The nation celebrates the 49th Victory Day today recalling the heroic freedom fighters who made their supreme sacrifice to free the country from the Pakistani occupation forces.
People will stream to the National Memorial at Savar and other memorials across the country to pay tribute to the martyrs of 1971, who gave life so that the nation could born, from the dawn.
Political parties, socio-cultural and professional organisations as well as educational institutions have taken elaborative programmes, marking the day.
The Victory Day, a public holiday, is heralded by pre-day 31-gun salute at the dawn.
On the night of March 25, 1971, the Pakistani occupation forces launched a brutal onslaught and committed genocide on the innocent and unarmed Bengalis.
The War for Independence was preceded by 23 years of intense political struggle for democracy, national identity and national liberation.
The commander of 93,000 marauding troops of Pakistan army, Lieutenant General AAK Niazi, surrendered at Ramna Race Course, now Suhrawardy Udyan, in Dhaka on December 16, 1971.
The Pakistan army and its local collaborators committed one of history’s worst genocides in Bangladesh killing countless unarmed Bengalis during the nine-month war. Jamaat-e-Islami and a host of parties opposed independence and collaborated with the occupation army of Pakistan.
President Abdul Hamid, prime minister Sheikh Hasina and opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, in separate messages, greeted the nation.
‘Independence is the greatest achievement of the Bengali nation. But behind the victory there were a long history of deprivation and bloodshed movement and supreme sacrifice of our people,’ the president said in his message.
‘Let us make more contributions from our respective positions in implementing the spirit of war of independence and take the nation towards a prosperous future,’ he added.
‘We have established the rule of law in the country and executed the verdict of the trial of the killers of the father of the nation and the trial of the war criminals. We have peacefully resolved the land boundary issue with India,’ Hasina said in her message.
‘Disputes with India and Myanmar on maritime boundary have also been resolved. Bangladesh’s contribution to the various international forums for establishing global peace has been lauded. We have also joined the elite club of the satellite technology as the 57th nation of the world through launching Bangabandhu Satellite-1,’ she said.
Fakhrul in his message said that independence was the best earning of the previous century and that the freedom fighters fought for independence for a happy and prosperous Bangladesh by establishing democracy and economic emancipation.
‘We have been still working to achieve that goal,’ he said.
They all are expected to place wreaths at National Memorial at Savar.
Families of seven Bir Shresthas, wounded freedom fighters and their associations, political parties and socio-cultural and political organisations and institutions will also place wreaths at the memorial.
Important buildings are being illuminated. The green and red national flag will be flown atop buildings. Special prayers will be offered at mosques, temples, churches and other worship places, seeking divine blessings for peace and progress of the country. Improved diet would be served at orphanages, hospitals and jails across the country.
All children parks and museums will remain open to all.
Newspapers will bring out special supplements and television channels and radio stations will air special programmes.
The ruling Awami League has taken two-day programmes, including placing wreaths at National Memorial, at the portrait of the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at Bangabandhu Bhaban and at Mujib’s mausoleum at Tungipara this morning.
The party would hold discussion at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre at 3:00pm on Tuesday. Party president and prime minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to be in the chair.
Besides placing wreaths at the National Memorial and the grave of the party founder Ziaur Rahman at Sher-e-Banglanagar in Dhaka, the BNP would bring out a victory procession from the party office on December 17 and hold a discussion at Mahanagar Natyamancha on December 18.
Communist Party of Bangladesh, Workers Party of Bangladesh, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal factions, Revolutionary Workers Party of Bangladesh, Gono Forum, Bhashani Oikyajot, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Bangla Academy, Liberation War Museum, National Press Club, Dhaka Reporters Unity and other organisations have taken programmes marking the day.
The government has tightened security in the capital and across the country.
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