Homage paid, unity urged
The nation celebrated the 47th Victory Day yesterday paying rich tributes to the Liberation War martyrs with a call for unity to build a country free from militancy, extremism and communalism.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid homage to the gallant martyrs who made supreme sacrifices to liberate the country from the Pakistani occupation force in 1971.
Dressed in red and green, colours of the national flag, people from all walks of life poured on to the streets to join different programmes to celebrate the day.
On this day in 1971, the Pakistan Army surrendered to the allied forces of Bangladesh and India in the capital's Suhrawardy Udyan after nine months of war during which three million people were killed, two lakh women were raped and around 10 million people took refuge in India.
Rafiqul Amin of Dhaka's Dhamrai upazila said, “We want a peaceful country which would be free from militancy.”
The 30-year-old along with his wife and two-year-old son visited the National Memorial in Savar to pay respect to the martyrs.
Abdul Nayeem, a garment worker from Savar, said, “We want peace in the country so that we can earn our living.”
Like Rafiqul and Nayeem, thousands of people, socio-political and cultural activists thronged the National Memorial and other monuments across the country, remembering the supreme sacrifice of the war heroes.
They called upon political leaders to work for eliminating all forms of discrimination from the society and run the country in the spirit of the Liberation War.
The day's events began with a 31-gun salute at the National Parade Square at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar.
The Jatiya Sangsad Speaker, acting chief justice, leader of the opposition, ministers, lawmakers, freedom fighters, diplomats and top civil and military officials also paid respect to the martyrs.
Later in the day, the president as the chief guest took salute at an attractive Victory Day Parade at the National Parade Square. The parade was organised under the auspices of the 9th Infantry Division of Bangladesh Army with supervision of the armed forces, reports BSS.
Different contingents of Bangladesh Army, Navy, Air Force, Border Guard Bangladesh, law enforcement agencies and various ministries participated in the parade.
The prime minister witnessed the attractive parade, spectacular fly-past, aerobatic display and armoury acquisitions of different regiments and contingents of the armed forces.
At the Gono Bhaban, the PM released the memorial postal stamp of Tk 10 and its first day cover, issued by Bangladesh Postal Department marking the Victory Day. She also released a Tk 5 data card and a souvenir.
In the afternoon, President Abdul Hamid hosted a reception at the Bangabhaban. The prime minister was also present, reports UNB.
The president along with his wife and the premier exchanged greetings with the guests and war-wounded freedom fighters.
Different political parties and organisations, including the BNP, Communist Party of Bangladesh, Workers Party of Bangladesh, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, Revolutionary Workers Party of Bangladesh, Gonoforum, Bhashani Oikya Jote, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Dhaka University, Jahangirnagar University, Bangla Academy and Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, paid tributes to the Liberation War martyrs by placing wreaths at the National Memorial.
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia along with her party leaders and activists paid homage to the martyred freedom fighters by placing wreaths at the memorial.
Abdul Alim along with his wife and two children went to the memorial in Savar from Gazipur. The 38-year-old said, “I think people should know the history of the Liberation War. And for this reason, I have brought my children here today [yesterday].”
Physically challenged Raju Chandra Sutradhar, aged about 14, also went to the National Memorial with an around 50-member team of Centre for the Rehabilitation for the Paralysed (CRP). He has been undergoing treatment at the CRP for more than a year.
Talking to The Daily Star, he said, “We dream of a better Bangladesh as cherished by martyred freedom fighters.”
The Dhaka district police and Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy jointly hosted a day-long cultural event at an open stage near the National Memorial. A blood donation programme and a photo exhibition were also organised by the Dhaka police there.
In the capital, the Sector Commanders' Forum arranged a programme at Shadhinota Chattar inside Suhrawardy Udyan. Different cultural organisations from in and outside Dhaka performed songs, dances and recited poems at the event.
Leaders of the forum along with eminent personalities also handed over the national flag to a group of youth people, who are the future nation builders.
Students of the theatre and performance studies department of Dhaka University staged a play that resembled the historic surrender of the Pakistani occupation force on December 16, 1971, at the then Race Course ground.
Bangladesh Academy for Rural Development; Bangladesh Rice Research Institute; Bangladesh Ansar and VDP; Islamic University; Patuakhali Science and Technology University; Rangamati Science and Technology University; Institute of Architects Bangladesh; Socialist Party of Bangladesh; Oikkyo Nap; Barisal Reporters Unity; Bangladesh Shishu Academy and Shahid Zia Smriti Sangsad also organised different programmes marking the day.
Bangladesh embassies and missions abroad, various educational institutions, and government, non-government, political, social and cultural organisations celebrated the Victory Day with different programmes.
The day was a public holiday. National dailies brought out special supplements and the electronic media aired special programmes. Different government and non-government offices and establishments were illuminated at night.
Our correspondent in Savar contributed to this report.