The nation is all set to pay homage to the martyrs of the language movement of 1952 a minute after midnight past Monday by placing wreaths at shaheed minars across the country amid heightened security.
The Central Shaheed Minar has been decorated for the observance of Shaheed Dibas, or February 21, which has come to be observed as International Mother Language Day since 2000 after an announcement by the UNESCO in November 1999.
On February 21, 1952, a number of students campaigning for the recognition of Bangla as one of the state languages of Pakistan were killed in police firing.
The president, Zillur Rahman, and the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, will place wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar in Dhaka a minute past midnight. The speaker, lawmakers and representative groups of the ruling Awami League will also place flowers later.
The leader of the opposition in the parliament, Khaleda Zia, also the BNP chairperson, will also pay tributes to the language movement martyrs in the first hour of the day.
All the diplomats, language movement heroes, chiefs of the three services and leaders of other
political parties will place wreaths at the Shaheed Minar.
Social, cultural, academic and professional bodies and individuals will also pay homage to the martyrs at the venue. Different organisations will hold programmes marking the day.
AAMS Arefin Siddique, the vice-chancellor of Dhaka University, the custodian of the observance, said that as it happened in previous years, the university had made all the preparations to observe Amar Ekushey.
The Dhaka Metropolitan Police said that it had planned a four-tier security for the observance of Ekushey February.
About 10,000 personnel of the metropolitan police, Armed Police Battalion and Rapid Action Battalion will be deployed in two shifts —from 7:00pm Monday to 5:00am Tuesday and from 5:00am Tuesday to 2:00pm Tuesday, law enforcement officials said.
Several hundred plainclothesmen will be deployed in and around the area, the officials said.
The Special Security Force is keeping an eye on all security arrangement of the Central Shaheed Minar as the main programme will be observed there with the president, the prime minister and other state dignitaries attending, Dhaka University officials said.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police officials held a meeting at the Telecom Auditorium in the Rajarbagh Police Lines on Sunday where they chalked up their preparation, officials said.
The police will set up checkpoints in different strategic places including all entry points to Dhaka University, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, and Dhaka Medical College Hospital premises.
Closed-circuit television cameras will also be installed, the police said. There will be metal detectors and archways installed to the west of the Shaheed Minar.
The people headed for the Shaheed Minar will be frisked at the checkpoints. A buffer barricade will also be set up on Fuller Road and in the Jagannath Hall crossing to control the queue.
The authorities will also set up a control room in the university playground and the Dhaka Metropolitan Police and other agencies will also set up a sub-control room.
Some specialised forces, including women police in riot gears and in plain clothes, detective police, SWAT team and bomb disposal squad will also be deployed. Fire fighters and medical teams will be kept stand-by.
The university proctor, Mohammad Amzad Ali, told New Age on Sunday that they had completed all necessary arrangement to observe the day amid a congenial atmosphere.
More than 800 volunteers, including members of the Bangladesh National Cadet Corps, Rover Scout and Girl Guides, will help the authorities to make the programme successful, he said.
The DMP detailed a route map prepared by the Central Ekushey Observance Coordination Committee, for the people and traffic on the occasion covering about three square kilometres of the Shaheed Minar area.
Traffic will not be allowed on roads passing by the Shaheed Minar between 7:00pm Monday and 4:00pm Tuesday except vehicles with authorised stickers.
The officials said that residents of Nazimuddin Road, Babupura and College Road have been asked to use Dewanbazar Road, Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue, Nilkhet and New Market Gate 1 on their way to the Azimpur graveyard, the officials said.
People coming from Lalbagh, Azimpur, Plassey crossing, Chawkbazar, Bakshibazar, Urdu Road and Dhakeswari Temple area need to travel through the new gate of the graveyard beside Gate 1 of New Market via the Azimpur Road, New Market crossing and Peelkhana Road.
People need to go to the Shaheed Minar through the roads in front of the Sir Salimullah Hall, Jagannath Hall, Supreme Court building, Doyel Square, Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue, TSC crossing, Nilkhet crossing, New Market, Old Railway Road, Azimpur Road, Azimpur crossing and the Palassy crossing. The police have asked people not to put up any pandals on the roads.
The Rapid Action Battalion will install 10 observation posts and deploy some 600 members in the area with three-tier security arrangements, battalion officials said.
The battalion will also deploy some 3,000 of its members to enhance their security patrolling across the country to stave off any unwanted situation.
Source: New Age