Dhaka, Dec 16: The country on Wednesday celebrated the 50th Victory Day recalling moments that had marked emergence of Dhaka as the free capital of independent Bangladesh with occupation Pakistani troops’ unconditional surrender.
The ceremonial 31 gun salutes heralded the day as troops fired artillery shots from the National Parade Square while President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid rich tributes to Liberation War Martyrs.
Military secretaries to the President and the Premier placed wreaths on their behalf at the National Memorial at suburban Savar in the early morning ceremony while the COVID 19 prevented their physical presence at the scene.
Armed forces bugles played the last post as the military aides placed the wreaths when as part of military rituals the National Flag was gradually revealed, then lowered to half mast position and then revealed again.
An integrated military, navy and air force contingent offered the honour guard to mark the ceremony.
Parliamentary Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury was represented at the Memorial by Jatiya Sangsad sergeant-at-arms.
Several cabinet members including Liberation War Minister AKM Mozammel Huq, foreign diplomats and senior officials including the chiefs of three armed services offered wreaths at the memorial in person.
Thousands of people representing different political and other organisations then thronged the Memorial’s main altar to offer their floral tributes.
Many people visited the site in their individual capacity though the pandemic required extra cautions, scaling down the usual festivity.
The president and Prime Minister earlier issued statements greeting the countrymen on the occasion of the Victory Day.
“On this day in 1971, we achieved our long-cherished victory after a long struggle and bloodshed war,” President M Abdul Hamid said in his message, recalling particularly Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as the architect of the independence alongside the freedom fighters.
The premier in her message recalled the 24 years of struggle in years ahead of 1971 under the leadership of “our great leader, the greatest Bangali of all time, the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman”.
“We admire the sacrifice of millions of martyrs through turning Bangladesh into a developed, prosperous, hunger and poverty-free and non-communal Bangladesh,” she added.
The pandemic forced Bangladesh this year to scrap the traditional parade at the National parade Ground due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the Victory Day this year came with an extra significance as it coincided with Father of the Nation’s birth centenary celebrations, just an year ahead of the golden jubilee of independence.
The government earlier urged the people to celebrate the day maintaining health guidelines against coronavirus while as part of the countrywide celebrations wreaths were placed as well at martyrs monuments.
National flags dominated the skyline across Bangladesh while government, semi-government and other major structures were illuminated with colourful lights.
Main streets were decorated with festoons while the pandemic prompted different government organisations, political parties and cultural groups to stage discussions and other programmes on virtual platforms.
The ruling Awami League (AL) hoisted the national flag and the party flag atop the party’s central office, Bangabandhu Bhaban and offices of all its units across the country.
Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader along with party’s central leaders paid tributes to the martyrs of the Liberation War by placing wreaths at the altar of the National Memorial at 9am.
Party presidium members Begum Matia Chowdhury, Dr Abdur Razzaque, Jahangir Kabir Nanak, Shajahan Khan and Abdur Rahman, joint general secretaries Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud, Mahbubul-Alam Hanif and AFM Bahauddin Nasim joined the function.
Awami League organizing secretaries Ahmed Hossain, SM Kamal Hossain and Mirza Azam, relief and social welfare affairs secretary Sujit Roy Nandi, cultural affairs secretary Asim Kumar Ukil, labour affairs secretary Habibur Rahman Siraj, health and population affairs secretary Dr Rokeya Sultana, science and technology affairs secretary Abdus Sabur and deputy office secretary Sayem Khan were present, among others.
The other political and socio-cultural organizations that paid rich tributes to the 1971 martyrs by placing wreaths at the National Memorial were Central 14-party, family members of the martyrs, injured freedom fighters, Jatiya Party, BNP, Gana Forum, Jukto Front, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, Workers Party of Bangladesh, Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB), Awami Jubo League, Swechasebak League, Chhatra League, Krishak League, Mohila Awami League, Jubo Mohila League, Tanti League, Bangladesh Chhatra Union, Jubo Union, Udichi Shilpigoshthi, Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, Dhaka Reporters’ Unity, Samajtantrik Chhatra Front, Dhaka University, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, National University, Bangla Academy, Shilpakala Academy, Bangladesh Open University, Bangabandhu Parishad, Jagannath University, Sector Commanders’ Forum-Muktijuddha 71, Sammilita Sangskritik Jote, Bangabandhu Sangskritik Jote, Jaker Party and Muktijuddha Sanghati Parishad.
On the occasion of the Victory Day the ruling Awami League paid glowing tribute to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by placing wreaths at his portrait in front of Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Dhanmondi-32 in the city.
Party’s General Secretary Obaidul Quader along with party’s central leaders paid the tribute to Father by laying the wreath at Bangabandhu’s portrait.
The party leaders then stood in solemn silence for sometime as a mark of profound respect to the memories of Bangabandhu and the 1971 martyrs.
Later, Dhaka city north and south units of AL, Jubo League, Chhatra League, Swechchhasebak League, Krishak League, Jatiya Sramik League, Mohila Awami League, Jubo Mohila League and other associate bodies of the ruling AL paid tributes to Bangabandhu by placing wreaths separately at his portrait.
Different social and cultural organizations, including Bangabandhu Parishad, Bangabandhu Sangskritik Jote and Bangladesh Awami Information and Technology Forum, also paid rich tribute to the Father of the Nation by placing wreaths at the portrait.
AL leaders and workers also paid homage to Bangabandhu by placing wreaths at the Mausoleum of Bangabandhu at Tungipara in Gopalganj in the morning. Doa and milad mahfil were also held there.
Later, a discussion was held at the AL’s central office in the city’s Bangabandhu Avenue while party President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina addressed the discussion through videoconferencing.
Besides, Jatiya Press Club (JPC), Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists, Dhaka Union Journalists, Mukijoddhar Santan Sangbadik Forum and Youth Journalists’ Forum paid tribute to Father of the Nation by placing floral wreaths at the portrait of Bangabandhu at the JPC here.
Virtual discussions titled ‘Attaining the national prosperity through upholding the spirit of the Liberation War and ensuring the best use of digital technologies to build the ‘Sonar Bangla’ as dreamt by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’ were held across the country to mark the country’s 50th Victory Day.
Posters based on the history of the Liberation War were exhibited at Swadhinotastambha and the underground museum at the Suhrawardy Udyan here today.
Besides, essay competitions based on the Liberation War were held using the digital platforms like e-mail or online while painting competitions for the children and virtual functions were also held at the educational institutions across the country.
Special prayers were offered at mosques and other places of worship, seeking eternal peace of the departed souls of the 1971 martyrs and good health for the injured freedom fighters as well as peace, progress and prosperity of the country.
Baitul Mukarram National Mosque organised Quran Khwani, milad and doa mahfil under the auspicious of Islamic Foundation marking the day.
Improved diets were served in jails, hospitals, orphanages and vagrant homes across the country.
The day was a public holiday.
National dailies brought out special supplements on the occasion while Bangladesh Postal Department released memorial postal stumps to mark the day.
The state-owned and private televisions and radios are broadcasting special programmes highlighting the Liberation War.