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Nation pays homage to language martyrs

Published : Friday, 21 February, 2020 at 12:00 AM  Count : 845

President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stand in solemn silence after placing wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar at one minute past midnight last night.	PHOTO: PID

President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stand in solemn silence after placing wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar at one minute past midnight last night. PHOTO: PID

President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina led the nation in paying homage to the martyrs of the historic Language Movement by placing wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar at one minute past midnight last night on the occasion of Amar Ekushey and the International Mother Language Day.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina arrived at the Shaheed Minar few minutes before the clock struck 12 midnight, while President Abdul Hamid reached the Central Shaheed Minar five minutes before the zero hour. 

President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina 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.  Speaker, Deputy Speaker, ministers, advisers to the Prime Minister, parliament members, the chiefs of the three services, diplomats, senior Awami League leaders, high civil and military officials were present on the occasion. 

On his arrival at the Shaheed Minar, the President was received by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Vice Chancellor of Dhaka University Prof Dr Md Akhtaruzzaman.

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.

Different political parties, their front organisations as well as socio-cultural organisations have drawn up various programmes to pay their homage to the language martyrs all day long.

As BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia is in jail, the party leaders did not go to the Shaheed Minar at night. They along with party leaders and activists were scheduled to gather in front of Balaka Cinema Hall around 6:30am and then go to Azimpur Graveyard.

Later, they would go to the Central Shaheed Minar to pay homage to the Language Movement heroes.

Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies took all-out security measures in and round the Central Shaheed Minar to ensure smooth observance of Amar Ekushey.

It's February 21 today, the Amar Ekushey. On the day of February 21 in 1952, thousands of students of schools, colleges and universities and several ordinary people had brought out processions violating Section 144 against the decision of the-then Pakistani government to declare 'Urdu' as the state language instead of Bangla.

The Pakistani occupation forces fired on the procession, which was brought out demanding same status of state language for Bangla, claiming many lives including that of Rafique, Jabbar, Barkat and Salam and fatally injuring some others. Their death breathed fire into the language movement.

The nation will observe the 68th Language Martyrs' Day, which is now recognized as 'International Mother Language Day', to commemorate the language movement martyrs through various programmes.

The nation will pay glowing tributes to the language movement martyrs, who laid down their lives for the recognition of Bangla as a state language on this day 68 years ago.

Humming 'Amar Bhaiyer Rokte Rangano Ekushey February...', thousands of Bangalees thronged the Central Shaheed Minar in the capital and elsewhere across the country in the early hours today to pay homage to the language heroes.

With Bangladesh, 193 countries across the globe will observe the day, as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on November 17 of 1999, declared February 21 as the International Mother Language Day.

Amar Ekushey, the International Mother Language Day, is now an occasion to ponder the significance or the current relevance of the sacrifices made by language martyrs 68 years ago.

President Md. Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina have given separate statements marking celebration of the Amar Ekushey.

The day is a public holiday. The national flags will be hoisted half-mast in all educational institutions and government, semi-government and autonomous offices in respect for the language martyrs.

To mark the day, the Central Shaheed Minar and its adjacent areas on Dhaka University campus wore a colourful look with street paintings and graffiti with Bangla alphabets and verses about mother languages on the walls.

Barefooted, hundreds marched on to pay respects. Donning black and white, the words of the all-too familiar song 'Amar Bhaiyer Rokte Rangano Ekushey February...', touched their lips, a bittersweet remembrance of a momentous time.

Bangladesh Betar and Bangladesh Television and private radio stations and television channels will air special programmes on the occasion.

Throughout the country, people will observe the day through holding various programmes.

What began with an agitation programme by some students on the Dhaka University campus on December 6 in 1947 in protest at discussions in different government forums about making Urdu the state language, reached its climax on the morning of February 21 of 1952.

The students of schools, colleges and universities along with ordinary people under the leadership of Abdul Matin and Gaziul Haque gathered on the DU campus near Dhaka Medical College Hospital, violating Section 144 imposed by the-then government on that day to restrict assembly and protest programmes. But, the procession brought out was fired upon by police.

Finally, the Pakistan government was compelled to include an article in the country's constitution on February 29, 1956 that declared, "The state languages of Pakistan shall be 'Urdu' and 'Bengali'."

Ekushey planted the seed of freedom in the hearts of Bangalees and 19 years later, an independent country named 'Bangladesh' was born in 1971 with the same spirit to ensure basic rights of the Bangalees.

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