Vol. 5 Num 295 Sat. March 26, 2005  
Front Page

Nation celebrates 35th Independence Day

The nation celebrates today the 35th Independence Day and National Day to pay tributes to the three million martyrs, who sacrificed their lives for independence, with fresh pledge to build a happy and prosperous society to materialise their dream.

On March 26, 1971, independence of Bangladesh was formally declared, leading to the nine-month Liberation War against the Pakistani occupation forces and resulting in the emergence of a sovereign state on the global map.

Thousands of peace loving Bangalees in the then East Pakistan on this day took up arms against the highly-trained Pakistani military for freedom as Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman declared the country's independence on March 26.

After the occupation army brutally cracked down on the unarmed Bangalees on the night of March 25, they joined all-out guerrilla warfare for independence under the leadership of Bangabandhu.

After many years of political and economic exploitation, the Bangalees' nationalist sentiments paved the way for the massive victory of the Awami League led by Bangabandhu in the 1970 Pakistan national elections.

The Pakistani junta in the then West Pakistan however refused to hand over power to the then East Pakistanis. They stalled installation of the newly elected parliament and started ethnic genocide aimed at extinguishing all signs of Bangalee nationalist movement.

In the face of this, the inevitable declaration of independence came on March 26.

Bangalee policemen and paramilitary and army personnel had defected from the West and trained the general public, who took up arms to fight for freedom.

They had fought without proper food, shelter, training and arms and ammunition. But it was their determination to free the motherland and the all-out support of the people that had led to victory.

But for the last three and a half years, Jamaat-e-Islami, which had opposed the Liberation War and helped Pakistani military forces kill freedom fighters and intellectuals, has been enjoying the state power.

Even two of its leaders, known to be involved in anti-liberation activities in 1971, are now in the cabinet.

The day's celebrations begin with 31 gun salutes at dawn.

President Iajuddin Ahmed and Prime Minister Khaleda Zia will lead the nation in paying tributes to the martyrs of the Liberation War by placing wreaths at the National Memorial in Savar early in the morning.

Leaders of the ruling and opposition parties, socio-political organisations, freedom fighters and people of all walks of life will then place wreaths at the memorial.

The national flag will be hoisted atop public and private buildings. Important public buildings will be illuminated tonight to give them a dazzling look.

The president will take salute at a ceremonial march-past by contingents of freedom fighters, armed forces, BDR, police, BNCC and Ansar-VDP at the National Parade Ground in the capital at 9:00am. The prime minister will also attend the function.

Armed forces' bands will play patriotic songs at different city points to entertain the public. Army band will perform at the Crescent Lake point, Navy at the Farmgate and Airforce at the Second National Stadium, Mirpur point from 3:00pm to 5:00pm.

A number of navy ships will remain open to public at Sadarghat in Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna, Mongla port and Barisal from 2:00pm to 5:30pm.

To mark the day, the ruling BNP has taken up a 10-day programme that includes placing wreaths at the national memorial and mazar of late president Ziaur Rahman. The BNP also brings out an Independence Day rally from its party office at 4:00pm today.

The Awami League (AL) will bring out an Independence Day rally at 3:00pm in front of its party office on Bangabandhu Avenue.

Other political parties, social and cultural organisations have chalked out separate programmes to mark the day.

President Iajuddin Ahmed, Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and Leader of the Opposition Sheikh Hasina in separate messages have paid deep respect to the martyrs of the Liberation War.

The president in his message urged all to work selflessly from their respective positions to fulfil the public's basic needs such as food, clothes, shelter, education and healthcare to make independence meaningful.

The prime minister recalled with gratitude the supreme sacrifices of the freedom fighters and contributions of other people at home and abroad during the Liberation War.

She called upon all to be united to build a happy, prosperous, peaceful and free democratic society.

The opposition chief said the desire for achieving political and economic freedom and ensuring justice and democracy has grown among the people after the nation achieved freedom under the leadership of Bangabandhu.

"But the misrule of the BNP-Jamaat-led alliance government is taking the nation towards a disaster," Hasina, also Awami League chief, said. She called upon all to come forward unitedly against the government 'misrule'.

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A woman and two kids light candles in memory of the Liberation War martyrs on the eve of the Independence Day at Muktijuddho Jadughar at Segun Bagicha in the city yesterday. PHOTO: STAR