Vol. 5 Num 263 Tue. February 22, 2005  
Front Page

Nation pays homage to language martyrs

The nation yesterday observed the Shaheed Day and International Mother Language Day commemorating the supreme sacrifices of the martyrs of February 21 in 1952 to uphold the dignity of the mother language, Bangla.

Following UNESCO's declaration of February 21 as the International Mother Language Day in 1999, 188 countries of the world now observe the day.

Thousands of barefoot people wearing black badges and singing the melancholic chorus "Amar bhaiyer rakte rangano Ekushey February, ami ki bhulite pari," walked to the Central Shaheed Minar and placed wreaths there in the early hours.

President Iajuddin Ahmed led the nation in paying tributes to the martyrs and placed wreaths after the clock struck one minute past twelve. Prime Minister Khaleda Zia followed and both the president and the prime minister stood for sometime in solemn silence.

Then Speaker Jamiruddin Sircar and Deputy Speaker Akhtar Hamid Siddiqui, Dhaka City Mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps Shahta Zarab, Dhaka University (DU) Vice Chancellor (VC) Prof SMA Faiz and ministers and state ministers placed wreaths.

Leader of the Opposition and Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina, accompanied by top party leaders, placed wreaths at 12:15am.

Immediately after Sheikh Hasina left the Shaheed Minar premises, hundreds of people entered the Shaheed Minar from both the entrance and exit points, hampering placing of wreaths for about 10 minutes.

Doctor's Association of Bangladesh (Dab) and some other pro-government socio-cultural organisations and employees union of Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) entered the Shaheed Minar from the exit point in violation of the rules, but the law enforces did not put any barricade.

Later the DU VC with the help of law enforcers and Bangladesh National Cadet Corps (BNCC) brought the situation under control.

People from all walks of life including political parties, socio-cultural organisations, students and professional bodies stood in a long queue to place wreaths at the foot of the Shaheed Minar.

Over 7,000 security personnel including Special Security Forces, Rapid Action Battalion and intelligence agencies guarded the Shaheed Minar premises and all the roads leading there from the early evening on February 21.

The day was a public holiday and the national flag was kept half-mast. Black flags were hoisted atop government, semi-government, autonomous and non-government organisation buildings and private houses across the country.

President Iajuddin Ahmed, Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and Opposition Leader Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages on the day.

Different government and non-government, socio-cultural and political organisations took elaborate programmes to observe the day.

State-run Bangladesh Television (BTV) telecast the wreaths-placing programme live from the Central Shaheed Minar and Bangladesh Betar aired special programmes.

Private satellite channels also telecast special programmes on the occasion.

Newspapers published special supplements highlighting the significance of the day. Many dailies also arranged publication of today's issue on special arrangement as the day was a public holiday.

Among the hundreds of organisations who placed wreaths at the Shaheed Minar were Dhaka University Journalists' Association, Dhaka City Corporation, Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal, AL-backed Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh, Gono Forum, Jatiya Press Club, Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists, Dhaka Reporters' Unity, Crime Reporters' Association, Bangladesher Workers' Party, Samajtantrik Chhatra Front, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD), JSD-backed BCL, Bhasha Shaheed Abdul Jabbar Parishad, Shaheed Barkat Parishad, Ekattarer Ghatak-Dalal Nirmul Committee, Bangladesh Udichi Shilpi Gosthi, Tripura Students' Forum-Bangladesh, Bangladesh Marma Students' Council, Bangladesh Chhatra Moitree, Pahari Chhatra Parishad, Progotishil Chhatra Jote, Bangladesh Chhatra Union, Dhaka Mahanagari Rickshaw Chalak Kalyan Samity, Bangladesh Muktijoddha Sangshad, Bangladesh Muktijoddha Sangshad Kendrio Command, Zia Sangskritik Sangathan, Sramik Krishak Samajbadi Dal, Bangladesh Buddhist Federation, Panacea Foundation, Bangladesh Chhatra Federation, Biplobi Chhatra Maitree, Dhaka University Film Society, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Bangladesh Christian Association and many other political, socio-cultural and student organisations, educational institutions, families and individuals.

President Iazuddin Ahmed and Prime Minister Khaleda Zia observe one minute of silence after placing wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar on the stroke of midnight Monday. PHOTO: STAR