In the wake of the deadly novel coronavirus, the government suspended all programs of the day
Every year, thousands of people in the country and abroad, along with President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, pay rich tributes to the martyrs of the War of Liberation and celebrate the declaration of independence in March 1971. Homage is paid to the valiant sons of the soil at the National Mausoleum at Savar.
Usually, the festivities at the mausoleum begin with a placing of wreaths by President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina early in the morning to pay homage to the memories of the martyrs.
But this year, all programs commemorating national independence have been suspended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus that has left thousands of people dead around the globe, said Mizanur Rahman, deputy assistant engineer of the Department of Public Works, Savar.
"No one came to pay tribute to the mausoleum today, which is very rare, " said Mozammel, a security guard at the historic monument.
"Every year we celebrate this day with due respect and through placing wreaths at the monument with our people. But this year we cannot go there due to the virus that is spreading across the country now," said Shahadat Hossain, vice chairman of Savar upazila.
Different political parties, socio-cultural and professional organisations have also suspended all programs to avoid public gatherings and maintain social distancing protocols in line with the directives of the government as well as the World Health Organization (WHO).
However, despite the cancellation of all events, the day was observed on a limited scale in a few districts.
In Meherpur, beginning with 31celebratory gunshots, some officials both from government and cultural organisations placed wreaths at their respective mausoleums and mass graves in the district.
Deputy Commissioner (DC) Md Ataul Gani and Superintendent of Police SM Murad Ali placed tributes on behalf of Forhad Hossain, state minister of Ministry of Public Administration, at the Martyrs Memorial at around 8pm yesterday.
In Kurigram, the historic day began with celebratory gunshots and later people from different socio-cultural and political organisations placed floral wreaths separately at the district memorials.
Prayer ceremonies were also held in some areas of the district.
The day represents a new chapter in Bangladesh's history, one that would be followed by nine months of struggle before victory.
But the prologue of the story, obviously the night of terror on March 25, 1971 is a moment that can never be forgotten as it was the catalyst for Bangladesh's push for independence. Amid the killing spree conducted under Operation Searchlight, the Pakistan army targeted sleeping Bengali teachers, students, police, soldiers and common folk. The Bengali political leadership took swift and decisive action towards achieving the independence of the country.
Under the steady guidance of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the nation put up determined resistance to Pakistan and its military junta, and through a bloody and tortuous war, ultimately achieved liberation on December 16, 1971.
Our correspondents Nadim Hossain, Savar; Ariful Islam, Kurigram and Ashraful Islam, Meherpur contributed to the report.