Bangladesh is observing its 50th Independence Day on Thursday, however, this year the government cancelled all programs as the country is fighting to contain the transmission of novel coronavirus, Covid-19.
On March 26, 1971, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman declared Bangladesh's independence following the crackdown on unarmed Bengalis on the midnight of March 25 by Pakistani occupation forces.
After a nine-month War of Liberation with the supreme sacrifices of three million people and the honour of 200,000 women, Bangladesh finally achieved its independence on December 16, 1971.
On the eve of the day, President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave separate messages extending heartfelt greetings and warm felicitations to the countrymen living both at home and abroad, reports BSS.
President Abdul Hamid in his message said: “Being imbued with the spirit of the Liberation War let it be the pledge in Mujib Year to turn our country into Sonar Bangla by completing the unfinished tasks of Bangabandhu.
“The golden jubilee of our independence will be observed in 2021 with great enthusiasm. Bangladesh will enter into a new chapter - a new horizon. With the concerted efforts of all, let our beloved motherland be a poverty-free developed one, it is my expectation on Independence Day.”
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina in her message said: “By implementing our Vision-2021, Vision-2041 and Delta Plan-2100, we have been working relentlessly to build a hunger-poverty-free developed-prosperous Bangladesh as envisioned by the Father of the Nation.
“Let us unite in the spirit of the great War of Liberation and maintain the continuation of development and democracy by facing any sort of conspiracy. Let us transform Bangladesh into a safe and peaceful home for our next generation. This should be our firm commitment on the Independence Day.”
Paying tributes to the martyrs and veterans of the War of Liberation at the national mausoleum at Savar has been suspended.
Usually on that day, President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina place wreaths early in the morning as a mark of profound respect to the memories of the martyrs. But this year, all programmes have been suspended.
The day is a public holiday.
Different political parties as well as socio-cultural and professional organisations have also suspended all programmes to avoid public gathering and maintain social distancing following the directives of the government as well as the World Health Organization (WHO).
Every year, the March 26 brings the most tragic reminiscence of the history’s blackest episode that heralded a nine-month bloody ordeal from the night of March 25, 1971, achieving the long-cherished independence on December 16 the same year at the cost of a sea of blood.
In the wake of the military crackdown, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who became the undisputed leader of the then Pakistan following the massive victory of his party, Awami League, in the 1970 general elections, declared the independence of Bangladesh through the then EPR (East Pakistan Rifles) wireless at 00-30 hours on March 26 (the night following March 25) in 1971 at his historic Road-32 residence at Dhanmondi in Dhaka.
The great leader also called upon the people to build up strong resistance against the Pakistani barbaric occupation forces.
The Pakistani military junta, in a bid to stop the legitimate movement of the Bangalees, arrested Bangabandhu on that night following his declaration of independence.
Later, Bangabandhu was taken to the then West Pakistan where he had to spend nine months in a dark condemned cell.
Bangabandhu wrote down the declaration of independence soon after the Pakistani army cracked down on the fateful night of March 25, 1971.
The declaration of independence was soon put on air by wireless. The declaration was first broadcast by Awami League leader MA Hannan from Kalurghat Radio Station in port city of Chittagong on March 26, 1971.
However, on March 27, 1971, the then Major Ziaur Rahman announced the proclamation of independence on behalf of great leader Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman from the same radio station.
The Pakistani military junta in their monstrous outburst unleashed a bloody holocaust breaking the silence of the night following March 25 in 1971 when they mercilessly killed hundreds of innocent sleeping Bangalees, including teachers, students, police, soldiers, pedestrians and rickshaw-pullers, here.
The nation soon launched the War of Liberation at the call of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in the early hours of March 26.
Bangladesh emerged as an independent and sovereign country on December 16, 1971 with the surrender of the Pakistani occupation forces, who killed three million innocent civilians, perpetrated atrocities on two lakh Bangalee women and burnt down lakhs of houses across the country during the nine-month bloody war.