The nation celebrates its 50th Independence Day today with all the festivities cancelled amid global coronavirus pandemic.
The government cancelled the massive celebrations to mark the golden jubilee of National Independence of Bangladesh.
In October 2019, the prime minister Sheikh Hasina invited Indian National Congress president Sonia Gandhi, and members of the Gandhi family including Rahul and Priyanka to take part in the Bangladesh’s golden jubilee celebrations.
But on March 21, after meeting president Md Abdul Hamid and prime minister Sheikh Hasina at Bangabhaban, the government scrapped the festivities keeping public health safety in the view.
Earlier, prime minister Hasina had expressed her desire time and again to celebrate the Mujib Year, to mark the birth centenary of the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the golden jubilee
of Bangladesh with all pomp and festivity.
The sun of Independence rose over the horizon of Bangladesh on March 26, 1971 with the proclamation of the independence inspiring 75 million Bangalis to take up arms against the Pakistani occupation military who committed one of the worst genocides in modern history during the nine-month Liberation War.
Bangladeshi people clinched victory against the marauding Pakistani occupation army on December 16, 1971. But the killing of over three million Bangalis and crimes against over two hundred thousand women and forcing 10 million people to take refuge in neighbouring India left a deep scar.
The day has been celebrated as Independence Day since 1971. In 1980, the government decided to celebrate it as the National Day as well.
On the eve of the day, president M Abdul Hamid and prime minister Sheikh Hasina felicitated the countrymen in separate messages.
In his message, president Hamid urged all to work being imbued with the spirit of the liberation war to turn Bangladesh into ‘Sonar Bangla’ by completing the unfinished tasks of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in the Mujib Year.
‘Being imbued with the spirit of the liberation war let it be the pledge in ‘Mujib Year’ to turn our country into Sonar Bangla by completing the unfinished tasks of Bangabandhu,’ he said.
In her message, prime minister Sheikh Hasina extended her heartiest greetings to the countrymen and the Bangladeshis abroad on the occasion of the great Independence and National Day of Bangladesh.
‘I extend my heartiest greetings to the countrymen and expatriate Bangladeshis on the occasion of the great Independence and National Day of Bangladesh,’ she said.
Paying tributes to the martyrs and veterans of the War of Liberation at the National Memorial at Savar has been suspended to prevent the possibility of coronavirus infection that already killed five people and infected a total of 39 so far with the first case was detected in Bangladesh on March 8 after its outbreak in China in December.
The day is a public holiday.
National dailies will bring out special supplements while Bangladesh Betar, Bangladesh Television, and the other TV channels would air special programmes highlighting the significance of the day.
Different political parties as well as socio-cultural and professional organisations also suspended all the festivities to put off public gatherings and the maintenance of social distancing on directives of the government as well as the World Health Organization.
March 26 brings the tragic reminiscence of the history’s blackest episode that heralded a nine-month bloody ordeal from the midnight of March 25, 1971, when the occupation army of Pakistan in pre-meditated attack killed unarmed civilians in cold blood.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Politics