Jubilation of victory. Freedom fighters fire into the air at the surrender of Pakistani army on December 16, 1971.
Photo: File Photo
The nation today celebrates the 36th anniversary of its glorious victory over Pakistani occupation forces in the nine-month Liberation War with the demand for trial of the war criminals gathering momentum.
While a grateful nation pays homage to the three million martyrs for their supreme sacrifice for the long-cherished freedom of the motherland, the people imbued with the spirit of Liberation war have united vowing to bring to book local collaborators of the occupation forces.
Recent audacious statements by leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami on the war of independence and war criminals made it clear once again that they are still disrespectful of the glorious war.
On this day in 1971, the nation achieved its final victory over the occupation forces under the leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman with a democratic, exploitation-free and secular state in vision.
But even 36 years after the independence, people's expectations are yet to be fulfilled. A state of uncertainty, caused by political impasse, is prevailing in the country now. People hope that the leaders will show respect to their sentiment and break the stalemate.
General AAK Niazi, who commanded the occupation forces, surrendered on this day to the Mitrabahini (freedom fighters) and allied Indian forces at Suhrawardy Udyan in Dhaka with 93,000 soldiers following a miserable defeat in the March-to-December war.
President Iajuddin Ahmed will lead the nation in paying glowing tributes to the Liberation War martyrs by placing wreaths at the National Memorial at Savar in the morning.
Immediately after the birth of India and Pakistan in 1947, the nation started experiencing with awe the exploitation by the West Pakistani leaders. The discontent kept on mounting and saw an outburst when the Pakistan government tried to impose Urdu as the state language.
The struggle for upholding the dignity of the mother tongue Bangla and the supreme sacrifice made in the 1952 Language Movement did not go in vain. People of the then East Pakistan found it to be the basis of a greater movement for independence.
As the exploitation and disregard for people's rights climaxed, Bangabandhu in his historic address at the March 7 rally at Race Course (Suhrawardy Udyan) called upon the people to resist Pakistani rule.
“The struggle this time is the struggle for our emancipation; the struggle this time is the struggle for independence," he announced making it a turning point in the history of the nation.
Before his arrest in the early hours of March 26, Bangabandhu made the declaration for independence. Major Ziaur Rahman read out the declaration from Kalurghat Radio Station two days later.
Meanwhile, Pakistani forces committed one of the cruellest genocides in human history by killing indiscriminately the freedom-loving unarmed Bangalees in the then East Pakistan starting on March 26, 1971.
The Pakistani forces made an attack on India on December 6 on the pretext of assisting Bangladesh cause, forcing them to retaliate. Mitra Bahini (allied forces) was formed.
With their defeat looming large, the occupation forces aided by their local collaborators -- Razakar, Al-Badr and Al-Shams formed by Jamaat-e- Islami -- abducted frontline intellectuals and professionals of the nation and killed them, often after brutal torture, in an effort to cripple the emerging nation intellectually.
Today, the day dawns heralded by a 31-gun salute.
It is a public holiday today. The National Flag will be hoisted atop all government, semi-government and other important buildings.
Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed will place wreaths at the National Mausoleum at Savar in the early hours in homage to the martyrs.
The president and the chief adviser greeted the nation in separate messages on the occasion.
Saying that time has come now to make the democratic system stronger and more effective, the president urged all to work shoulder to shoulder to solve national problems, and contribute from their respective positions to building a happy and prosperous country.
The chief adviser called upon the people irrespective of political opinions and religious faiths to join hands to build a “true welfare state” accelerating the establishment of rule of law, and socio-economic development.
Social, political and other organisations have chalked out programmes to mark the occasion with daylong programmes.
Special prayers will be offered at mosques, temples, churches and other worship places, seeking divine blessings for peace and progress of the country. Bangladesh Television, Bangladesh Betar and private television channels will air special programmes while newspapers will bring out special supplements on the day.
Around 7,000 law enforcers including police and Rapid Action Battalion will keep strict vigil to ensure peaceful observance of the Victory Day programmes in the capital and at the National Mausoleum at Savar.