Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– Bangladesh celebrated the 44th Independence and National Day on Wednesday with a fresh vow to turn the country into a peaceful and non-communal one  to materialise dreams of the martyrs.

People from all walks of life paid glowing tributes to the martyrs of the 1971 Liberation War amid various programmes and placing wreaths at the National Mausoleum, Savar, marking the day.

On this day in 1971, the unarmed valiant Bangalees of the then East Pakistan burst into a flame to resist the Pakistani occupation forces who unleashed the worst genocide in the world’s history to suppress them.

The peace-loving people took up arms as their paramount leader, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, declared independence on March 26.

After the nine-month war with the supreme sacrifice of three million people and the loss of chastity of 0.2 million women, Bangladesh gained independence on December 16, 1971.

On the occasion, President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid rich tributes to the war heroes by placing wreaths at the National Mausoleum.
 After placing the wreaths, both the president and the prime minister stood there in solemn silence for sometime as a mark of respect to the memories of the martyrs of the 1971 Liberation War.
A smartly-turned out contingent drawn from the army, navy and air force gave salute as the bugle played the last post at that time.
Later, the prime minister placed a wreath at the National Mausoleum on behalf of Bangladesh Awami League.
BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia, flanked by her party senior leaders, also paid homage to the freedom fighters by placing wreaths at the national monument around 9:00 am (local time).

The day was a public holiday.
The government, different political parties, socio-cultural organisations and professional bodies held various programmes to mark the day.
The national flag was hoisted atop government and private buildings while the government and semi-government buildings and other public places were illuminated on the auspicious occasion.
Special prayers were offered at mosques, temples, churches and pagodas, seeking divine blessings for the departed souls of the martyrs as well as peace, stability and progress of the country.

Ruling Awami League and BNP took up elaborate programmes to mark the Independence and National Day.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh created a history through a spectacular ‘Lakho Kanthe Sonar Bangla’ programme where nearly three lakh people sang the national anthem in unison at the National Parade Ground in the capital Dhaka, eying to have its name in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina along with her cabinet members, MPs, politicians, cultural personalities, workers and students joined the programme and sang ‘Amar Sonar Bangla’ in chorus.

Also on the occasion, President Abdul Hamid and his wife Rashida Khanom hosted a reception at Bangabhaban.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury and former President and Prime Minister’s special envoy HM Ershad and valiant freedom fighters and family members of Birshreshtha gallantry awards, among others, joined the reception at the lawn of the presidential palace.

Earlier, the President, the Prime Minister and the BNP chairperson had issued separate messages on the occasion.

BBN/SSR/AD-26Mar14-10:31 pm (BST)