The grateful nation today paid glowing tributes to the martyrs of the 1952 historic Language Movement, marking 'Amar Ekushey', the Language Martyrs' Day and International Mother Language Day.
The great Language Movement, a significant event in the nation's history, was aimed at establishing the right of the mother tongue as well as protecting self-entity, and culture and heritage.
People from all strata of life paid their deep respects to the heroes of the Language Movement for their supreme sacrifice for achieving the recognition of Bangla as the state language of erstwhile Pakistan, walking barefoot to the Central Shaheed Minar in Dhaka and other Shaheed Minars across the country with wreaths and flowers singing 'Amar bhaiyer rokte rangano Ekushey February'.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina led the nation in paying the homage by placing wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar at one minute past midnight.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina arrived at the Central Shaheed Minar seven minutes before the clock struck12 midnight, while President Abdul Hamid reached the Central Shaheed Minar five minutes before the zero hour.
The President and the Prime Minister proceeded to the altar of the Central Shaheed Minar together in slow pace as the immortal song on Amar Ekushey-'Amar Bhaiyer Rakte Rangano Ekushey February'-- was playing.
The President was the first to lay the wreath at the Central Shaheed Minar. Just after the President, the Prime Minister placed the wreath at the Shaheed Minar.
They stood in solemn silence for some time as a mark of profound respect to the memories of the language heroes.
Ministers, advisers to the Prime Minister, parliament members, the chiefs of the three services, diplomats, senior Awami League leaders, and high civil and military officials were present on the occasion.
Flanked by cabinet members and senior leaders of the party, Sheikh Hasina, also the President of Bangladesh Awami League, later placed another wreath at the Shaheed Minar on behalf of the party.
Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Raushan Ershad along with her party's MPs also paid homage to the Language Movement martyrs by placing wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar in the wee hours.
BNP central leaders, led by its secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and standing committee member Khandaker Mosharref Hossain, went to the Central Shaheed Minar around11:30 amand placed wreaths at its alter.
Different political parties, their associate bodies as well as socio-cultural organisations paid their homage to the language martyrs throughout the day with various programmes.
On February 21, 1952, students and the common people in Dhaka took to the streets in protest against the then Pakistani government's denial of Bangla as the national language and imposition of Urdu as the only official language of Pakistan.
Salam, Barkat, Rafiq, Jabbar and a few other brave sons of the soil were killed in police firing on this day in 1952 when students came out in a procession from the Dhaka University campus breaching section 144 to press home their demand for the recognition of Bangla as a state language of then Pakistan.
Being a source of ceaseless inspiration, Amar Ekushey (Immortal Shaheed Day) inspired and encouraged the nation to a great extent to achieve the right to self-determination and struggle for freedom and the Liberation War.
With the bloodshed passages of Language Movement, the nation got the recognition of Bangla its mother tongue and attained its long-cherished independence under the charismatic leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1971.