The country is observing the "Shaheed Dibash" and the International Mother Language Day in a befitting manner
President Md Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina led the nation last night in paying rich tributes to the martyrs of the historic Language Movement of 1952, marking Amar Ekushey and observing the International Mother Language Day and “Shaheed Dibosh.”
They paid the homage by placing wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar in Dhaka at one minute past midnight, reports UNB.
They were followed by different socio-cultural, political and other organizations, apart from people from all walks of life, who went on to pay glowing tributes to the memories of the valiant sons of the soil who made the ultimate sacrifice to establish the rights of the mother tongue, Bangla, in 1952.
The prime minister arrived at the Shaheed Minar seven minutes before the clock struck 12am Friday, while President Hamid reached four minutes before the zero hour.
The duo then proceeded to the altar of the Shaheed Minar together in slow pace as the immortal song on Amar Ekushey -- "Amar Bhaiyer Rakte Rangano Ekushey February"-- was playing.
The president was the first to lay the wreath at the Shaheed Minar. Just after the president, the prime minister placed the wreath at the Shaheed Minar.
They stood in solemn silence for some time as a mark of profound respect to the memories of the language heroes.
Ministers, advisers to the prime minister, MPs, the chiefs of the three services, diplomats, senior Awami League leaders, high civil and military officials were present on the occasion.
Flanked by cabinet members and senior leaders of the party, Sheikh Hasina, also the president of ruling Awami League, later placed another wreath at the Shaheed Minar on behalf of the party.
Speaker of the Jatiya Sangsad Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury also paid tributes to the martyrs of the historic Language Movement by placing a wreath at the Shaheed Minar.
On her arrival at the Shaheed Minar, Prime Minister Hasina was received by Dhaka University Vice Chancellor (VC) Prof Dr Md Akhtaruzzaman.
Later, the prime minister and the VC received the president when he arrived at the Shaheed Minar.
The day will also be observed around the world as the Unesco recognized February 21 as the International Mother Language Day on November 17, 1999, reports BSS.
The government has already taken extensive programs to observe the "Shaheed Dibash" and the International Mother Language Day on February 21 in a befitting manner.
The day is a public holiday.
On February 21 in 1952, Salam, Rafique, Shafique, Jabbar and Barkat embraced martyrdom in police firing in front of the Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) as they took to the street to intensify the campaign to establish Bangla as the state language of the then Pakistan, sowing the seeds of subsequent movements for the country’s independence.
They were killed as police opened fire on students, demonstrating under the All-Party Students Action Committee against conspiracies of Pakistani rulers to declare “Urdu” as the only state language.
The movement for Bangla, however, did not stop and Pakistan government on February 29, 1956 was compelled to recognize Bangla as one of the state languages besides Urdu.
The decision, however, could not stop the movement against repression and misrule of Pakistani government and subsequently led to the War of Independence and ultimately the emergence of Bangladesh.
In observance of the day in a befitting manner, the Central Shaheed Minar premises has been decorated with paintings, graffiti, buntings and selected verses on the mother language.
A four-tier security is around the main altar of the Shaheed Minar, its adjoining areas and Azimpur graveyard of the language martyrs.
On Thursday, the president and the prime minister issued separate messages on the eve of the day, paying glowing tributes to the Language Movement martyrs.
Different political-social-cultural-professional organizations will arrange various programs, including seminars and cultural functions to observe the day in a befitting manner.
Quran Khwani and offering Fateha will be held at Azimpur graveyard in the city while prayers will be arranged at all worship places across the country seeking salvation of the departed souls of the martyrs of the Language Movement.
The programs include placing of wreaths at the central Shaheed Minar at one-minute past zero hours and throughout Friday, hoisting at half-mast the national and party flags at its offices across the country and Bangabandhu Bhaban and hoisting black flags in the morning, wearing black badges and placing wreaths on the graves of martyrs at Azimpur graveyard with Provat Feri as a mark of respect to the Language Movement martyrs.
In observance of the day, ruling Awami League has taken a two-day program.
The party will organize a discussion at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the city at 3pm on February 22. Sheikh Hasina is expected to chair the discussion.
Like previous years, Dhaka University (DU) authorities will organize the programs at the Central Shaheed Minar in coordination with other relevant agencies.
National dailies will publish special supplements marking the day and Bangladesh Betar and Bangladesh Television and private radio stations and television channels will air special programs on the occasion.