Nat’l Day never felt this unreal | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 27, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:00 AM, March 27, 2020

Nat’l Day never felt this unreal

As the country stepped into 50 years of its independence yesterday, the nation was all set to celebrate the occasion.

There was an additional appeal because this year marks the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Sadly, there were no fireworks, parades, cultural events or any discussion on the day due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Celebration was limited to a 31-gun salute and hoisting of the national flags.

The thoroughfares or the public offices were not decorated with lights and no national anthem was heard from loudspeakers. It seemed that silence had gripped the capital.

The streets were eerily empty. No Independence Day had been observed this way in the country's   history. Normally, people from all walks of life would pour onto the streets across the country to celebrate the day.

In yesteryears, the national mausoleum in Savar became the main centre for celebration. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered there to pay homage to the martyrs of 1971.

Yesterday, the main gate of the mausoleum remained closed and the authorities refused entry to people who gathered there in the morning.

No floral wreaths were placed in remembrance of the heroes who laid down their lives for the country. All state functions were suspended to prevent public gatherings.

On March 26, 1971, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman declared Bangladesh's independence following a crackdown on unarmed Banglalees at midnight by the Pakistani occupation forces.

After the nine-month Liberation War, Bangladesh achieved its cherished independence on December 16, 1971, with the supreme sacrifices of three million people.

A special munajat was held at the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque yesterday after Zohr prayers to mark the day. Prayers were offered seeking eternal peace of the departed souls of the martyrs of 1971 and Bangabandhu and his family members who were killed on August 15, 1975.

Prayers were also offered seeking relief from the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina addressed the nation on Wednesday on the occasion of Independence and National Day 2020.

The reception at the Bangabhaban marking the day and the Swadhinata Padak award ceremony were also cancelled this year.

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