Vol. 5 Num 617 Wed. February 22, 2006  
Front Page

Ekushey observed

Reaffirming commitment to the spirit of Amar Ekushey, the nation yesterday observed International Mother Language Day and paid a glowing tribute to the language martyrs for their heroics in establishing the right to speak in mother tongue.

People in their thousands thronged the Central Shaheed Minar barefoot and placed floral wreaths, paying homage to the martyrs.

The International Mother Language Day was proclaimed by Unesco's general conference in November 1999 to venerate the supreme sacrifices of language martyrs Salam, Barkat, Rafiq, Jabbar, Shafiq and many others in 1952.

Wearing black badges, people from all walks of life walked to the Central Shaheed Minar as the songs glorifying the historic event that eventually led the nation to independence floated in the air. Unprecedented security measures were taken in and around the Shaheed Minar premises. Different entrances to Dhaka University (DU) campus were swarming with mourners well before the zero hour.

Laying of wreaths began at a minute past midnight and continued until 2:00pm yesterday.

The day was observed elsewhere in the country and different places across the globe including Japan, the UK, Canada, and US in manners matching the solemnity of the occasion.

President Professor Iajuddin Ahmed was the first one to lay wreath at the Shaheed Minar and was soon joined by Prime Minister Khaleda Zia. Both the president and prime minister stood for some time in solemn silence as a mark of respect for the martyrs.

The next were Speaker Barrister Jamiruddin Sircar and Deputy Speaker Akhtar Hamid Siddiqui followed by Mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps Shahta Zarab, DU Vice-chancellor SMA Faiz, representatives of DU Teachers Association (Duta), DU Syndicate and the Senate and ministers and state ministers.

Apart from the diplomats, a number of foreigners living in Dhaka took part in the Ekushey programme in the early hours yesterday.

Leader of the Opposition and Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina accompanied by her party colleagues including Zillur Rahman, Abdul Jalil, Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury, Abdur Razzak, Tofail Ahmed, Suranjit Sengupta, Obaidul Quader and others placed wreaths at 12:15am. She placed three bouquets--one for herself and the other two as the party chief and leader of the opposition in parliament.

No one however placed wreaths on behalf of the ruling BNP or its wings.

Alongside a continuing stream of mourners, different political parties and their front organisations, socio-cultural and professional bodies placed wreaths in turn.

Over 7,000 security personnel drawn from Special Security Forces (SSF), Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) and other intelligence agencies stood guard on and around DU campus that housed the Shaheed Minar. The security measures took effect on the afternoon of February 20.

Volunteers of Bangladesh National Cadet Core (BNCC) led by Major Tawhidul Islam were in charge of security on the premises.

The day was a public holiday. The national flag was hoisted at half-mast at offices of different government, non-government, autonomous and private organisations and houses across the country. Besides, black flags were flown as a sign of mourning.

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

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

State-run Bangladesh Television (BTV), Bangladesh Betar, and private TV channels aired special programmes. BTV telecast the wreath-laying ceremony live from the Shaheed Minar. Newspapers published supplements highlighting the significance of the day. Different national dailies came out on special arrangement, as the day was a public holiday.

Many people including political leaders and cultural activists went to Azimpur graveyard to pay homage to the martyrs.

Communist Party of Bangladesh, Gono Forum, Jatiya Party (JP), Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD), Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh, Workers Party of Bangladesh, Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal (BSD) and its front organisations, Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD), Bangladesh Chhatra League and other student organisations, Supreme Court Bar Association, Dhaka Ainjibi Samity, Jatiya Press Club, Dhaka Reporters Unity, Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists, Dhaka Union of Journalists, Dhaka University Journalists Association, Dhaka Writers Forum, Bangladesh Medical Association, Jatiya Gono Front, Bangladesh Chhatra Union, Jatiya Sramajibi Party, Sramik Karmachari Oikya Parishad, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology(Buet) and its teachers association, Bangladesh Open University, Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University, Independent University, North-South University, Muktijoddha Sangsad, Muktijoddha Sanghati Parishad, Bigyan Chetona Parishad, Amra Muktijoddhar Santan, Muktijuddha Projonmo, Pahari Chhatra Parishad, Prapod, Nazrul Institute, Bangla Academy, Shilpakala Academy, Ain O Salish Kendra, DemocracyWatch were among the organisations laying wreaths at the Shaheed Minar.

Wreaths and bouquets cover the Central Shaheed Minar and its yard in the capital as the nation observes Amar Ekushey and International Mother Language Day yesterday. PHOTO: STAR