The nation observes National Mourning Day today marking the 44th death anniversary of the country’s founding president, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Sheikh Mujib was assassinated along with all but two of his family members on August 15, 1975 at his Dhanmandi residence in Dhaka by a group of army personnel.
His daughters — Sheikh Hasina, now the prime minister, and Sheikh Rehana — survived the massacre as they were abroad at that time.
The government, political parties, and different socio-political and cultural organisations have taken elaborate programmes marking the day.
The national flag will be hoisted at half-mast atop all government, semi-government, autonomous organisations, educational institutions, non-government offices and Bangladesh missions abroad marking the day.
Awami League will also hoist national and party flags at half-mast and fly black flags at Bangabandhu Bhaban, party’s central office and party offices across the country at sunrise.
The ruling Awami League and different organisations backed by the party are already holding month-long programme to pay homage to Sheikh Mujib and members of his family killed on the fateful day.
A group of army personnel killed Mujib, his wife Fazilatunnesa Mujib, sons Sheikh Kamal, Sheikh Jamal and Sheikh Russell, daughters-in-law Sultana Kamal and Rosy Jamal, brother Sheikh Naser, nephew Sheikh Fazlul Huq Moni, also a youth leader, his wife Arzu Moni, Mujib’s brother-in-law Abdur Rab Serniabat, also a peasant leader, his daughter Baby Serniabat, son Arif Serniabat, grandson Sukanta Abdullah Babu, AL leader Amir Hossain Amu’s cousin Abdul Nayeem Khan Rintu and Mujib’s chief security officer colonel Jamiluddin Ahmed on the night of August 15, 1975.
Five of the 12 army officers, condemned convicts of Mujib killing, — Syed Faruk Rahman, Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, Muhiuddin Ahmed, Bazlul Huda and AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed — were executed on January 27, 2010, a year after the Awami League-led alliance government had assumed office for the second time.
Six other condemned convicts — Khandaker Abdur Rashid, Shariful Haq Dalim, MA Rashed Chowdhury, SHMB Noor Chowdhury, Abdul Mazed and Moslem Uddin — are still in hiding abroad while the rest one, retired Lt Col Aziz Pasha, reportedly died in Zimbabwe in 2001.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina will visit Tungipara in Gopalganj today to pay tribute to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and join other programmes there on the occasion, Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha reported.
According to the Prime Minister’s Office sources, the premier will leave Dhaka for Tungipara, the ancestral home of Bangabandhu, by an air force helicopter in the morning.
The prime minister will fly to Tungipara after placing wreath at the portrait of the country’s founding president at Dhanmondi 32 in Dhaka as part of the national programmes.
Sheikh Hasina will also go to Banani graveyard in the capital and spread flower petals on the graves of the martyrs of the August 15 carnage as well as offer Fateha and join a munajat there.
After her arrival at Tungipara Upazila Complex Helipad, Sheikh Hasina will visit the mazar (shrine) of Sheikh Mujib and will place wreaths.
The prime minister along with cabinet members, party leaders and workers will also join a milad and doa mahfil on the mazar premises to be organised by the cabinet division and Gopalganj district administration.
A delegation of the Awami League central executive committee including AL presidium members Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, Kazi Zafar Ullah and Muhammad Faruk Khan, executive member Abul Hasnat Abdullha, joint general secretaries Jahangir Kabir Nanak and Abdur Rahman, agriculture and cooperative secretary Faridunnahar Laily and information and research secretary Afzal Hossain, among others, will join the programmes in Tungipara.
President Abdul Hamid and prime minister Sheikh Hasina in separate messages paid homage to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
‘On the National Mourning Day, let us translate our grief into strength and devote ourselves to building a “Sonar Bangla” as dreamt by the Father of the Nation,’ president M Abdul Hamid said in a message on the eve of the National Mourning Day.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in her message on the eve of the day, urged the countrymen to turn the grief of the loss of Bangabandhu into strength and engage themselves in building a non-communal, hunger- and poverty-free prosperous Bangladesh by upholding Bangabandhu’s philosophy.
The president and the prime minister will place wreaths at the portrait of Mujib at Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Dhanmondi 32 at 6:30am.
Leaders and activists of Awami League will come to Bangabandhu Museum in silent processions from different city areas and pay tributes to the leader of the independence. A special prayer session will be held there.
The prime minister will also place wreaths on the graves of the slain members of her family and others at Banani at 7:30am.
The prime minister, along with the cabinet members and party leaders, will visit Tungipara in Gopalganj, the birthplace of Mujib, to place wreaths on his grave and take part in a special prayer there at 10:00am.
Bangladesh Mahila Awami League will hold a prayer session on Bangabandhu Bhaban premises at 5:00pm.
Awami League will hold a discussion at Bangbandhu International Conference Centre in the capital at 4:00pm on Friday. Hasina is expected to attend it as chief guest.
AL’s associate bodies and different cultural and social organisations, educational institutions including all public universities have also taken detailed programmes including discussions, painting exhibitions, book fairs and special prayer sessions.
State-run Bangladesh Betar and Bangladesh Television and private television channels and radio stations will air special programmes marking the day. Newspapers will carry special supplements.
Traffic in and around Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Dhanmondi will be restricted on the occasion. Dhaka Metropolitan Police will restrict traffic from Sonargaon crossing to Russel Square, City College to Russel Square and Dhanmondi-27 to Russell Square in the capital on that day, said DMP commissioner Md Asaduzzaman Mia.
The Awami League government on August 8, 1996 declared August 15 National Mourning Day and a public holiday.
Its successor, Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led alliance government, however, cancelled the decision on August 2, 2002 and the High Court on July 27, 2008 declared the cancellation illegal.
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