The nation is observing the International Mother Language Day (Amar Ekushey), paying tribute to the language movement martyrs who fought and died on February 21 in 1952 to make mother tongue Bangla a state language.
The whole country is observing the 62nd Martyrs’ Day to commemorate the Language Movement martyrs through various programmes.
In the first hour of the day, President M Abdul Hamid paid homage to language movement martyrs placing floral wreaths at the central Shaheed Minar in the capital at 12:01am.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, also ruling Awami League president, placed wreaths along with her cabinet and party colleagues.
They stood there in silence for a minute in honour of the language heroes.
The Central Shaheed Minar and its adjacent areas on Dhaka University campus got a different look with street paintings and hanging Bangla alphabets from branches of trees and pasting on walls.
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, leaders of other political parties, teachers, students, diplomats and representatives of various organisations, among others, have paid their homage to the martyrs at the Shaheed Minar.
People from all walks of life gathered at the Central Shaheed Minar at midnight with floral wreaths and sang “Amar Bhaiyer Rokte Rangano Ekushey February” in chorus to pay their deepest respects to the heroes of the Language Movement, who sacrificed their lives for the recognition of Bangla as the state language of the then East Pakistan.
On February 21, 1952, Rafiq Uddin Ahmed, Abdul Jabbar, Abul Barkat, Abdus Salam and a nine-year-old boy named Ohiullah embraced martyrdom when police opened fire on a protest rally demanding Bangla as the state language in front of the Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Another Shafiur Rahman died the next day. The protests began against a conspiracy by the then Pakistan leaders to declare Urdu as the only state language.
Marking the day, the Shaheed Minar premises have been redecorated with paintings, buntings and Bangla verses upholding the spirit and sacrifice of the Language Movement.
Tight security was ensured at and around the venue to avert any untoward incident.
The day is also observed across the world, as the Unesco recognised February 21 as the International Mother Language Day on November 17, 1999.
The day is a public holiday. The national flag will fly at half-mast at all government, autonomous and private buildings.
Different socio-political and cultural organizations have chalked out various programmes, including seminars and cultural functions, to observe the Amar (immortal) Ekushey and International Mother Language Day in a befitting manner.
The different newspapers published special supplements marking the day and radio and television channels are airing special programmes on the occasion.
News source: Banglanews