Vol. 5 Num 553 Fri. December 16, 2005  
Front Page

V-Day back with call for war on militancy

The nation today celebrates the 34th anniversary of the glorious victory in the Liberation War with a fresh call for re-igniting the spirit of 1971 to combat the rise of Islamist militancy in the country.

This year the Victory Day will be celebrated from a different perspective due to the rise in religious militancy and continuing bomb terrorism. With the public fear mounting high, different social and cultural organisations have been forced to curtail their celebration programmes due to lack of security.

However, despite the panicky situation across the country, people from all walks of life are to pay homage to the Liberation War martyrs and take a fresh vow to resist evil forces unitedly.

On this day in 1971, the nation achieved the final victory against the Pakistani occupation forces under the leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman through a long movement for autonomy, nine-month long struggle for independence and, above all, an armed war for liberation.

President Prof Dr Iajuddin Ahmed, Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and Leader of the Opposition Sheikh Hasina have greeted the countrymen on the auspicious occasion.

President Iajuddin Ahmed was to lead the nation in paying the homage at the National Mausoleum at Savar in the early hours, followed by the prime minister and her cabinet colleagues.

The national flag is hoisted atop all government and semi-government offices as well as public and private buildings. The capital and other cities have already worn festive looks with national flags and festoons.

Special prayers will be offered at mosques, temples, churches and other worship places, seeking divine blessings for peace and progress of the country. Television channels and Bangladesh Betar are airing special programmes while newspapers have brought out supplements on the day.

Meanwhile, the government has taken strict security measures to avert any terror incident on the day. All the venues including the National Mausoleum at Savar, Bangabandhu Stadium and Bangabhaban have been put under tight security.

Police, Rapid Action Battalion and other law enforcement agencies have been directed to keep round-the-clock vigilance at the programmes of the national day, home ministry sources said.

Leaders of the organisations that have curtailed their victory day celebration programmes said they have cut their programmes considering the mounting public insecurity with the government failing to ensure safety of people's lives in the face of militant attacks.

Every year, varieties of programmes including discussion, film show and exhibition of documentaries on the Liberation War, musical soiree, drama, dance and recitation at the Central Shaheed Minar in the capital and elsewhere in the country generally begin the celebration from the first day of December. These programmes highlight the spirit of the war and recall the supreme sacrifice of the martyrs for the liberation of the motherland.

This year, however, such programmes are not being held as yet.

Sammilita Sangskritik Jote (SSJ), a leading cultural body, has taken up a three-day programme this year instead of its regular 15-day arrangement due to the rising militancy in the country.

Bangabandhu Sangskritik Jote, Projanma Ekattur, Amra Muktijoddhar Santan, Bulbul Lalitakala Academy and Progotishil Chhatra Jote also curtailed their programmes.

The hard-earned independence was for the emancipation of the Bangalees as it was based on their own cultural heritage which is basically secular in nature.

It is a matter of soul searching why Bangladesh has moved away from its base of building a secular state and failed to bring economic freedom of its people.

One reason may be the killing of the war heroes. Killings of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the four national leaders who supervised the Liberation War in 1971 and the four sector commanders have been great loss for the country. These great fighters had been killed in the first decade of the country's independence which obviously created opportunity for those who did not want Bangladesh to emerge.

The erosion began following the assassination of Bangabandhu with the change in the 1972 constitution when military rulers scrapped the secular nature of the state and later declared Islam as state religion. Such moves facilitated establishment of the fundamentalists, like Jamaat-e-Islami, politically and socially, and finally won for them share of the state power.

On the rising militancy, many pro-liberation forces and freedom fighters are now pointing finger to Jamaat for patronising the militants. The extremist forces have targeted pro-liberation forces for their attacks, from political rallies to cultural programmes to celebration of Bangla New Year. The same forces that had killed hundreds of thousands of people during the Liberation War in the name of saving Islam, are now allegedly carrying out similar massacre in the name to establishing the rule of Islam.

But, hopes never die. In 1971, it was a unique time when Bangalees were united in one dream, irrespective of their political or other affiliations. The nation defeated the heavily equipped Pakistani military forces. They are now determined to be united once again to eliminate the religious militants who have become a threat to the country.

Jubilant crowd hails a band of the victorious Mukti Bahini entering Dhaka on a pick up truck on the Victory Day in 1971. PHOTO: File Photo