Bangladesh observed its 50th Independence Day and National Day on a limited scale across the country on Thursday without any festivity amid global coronavirus fear.
The day began with predawn 31-gun salutes and national flag was hoisted in all district and upazila levels with minimum presence marking the day this year to avoid public gathering amid coronavirus fear, a press release by Liberation War affairs ministry said.
The government cancelled all the celebrations, including placing wreaths at the National Memorial at Savar, children’s gathering at Bangabandhu Stadium and all types of public gathering at all levels, it said.
Important buildings and installations were illuminated and main roads in Dhaka and elsewhere were beautified with national and other flag to mark the day.
National dailies brought out special supplements while Bangladesh Betar, Bangladesh Television, and other television channels aired special programmes highlighting the significance of the day.
Prayers were held at religious institutions with minimum presence seeking divine blessings for the peace and prosperity of the country and special diet was served at all hospitals, jails, orphanages and old homes across the country.
The day was a public holiday.
Usually, on the day, president Abdul Hamid and prime minister Sheikh Hasina placed wreaths early in the morning to pay tribute to the martyrs of the Liberation War. The programmes were cancelled.
All the political parties as well as socio-cultural and professional organisations also suspended all the festivities to put off public gatherings to maintain social distancing at directives of the government as well as the World Health Organisation.
Paying tributes to the martyrs and veterans of the War of Liberation at the National Martyrs Memorial at Savar has been suspended to prevent the possibility of coronavirus infection that already killed five people and infected a total of 44 so far with the first case was detected in Bangladesh on March 8 after its outbreak in China in December 2019.
The sun of Independence rose over the horizon of Bangladesh on March 26, 1971 with the proclamation of the independence inspiring 75 million Bengalis 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 Bengalis 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.
President M Abdul Hamid, prime minister Sheikh Hasina and opposition BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir felicitated the countrymen in separate messages.
Communist Party of Bangladesh and Socialist Party of Bangladesh observed the day by hoisting flag in front of their offices, party releases said.
New Age correspondent at Islamic University in Kushtia reported that IU authorities observed the day by hoisting national flag in front of the university’s administrative building and distributing masks, hand sanitizers and hand gloves among the people living adjacent to university area to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection.
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