Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – Bangladesh observed its 43rd Independence and National Day on Tuesday, paying homage to the martyrs of the War of Liberation of 1971.

On this day in 1971, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman formally declared independence and urged the Bengali nation to liberate the country from the clutches of the Pakistani occupation army.

Unarmed Bangladeshis, who had been attacked and massacred by Pakistani soldiers, started an extensive bush war against the occupation forces.

After the nine-month war with the supreme sacrifice of three million people and modesty of some two lakh women, the Bengali nation achieved the cherished independence on December 16, 1971.

The day was heralded with a thirty-one gun salute at dawn.

Acting President Abdul Hamid Advocate and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina placed wreaths at the National Memorial at Savar at sunrise.

The national flag was hoisted atop government and private buildings, while the government and semi-government buildings and other public places will be illuminated on the auspicious occasion.

Road islands and dividers were decorated with flags and colorful festoons welcoming the Independence Day.

In the capital, Dhaka Metropolitan Police took all-out security measures to maintain the law and order for smooth observance of the day.

The day was a public holiday.

Acting President Abdul Hamid Advocate, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Leader of the Opposition Khaleda Zia issued separate messages, greeting the country’s people on this solemn and joyous occasion.

Different political, social and cultural organizations held different programs to mark the day.

A children’s rally and parade held at Bangabandhu National Stadium in the morning where Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was present at the chief guest.

Special prayers were offered at mosques, temples, churches and pagodas seeking divine blessings for the souls of the martyrs of the War of Liberation, as well as for peace, stability and progress of the country.

Improved diets  were served in hospitals, jails, orphanages and vagrant homes, the Muktijoddha Kendra and other charitable organizations.

National dailies have published special supplements, while state-owned and private televisions and radio stations broadcast special programs highlighting the significance of the day.

BBN/SSR/AD-27Mar13-11:56 pm (BST)