The nation celebrates its 43rd Independence and National Day today to renew its pledge to institutionalise democracy and for a just society for which the nation fought and freedom fighters laid down their lives in 1971.
The lofty dreams of democracy, the rule of the law, political, economic and cultural freedom, and a society free from exploitation and economic disparity inspired the nation to fight for independence of Bangladesh.
The celebration of independence this year is taking place in the backdrop of the post 1971 generation rekindling the spirit of the Liberation War in the hearts of the people.
The young protesters rallied the people at Shahbagh Square seeking justice for the victims of 1971 crimes against humanity perpetrated by the occupation army of Pakistan and its local collaborators.
They demanded banning Jamaat, several leaders of which are facing trial on charges of crimes against humanity and at least two of them have been convicted for the 1971 crimes.
Following declaration of independence on this day
in 1971 the heroic people took up arms and freed
Bangladesh from the clutches of Pakistani occupation army.
The occupation army of Pakistan committed one of the worst genocides in the modern history during the nine-month War of Independence of Bangladesh.
The war culminated in the liberation of Bangladesh on December 16 through the supreme sacrifice of countless.
The nation would pay homage to the valiant sons who gave life for independence.
At the day break, thousands of people would flock to the National Memorial at Savar commemorating the martyrs of the War of Independence.
The day is a public holiday.
A thirty-one gun salute at dawn will herald the day.
The national flag will be flown atop government, semi-government and private buildings.
Acting president Abdul Hamid, prime minister Sheikh Hasina and the leader of the opposition leader Khaleda Zia greeted the nation in separate messages.
Abdul Hamid called for making Parliament a centre of excellence for solving national issues through discussions.
‘Without institutionalising democracy, overall development is difficult to attain. Tolerance, fortitude and respect for others’ opinion are preconditions for democracy,’ he said.
Hamid said ‘It is, therefore, of paramount importance to show patience and forbearance at all levels and to be respectful to others’ views in democratic pluralism.’
Hasina in her message called upon the nation to guard against conspiracies by anti-democratic and anti-liberation forces against the people and democracy.
‘The defeated anti-liberation, sectarian and identified reactionary forces are trying to undo the democratic and development process at a time when our government had executed the verdict of Bangahandhu’s assassination case, and is holding the trial of the war criminals’ she added.
Khaleda Zia paid tributes to the martyrs of the War of Independence.
She said the country repeatedly stumbled in achieving the goal of democracy in its true sense.
Repeated interference from the fascist and autocrats disrupted the process of democracy, she said.
‘Conspiracies are on to make Bangladesh a client state. Identified national and foreign conspirators are plotting against sovereignty and independence of Bangladesh we got at the cost millions of martyrs,’ she said.
The people have to remain alert to thwart such conspiracies and protect the country’s independence and sovereignty, she said.
The acting president and the prime minister and the leader of the opposition are scheduled to visit the National Memorial at Savar at the daybreak to pay homage to the martyrs of the War of Liberation.
Hasina will take salute from the children at their parade at Bangabandhu National Stadium.
Newspapers will bring out special supplements today.
State-run Bangladesh Television and Bangladesh Betar and private radio and TV channels will air special programmes on Independence Day.
Political, social and cultural organisations have taken their programmes to mark the day.
Public buildings and places will be illuminated and decorated with buntings and festoons.
Improved food will be served in hospitals, jails, orphanages, vagrant homes, Muktijoddha Kendra and charity homes.
The government has tightened security across the country, especially in the capital and its suburbs to foil possible subversive activities.
Rapid Action Battalion has set up check points to assist the police maintain peace and security.
Law enforcement agencies have been directed to keep an eye on guest houses, slums and cri me points in the capital, the police said.
Extra vigilance would be in place on the highways and in border areas, they said.
Closed-circuit TV cameras have been set up at the National Martyrs’ Memorial at Savar.
One square kilometre around the National Memorial will be under security watch.
Ruling Awami League has taken a two-day programme to mark the day.
Today AL will hoist the national flag and the party colours atop Bangabandhu Bhaban and all offices of the party across the country.
AL leaders will lay wreaths at the National Martyrs’ Memorial and at the portrait of the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The ruling party will hold a discussion on the day at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre on Wednesday.
BNP would hoist the national flag and the party colours atop all its offices.
Shahbagh protesters will hold a rally of freedom fighters at Shahbagh at 4 PM today.
Forty two hot-air balloons will be released at 8 PM on the day to celebrate the Independence Day.
Bangladesh missions abroad will hoist the national flag, hold discussions, organise cultural shows, host receptions and bring out special supplements in foreign newspapers.
Leaders of Workers Party, CPB, Gana Forum, Revolutionary Workers Party, Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Mukti Andolan, National Garments Workers’ Federation, Bangabandhu Sangskritik Jote and Bangladesh Mahila Parishad will lay wreaths at the National Martyrs’ Memorial.
Buglers from the three services will perform at different city points.
Bangladesh Navy ships will be open for public view at the riverine ports of Sadarghat and Pagla, Chittagong, Mongla and Khulna ports and Barisal river port.
Border Guard Bangladesh will give a guard of honour at Simanta Gaurab monument.
Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy will hold a cultural show on its premises at 5PM.
Bangla Academy will hold a discussion and cultural show at Rabindra Chhatar on its premises at 4 PM.
Bangladesh Cricket Board will arrange a Swadhinata Dibash Cricket Match at Shere Bangla National Stadium at 6 PM.
Liberation War Museum will hold a cultural show on its premises.
Source: New Age