The nation observes great Shaheed Day or Martyrs Day today (Tuesday) through paying homage to the valiant sons of the soil who laid down their lives in the historic Language Movement with patriotic zeal and fresh pledge to realise their dream of a self-reliant, prosperous motherland, reports UNB.
The world community will observe February 21 as International Mother Language Day in recognition of the Bengali nation's supreme sacrifice to the cause of their mother tongue.
This day in 1952, the Pakistani police opened fired on students of Dhaka University (DU) staging demonstrations near the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) to press for the recognition of Bengali as a state language of Pakistan. Barkat, Rafiq, Salam, Jabbar, Shafiur and many others laid down their lives, forcing the Pakistani junta to declare Bangla as a state language of Pakistan.
The historic language movement paved the way for culmination of the Bengali nation's long-drawn struggle in the war of independence in 1971 through the bloodstained Education Movement in 1962, the Six-Point Movement in 1966 and Mass Upsurge in 1969 against Ayub Khan's military regime.
President Iajuddin Ahmed, Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and Leader of the Opposition Sheikh Hasina gave separate messages on the day.
The nation has already started paying floral tributes to the language martyrs at the Central Shaheed Minar from midnight of Monday amid the historic theme song 'Amar Bhaier Roktay Rangano Ekushey February, Ami Ki Bhulite Pari' (21st February stained with my brothers' blood, can I forget?)
President Iajuddin Ahmed led the nation to pay the homage by placing wreaths at zero hours. He was followed by Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, the Speaker and the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Sheikh Hasina.
The day is a holiday. The national flag will fly half-mast and black flag will be hoisted at government offices and private offices and buildings to show respect to the language martyrs.
The authorities have deployed about 7,000 to 8,000 security personnel at the Central Shaheed Minar and its surrounding places to maintain peace and discipline, as the entire area in and around the Dhaka University will turn into a human sea.
Besides CCTV (close circuit cameras), night vision and video cameras of police and RAB have been installed for the first time for scanning the Central Shaheed Minar and its adjacent areas.
Various political parties, professional, social and cultural organisations have drawn up elaborate programmes, including discussions and cultural shows, in observance of the day.
Newspapers will bring out supplements and radio and television channels put up special programmes highlighting the significance of Amar Ekushey.
Meanwhile, a month-long Ekushey Book Fair, alongside cultural functions reflecting Bengali literature, culture and tradition, is underway at the Bangla Academy.
The police in late-night raids rounded up 25 outsiders from four halls of the Dhaka University, as security is being tightened ahead of the Language Martyrs Day, official sources said Monday.
They said police swooped on Jagannath, Johurul Haq, Salimullah and Suryasen halls of the university at 2:00am and held 19 from Jagannath hall and six others from the remaining halls.
"The raid was conducted as part of the special security measures taken ahead of February 21," said a source.
However, the arrested persons were released Monday noon.