The nation celebrated its 53rd Independence Day (March26) with festivity across Bangladesh on Sunday with different programmes held to pay rich tributes to the martyrs of the Liberation War.
The day is a national holiday observed to commemorate and pay respect to those who sacrificed their lives for the nation.
On the occasion, the main programmes were held at the National Martyrs' Memorial located in capital’s outskirt Savar. Besides, tributes were paid to the martyrs by placing floral wreaths at different memorial and Shaheed Minars across the country.
On the occasion, daylong various social, cultural and political programmes were also held across the country. Bangladeshi missions abroad also organised various programmes on the occasion.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid tributes to the martyrs at the Smriti Soudha or the National Martyrs' Memorial of the Liberation War in the first hour of the day.
Earlier, at 5:56am, first President Abdul Hamid and then Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid tribute to the martyrs of the Liberation War by placing wreaths at the altar of the memorial. They observed a moment of silence in memory of the martyrs. They also signed the visitors' book.
Then, one by one, the speaker of the national assembly, the minister of Liberation War, the cabinet secretary, the chiefs of the three armed forces, foreign diplomats and high-ranking military and civilian officials paid tribute to the martyrs at the National Martyrs' Memorial in Savar.
Various political, social, and professional organisations, government-private institutions, schools, colleges, universities and common
people also paid their respect.
On this Day, 53 years ago in 1971, the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman declared the independence of Bangladesh through the then EPR (East Pakistan Rifles) wireless at 00-30 hours on March 26.
In the wake of the military crackdown, Bangabandhu, who became the undisputed leader of the then Pakistan following the massive victory of Awami League in the 1970 general elections, declared the independence at his historic Road-32 residence at Dhanmondi in capital Dhaka.
The great leader also called upon the people to build up strong resistance against the Pakistani barbaric occupation forces.
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 the port city of Chittagong on March 26, 1971.
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 about three million innocent civilians, perpetrated atrocities on two lakh women and burnt down millions of houses across the country during the nine-month bloody war.
On the occasion, the day's programmes began by heralding gun salutes early in the morning as a mark of profound respect to the heroic struggle of this nation, which suffered a protracted subjugation under foreign rules from time to time till achieving their coveted Independence in 1971.
The national flag remained hoisted atop all government, semi-government, autonomous and private buildings with the rises of sun while all streets and important city intersections were decorated with national and multi-coloured miniature flags and festoons.
Bands of different forces played music at different important points in Dhaka. Important buildings and establishments as well as city streets and islands were illuminated with colourful lights.
On the occasion, President M Abdul Hamid and his wife Rashida Khanam hosted a reception at the Bangabhaban on Sunday. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina joined the reception on the lawn of the Bangabhaban at about 5:00pm.
Around 2,500 guests, including cabinet members, advisers, ambassadors and high commissioners of different countries, state ministers, Supreme Court judges, chiefs of the three services, members of parliament, senior political leaders, editors, journalist leaders, senior civil and military officers, academics, business community leaders, artistes, valiant freedom fighters and family members of Birshreshtha gallantry award recipients and distinguished citizens attended the Independence and National Day reception.
President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina cut a cake on the occasion of the day.
They exchanged greetings with the injured freedom fighters and other dignitaries and guests at the function.
National dailies brought out special supplements while Bangladesh Betar, Bangladesh Television, private radio stations and television channels aired special programmes on the Liberation War highlighting the significance of the day.
Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, Bangla Academy, National Museum, Liberation War Museum, Bangladesh Shishu Academy and other social and cultural organisations arranged discussions, cultural programmes and sports competition. Painting competition for children, essay and debate competitions have also been organised.
Liberation War based documentaries and movies were screened at cinema halls across the country.
Receptions programmes accorded to the freedom fighters and the members of martyred freedom fighters were held at city, zila and upazila levels while Bangladesh Postal Office published commemorating postal stamps.
Special prayers were offered at all mosques, temples, churches and other places of worship across the country seeking divine blessings for the eternal peace of the departed souls of Father of the Nation, four national leaders, martyrs of the War of Liberation and all other patriotic sons of the soil.
Improved meals were served to the inmates of hospitals, jails, old homes and orphanage centres to mark the day. The country's all children's parks and museums remained open for all.
Ships of Bangladesh Navy and Coast Guard remained open for public at Chittagong, Khulna, Mongla and Payra ports and Dhaka's Sadarghat, Narayanganj's Pagla, Barisal and Chandpur BIWTA dockside from 9 am to 2 pm on the day.