Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – The nation celebrated the 41st Victory Day on Friday with a slogan for expediting the trial of those committed crimes against humanity during the Liberation War in 1971.

People from all walks of life defied the cold of the winter morning to hit the road to march towards monuments built in memory of the national heroes.

Streets were flooded with the enthusiastic people carrying banners of different political, social, cultural and professional organizations, and singing patriotic songs.

President Zillur Rahman, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Leader of the Opposition Khaleda Zia in their separate messages greeted the nation on the auspicious occasion.

Special prayers were offered in mosques, temples, churches and other worships places, seeking divine blessings for peace and progress of the country.

Bangladesh missions abroad also celebrated the Victory Day with similar programs.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina placed wreaths at the National Martyrs Memorial in Savar paying their rich tributes to the martyrs.

After placing the wreaths, she stood in solemn silence for some time as a mark of profound respect to the memories of the martyrs of the Great War of Liberation in 1971.

The bugle played the last post and a smartly turned out contingent of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force presented state salute on the occasion.

The speaker, chief justice, deputy speaker, ministers, advisers to the prime minister, state ministers, chief whips, members of parliament, chiefs of three services, diplomats, high civil and military officials, freedom fighters, other dignitaries and senior leaders of Awami League were present.

Opposition leader Khaleda Zia on Friday paid glowing tributes to the freedom fighters who made the supreme sacrifice during the Liberation War in 1971 for the country’s independence.

Khaleda Zia along with her party leaders and workers placed wreaths at the National Mausoleum in Savar on the outskirts of the capital at 7:35 am (local time) marking the country’s 40th anniversary of independence.

She stood for a few moments in solemn silence to pay respect to the martyred freedom fighters. Later, Khaleda drove to the mazar of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) founder late President Ziaur Rahman at the city’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar.

A 31-gun salute heralded the day at dawn. Political parties, different socio-cultural organizations and institutions placed wreaths at the memorial.

The national flag was hoisted atop all government, semi-government and other important establishments. The day was a public holiday.

Different political and socio-cultural organizations passed the day with various programs reflecting the spirit of the Liberation War.

Newspapers published supplements while electronic media telecasted programs highlighting the significance of the occasion, achievements and remaining tasks.

On this day, in 1971, the people under the leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman liberated the country after a nine-month bloody war with the Pakistani occupation forces.

General AAK Niazi, who had commanded the Pakistani occupation forces, surrendered to the allied forces of Bangladeshi freedom fighters and Indian forces at Suhrawardy Udyan in Dhaka on December 16 with 93,000 soldiers following a miserable defeat in the war that broke out in March 1971.

BBN/SSR/AD-16Dec11-8:07 pm (BST)