Crowds converge at the Central Shaheed Minar in the capital early today to pay homage to the martyrs of the Language Movement. Photo: Sk Enamul Haq
With renewed spirit for trial of Liberation War criminals, the nation at 12:01am today paid ardent tribute to the martyrs of glorious Language Movement, who laid down their lives for the mother language in 1952.
Millions of barefooted people from all walks of life converged at shaheed minars across the country to pay homage to the martyrs.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was the first to pay homage to the language martyrs placing floral wreath ceremonially at the Central Shaheed Minar as the song â€œAmar Bhayer Rakte Rangano Ekushey Februaryâ€ was solemnly played.
She stood in silence for some time.
A little later, Hasina, as the president of ruling Awami League, placed another wreath along with her cabinet members, advisers and party men.
President Zillur Rahman, who usually is the first to pay homage, did not show up.
Later, speaker of parliament, Dhaka University authorities, ministers, attorney general, members of the diplomatic corps, various political, cultural and professional bodies paid homage to the martyrs one after another.
Acting secretary general Mirza Fakrul Islam Alamgir of the main opposition party BNP, along with other senior leaders, placed wreath on behalf of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia.
A representative team of the Shahbagh protesters, who have been tirelessly demanding capital punishment of all Liberation War criminals for the last 16 straight days, paid homage to the language martyrs at the Central Shaheed Minar.
The Central Shaheed Minar was then opened to all.
A website on evolution of Bangla alphabet was unveiled on the eve of this year's Amar Ekushey.
The day is globally being observed as the International Mother Language Day. The song Amar Bhayer Rakte Rangano Ekushey February, Ami ki Bhulite Pari would be sung in 193 countries in the world.
Foolproof multi-layer security measures were taken in and around the Central Shaheed Minar.
On this day in 1952, students and people from all strata of society took to the streets in Dhaka to protest against the then Pakistan government's refusal to recognise Bangla as one of the state languages and imposition of Urdu as the only official language of Pakistan.
Salam, Barkat, Rafiq, Jabbar and a few other brave sons of the soil sacrificed their lives on this day to establish Bangla as one of the state languages of the then Pakistan.
The day of February 21 has since been observed as the Language Martyrs Day and the Unesco in November 1999 declared it as the International Mother Language Day.
The Language Movement is considered as the most decisive episode and a turning point in the history of Bangalees as its spirit led to the independence of Bangladesh.