day.

On the occasion, President M Abdul Hamid and his wife Rashida Khanam will

host a reception at the Bangabhaban today.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will join the reception on the lawn of the

Bangabhaban at about 5 pm.

A Bangabhaban Spokesman told BSS that around 2,500 guests, including cabinet

members, advisers, ambassadors and high commissioners of different countries,

state ministers, Supreme Court judges, chiefs of the three services, members

of parliament, senior political leaders, editors, journalist leaders, senior

civil and military officers, academics, business community leaders, artistes,

valiant freedom fighters and family members of Birshreshtha gallantry award

recipients and distinguished citizens will attend the Independence and

National Day reception.

President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will cut a cake on the

occasion of the day.

They will exchange greetings with the injured freedom fighters and other

dignitaries and guests at the function.

Later, the reception will be followed by an iftar party.

National dailies brought out special supplements while Bangladesh Betar,

Bangladesh Television, private radio stations and television channels are

airing month-long special programmes on the Liberation War and 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 will arrange discussions, cultural programmes and sports

competition while painting competition for children, essay and debate

competitions will be organised.

Liberation War based documentaries and movies will be screened at cinema

halls across the country.

Reception will be accorded to the freedom fighters and the members of

martyred freedom fighters at city, zilla and upazila levels while Bangladesh

Postal Office will publish commemorating postal stamps.

Special prayers will be 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,

martyrs of the War of Liberation and all other patriotic sons of the soil.

Improved meals will be 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 will remain open for all.

Ships of Bangladesh Navy and Coast Guard will be kept open for public at

Chittagong, Khulna, Mongla and Payra ports and Dhaka's Sadarghat,

Narayanganj's Pagla, Barisal and Chandpur BIWTA dockside from 9 am to 2 pm on the day.

The missions abroad will also celebrate the day through similar programmes.

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 the 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.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha