The nation is observing the 'Genocide Day' in a somber mood today, commemorating the brutalities and cowardly attacks carried out by the Pakistani occupation forces on the unarmed Bangalees on the black night of March 25 in 1971.
The day is being observed officially for the second time in the country as Parliament unanimously adopted a resolution on March 11, 2017 to observe March 25 as the Genocide Day.
People from all walks of life marked the day for the first time last year with various programmes after the adaptation of the resolution.
Various political parties, government and non-government bodies and socio-cultural organisations have taken elaborate programmes to mark the day with due reverence this year as well.
Besides, the government has decided to observe a one-minute 'Blackout' programme at 9:00pm today on the occasion.
On the black night of March 25 in 1971, the Pakistani military junta resorted to mass killing in Dhaka to implement their blueprint to thwart the Awami League's assumption of office following the election mandate of 1970.
In the attack dubbed 'Operation Searchlight', the Pakistani forces mercilessly killed the Bangalee members of the East Pakistan Rifles and police, students, teachers and common people.
They killed people indiscriminately, set fire to houses and property, and looted business establishments, leaving a trail of destruction.
Meanwhile, President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages on the occasion.
In his message, the president said the 25th March mass killing is a black chapter not only in Bangladesh but also in the history of the world humanity.
"The mass killing carried out by the Pakistani army on the soil of Bengal was the most barbaric genocide in the 20th century," he said.
With deep respect, the president recalled Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as Bangladesh got independence through a nine-month armed freedom war under his leadership. Abdul Hamid also remembered the 25th March martyrs, four national leaders and freedom fighters.
Noting that the terrible killings committed by the Pakistani occupation forces and their local agents is a stigmatised chapter, the president said Bangladesh has been able to remove the stigma to some extent through the trial of those who had been involved in crimes against humanity during the Liberation War.
Hamid urged all, irrespective of their views, creed and caste, to join the journey of establishing a non-communal and democratic Bangladesh being imbued with the spirit of the Liberation War and democratic values by firmly upholding the spirit and ideologies of Bangabandhu.
In her message, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said Pakistani forces and their local agents Razakar, Al-Badr and Al-Shams members carried out the cruel carnage across the country and killed some 30 lakh people in the nine months following the dark night.
There is no example of killing so many people in such a short time, she said.
Hasina said Bangabandhu declared the independence of Bangladesh just before he was arrested in the early hours of March 26. The declaration was spread throughout the country through the erstwhile EPR wireless and teleprinters and telegraph.
Responding to the call of Bangabandhu, the Bengalee nation earned the final victory on December 16, 1971 through a nine-month bloody Liberation War.
The prime minister said the 1971 genocide carried out in Bangladesh is one of the most terrible ones in the world.
On the democracy killing day, she pays tributes to Greatest Bangali of all time and Father of Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and recalled the four national leaders.
Hasina also pays homage to 30 lakh martyrs and two lakh repressed women and prayed for salvation of all the martyrs.
Awami League is marking the day through holding discussions, rallies and photo exhibitions across the country.
The ruling party is set to arrange a discussion at 4:00pm at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre here. AL President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will address the discussion as the chief guest.
AL General Secretary and Road and Transport Minister Obaidul Quader urged his party leaders and activists to observe the day with arrangement of discussions, rallies and photo exhibitions across the country, said a press release.
Besides, the 'Blackout' programme is set to be observed by people spontaneously by switch their light off at 9:00pm, but the government will not suspend power supply.
However, the establishments of emergency services have remained out of the purview of the programme.
Home Ministry sources said additional security measures have been taken on the occasion.
Besides, measures will be taken to maintain security at Savar National Mausoleum, Martyr Intellectual Memorial at Rayerbazar and Suhrawardy Udyan as the nation will also celebrate the Independence Day on Monday.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will lead the nation in paying tributes to the martyrs of the Liberation War by placing wreaths at the National Memorial in Savar on Monday the morning, marking the day.