Bangladesh observed 42nd Victory Day


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Dhaka, Dec 16—The nation is celebrating the 42nd Victory Day to mark its glorious triumph in the nine-month bloody war against the Pakistani occupation forces in 1971.

On this historic day, it remembers the three million matyrs , who died for the independence for their beloved motherland.

The Victory Day is being celebrated across the country and at all Bangladeshi missions abroad with a fresh vow to uphold the spirit of the hard-earned independence and democracy.

The Day

On this day in 1971, the chief of Pakistan's eastern army, General Amir Aabdullah Khan Niazi, surrendered with the more than 93,000 troops under his command, before the joint forces of Mukti Bahini and the Indian army led by General Jagjit Singh Aurora at the Ramna Race Course (now Suhrawardy Udyan) in Dhaka .

This was the venue where Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had asked Bengalis on March 7 1971 to start the fight for freedom "with whatever (weapons) you have, ahead of his final proclamation of independence of Bangladesh on Mar 25 night . Immediately after that, he was arrested by the Pakistan army and flown out to West Pakistan.

In one of the worst genocides in contemporary history , the Pakistan army aided by their local collaborators killed nearly three million people , mostly unarmed civilians, in the nine months following the crackdown on Mar 25 night..

The Jamaat-e-Islami and some Islamist political parties at that time were accused of collaborating in the genocide by joining Pakistan-raised paramilitary forces like *******, Al-Badr and Al-Shams .

Ceremonies

The day, a declared public holiday, started with a 31-gun salute at dawn in the National Parade Square.

The national flag was hoisted atop all government, semi-government and other important establishments. Important buildings would be illuminated at night.

The government has drawn up an elaborate programme to observe the great Victory Day. The activities include hoisting of the national flag, placing wreaths at the National Memorial, parades, felicitating freedom fighters who have received gallantry awards, public discussions and prayer sessions.

People from different social groups and political, cultural, professional and academic organisations and institutions thronged the National Mausoleum at Savar to pay homage to the heroes of the Liberation War.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will take salute at the Victory Day parade at the National Parade Square on Sunday as President Zillur Rahman will leave for the UK to undergo medical treatment. Traditionally, the President takes salute at the Victory Day parade.

Freedom fighters, army, navy, air force, BNCC, Bangladesh Rifles, Police, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), Ansar-VDP, Coast Guard, Fire Service and Civil Defence will take part in the parade at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar this morning.

Later, the Air Force will perform a fly-past, followed by parachute jumping and other feats.

The Prime Minister placed wreaths at the monument in the morning paying tributes to the martyrs. She was followed by freedom fighters, foreign diplomats and people from all walks of life.

Bangladesh Radio, Bangladesh Television and private radio and television channels will air the parade live from the National Parade Square.

Different political, socio-cultural, professional and academic organisations have also taken up elaborate programmess to mark the Victory Day.

Special prayers will be offered at mosques, temples, churches and other places of worship, seeking divine blessings for peace and progress of the country.

Bangladesh Television, Bangladesh Radio and private television channels will air special programs while newspapers will bring out special supplements on the day. Films and documentaries on the Liberation War would be screened by the TV channels.

Different socio-cultural bodies, including Bangla Academy, Shilpakala Academy, Islamic Foundation and Nazrul Institute, will observe various programmes on the day.

Colourful Victory Day marches will be brought out from different city wards in the afternoon and the marchers will proceed towards Shikha Chirantan (eternal flame) at Suhrawardy Udyan where the Pakistani forces had formally surrendered on this day in 1971.

Special diets would be served in hospitals, jails and orphanages. Children's parks will remain open.

The Messages of the President and Prime Minister

President Zillur Rahman, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament and also the BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and other political leaders issued messages greeting the nation on the eve of the Victory Day and called upon the people to work together to build a democratic and prosperous Bangladesh imbued with the spirit of independence.

President Rahman in his statement extended his sincere felicitations and congratulations to his fellow countrymen living at home and abroad.

"The significance of victory day is of paramount importance to the chequered history of our independence. The historic declaration of independence proclaimed by our great leader Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on Mar 26, 1971 came true on this day through the ultimate victory that put Bangladesh as an independent, sovereign state on the world map."

He paid deep tribute to the valiant freedom fighters who made supreme sacrifices during the Liberation War in 1971 .

"On this very day, I also recall with profound respect the greatest Bangalee of all time Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman."

He also extended his sincere gratitude and appreciations to the valiant freedom fighters and their family members, organisers and supporters of the war of liberation and the people from all strata who directly and indirectly made immense contributions towards achieving victory.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in her message extended her sincere greetings and warm felicitations to all citizens of Bangladesh at home and abroad on the occasion of the 41st Victory Day. She also paid homage to the three million heroic people who died and 200,000 women who lost their honour for freedom.

"The history of our Freedom Fighting is not a casual event. In fact, the freedom struggle in 1971 was the culmination of the struggle of Bangalee nation for twenty four years under the indomitable leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman."

She said that the death sentence to the self-confessed killers of Bangabandhu has already been executed. The re-trial of the killings of four national leaders inside the central jail and trial of war criminals were also underway.

Hasina said that the defeated forces of 1971, Jamaat-Shibir and their cohorts were engaged in fresh conspiracy to obstruct the trial of the heinous criminals. "They are carrying out destructive activities."

She urged the patriotic people of the country to unite and resist the conspiracies of the killers. The present government is committed to holding the trial of all killings and resisting the conspiracy to undermine the rule of law, human rights and democracy, she said.

The Prime Minister said that the nation will celebrate the golden jubilee of Bangladesh's independence in 2021. "Our aim is to build a happy, prosperous and peaceful Bangladesh , a Golden Bangladesh befitting the dream of the Father of the Nation , with the help of all, irrespective of party affiliation, ahead of the golden jubilee, where the rights of every citizen will be preserved."
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