Bangladesh celebrated the 51st Independence and National Day on Friday paying homage to the brave freedom fighters who laid down their lives for the independence of the country in 1971.
People flock to the national memorial at Savar and other monuments across the country on a limited scale amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The government organised colourful events marking the golden jubilee of the country’s independence and the birth centenary of the country’s founding president Sheikh Muzibur Rahman.
The concluding programme of the 10-day celebrations was addressed, among others by president M Abdul Hamid and Indian prime minister Naredra Modi with prime minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
At the programme, Modi handed over Gandhi Peace Prize, which conferred on Bangladesh’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by India, to Mujib’s youngest daughter Sheikh Rehana.
The day began with predawn 50-gun salutes and national flag was hoisted in all districts and upazilas with minimum presence marking the day this year to avoid public gathering amid coronavirus fear, a release by the liberation war affairs ministry said.
Gun salute, parade, discussions, film show, cultural programme and others also features the celebrations of the Independence Day amid beefed up security.
Different political parties, social and cultural organisations and educational institutions placed wreath to the memories of the hero of the nation at the National Martyrs Memorial.
President M Abdul Hamid and prime minister Sheikh Hasina paid rich tributes to the martyrs of the War of Independence by placing wreaths at the National Memorial in the morning.
Jatiya Sangsad speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, chief justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, senior Awami League leaders and high civil and military officials, among others, also paid tribute to the martyrs.
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi also placed wreaths to the memorial at about 11:50am and planted an Arjun tree inside the memorial complex.
30 members of Mirta Bahini also placed wreaths.
Bangladesh’s independence was formally declared on March 26, 1971 with the people taking up arms against Pakistani forces, who carried out one of the worst genocides in modern history.
The nine-month war culminated in the independence of Bangladesh on December 16, 1971 after the supreme sacrifice of three million people.
The day is observed as the Independence Day since 1971 and in 1980, the government decided to observe it as the National Day as well.
People queued up at the National Memorial at Savar, built at about 35km north-west of Dhaka, at the daybreak.
The national flag was hoisted atop buildings marking the day, which was a public holiday. Important public and private buildings and road islands were decorated with flags and festoons.
The state-run and private radio and television channels aired special programmes. Newspapers and periodicals brought out supplements highlighting the significance of the day.
Improved diets were served at hospitals, jails, orphanages, vagrant homes, Muktijoddha Kendra and charity homes.
Special prayers were offered at mosques, temples, churches and pagodas, seeking divine blessings for the departed souls of the martyrs as well as for peace, stability and progress of the country.
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