Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – The National Mourning Day was observed across Bangladesh on Monday with due reverence and solemnity, marking the 41st anniversary of assassination of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The day was a public holiday.
The national flags were lowered to half-staff at all government, semi-government and autonomous bodies, educational institutions, private buildings and Bangladesh missions abroad to mark the occasion.
The government, different socio-cultural, political and professional organisations, including the ruling Awami League and its associate bodies, arranged various programmes, to mark the day paying rich tributes to Bangabandhu.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman — architect of the country’s independence — was assassinated along with most of his family members at the crack of dawn on August 15 in 1975 by a cabal of army personnel under a deep-rooted conspiracy against the country and its independence.
His two daughters — Sheikh Hasina, now the Prime Minister, and Sheikh Rehana – luckily survived the massacre as they were abroad at that time.
Eighteen members of the family along with Bangabandhu’s wife Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib, three sons Captain Sheikh Kamal, Lt Sheikh Jamal and Sheikh Russell, two daughters-in-law Sultana Kamal and Rosy Jamal, brother Sheikh Naser, peasant leader Abdur Rob Serniabat, youth leader Sheikh Fazlul Haq Moni and his wife Arzu Moni, Baby Serniabat, Sukanta Babu, Arif and Abdul Nayeem Khan Rintu were killed on the fateful night.
Bangabandhu’s Military Secretary Col Jamil was also killed. Some members of a family at Mohammadpur in the capital were also killed by artillery shells fired by the killers on the same day.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid homage to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by placing wreaths at the portrait of the great leader in front of Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Dhanmondi road No. 32 in the morning.
Today morning, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina received the president as he arrived at Dhanmondi Road No 32 in the capital Dhaka.
The president and the prime minister placed wreaths at the portrait of Bangabandhu at 6:35 am (local time).
After the placing of the wreaths, a smartly turned out contingent of Bangladesh Armed Forces gave a honour guard as bugle played ‘the last post’.
The president and the prime minister, also the eldest daughter of the Father of the Nation, stood in solemn silence in front of the portrait for some time.
Later, a munajat was offered seeking eternal peace of Bangabandhu and martyrs of August 15.
Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Deputy Leader of the Jatiya Sangsad Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury, Bangabandhu’s youngest daughter Sheikh Rehana, Prime Minister’s Daughter Saima Hossain, cabinet members, Prime Minister’s advisors, parliament members, cabinet secretary, chiefs of the three services, senior leaders of Awami League and central 14-Party Alliance and senior government officials were present on the occasion.
Flanked by senior leaders of the party, Sheikh Hasina, also the President of Awami League, placed another wreath at the portrait of Bangabandhu.
Later, Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury placed wreaths at the portrait of Bangabandhu.
Besides, Convener of the 14-Party Combine Health Minister and AL Presidium Member Mohammad Nasim, Information Minister along other leaders of the alliance including JSD President Hasanul Haque Inu, Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister and Workers Party President Rashed Khan Menon, Samyabadi Dal President and former Industried Minister Dilip Barua also placed wreaths at the portrait of the Father of the Nation.
Later, the Prime Minister went to Banani Graveyard in Dhaka and paid homage to her mother Bangamata Fazilatunnesa Mujib, her brothers Sheikh Kamal, Sheikh Jamal and Sheikh Russell and other martyrs of August 15 by placing wreaths and spreading flower petals on their graves.
She also offered Fateha and doa seeking eternal peace of the departed souls of the martyrs of the August 15 massacre.
Earlier on Sunday, President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages commemorating the National Mourning Day.
In his message, the President said The 15th August 1975 is regarded as a disgraceful chapter in the history of the Bangalee.
“This brutality was a rare occurrence not only in the history of the Bangalee nation but also in the history of the world. The aims of the killers were not merely to kill a Statesman but to annihilate the ideals of the war of liberation and reinstate the defeated forces,” he added.
In her message, Sheikh Hasina said under the dynamic, courageous and charismatic leadership of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the people of this territory brought the reddish sun of the independence breaking the shackles of subjugation of thousands of years. The Bangalees have got their own nation-state, flag and national anthem.
But Bangabandhu was killed at a time when he had undertaken an arduous task of building a Golden Bangla reconstructing the war-ravaged country and unifying the whole nation, she added.
“The defeated forces of the Liberation War made abortive attempts to ruin the tradition, culture and advancement of the Bangalee nation. Their target was to destroy the secular democratic fabric of Bangladesh,” she noted.
Sheikh Hasina said but the defeated forces of 1971 are still engaged in various ill-attempts and trying to obstruct the nation’s progress. “They are trying to destabilise the country through militancy and terrorist acts.”
“I firmly believe that there would be no room for terrorism and militancy in the soil of Bangladesh. Golden Bangla, as dreamt by the Father of the Nation, would be established that is our solemn pledge on the National Mourning Day,” she added.
People from all walks of life wearing black badges will pay homage to the Father of the Nation by placing wreaths at his portrait there.
Hundreds of people will also gather at the mausoleum of Bangabandhu at Tungipara to pay deep homage to Bangabandhu.
Doa and milad mahfils will be held at all mosques after Zohr prayers and special prayers will be arranged in temples, pagodas, churches and other worship places at convenient time across the country. Food will also be distributed among insolvent and destitute people at noon.
A milad mahfil will be held at the Darbar Hall of Bangabhaban after Zohr prayers on the occasion.
Mahila Awami League will arrange a milad and doa mahfil at Bangabandhu Bhaban in the capital after Asr prayers.
Besides, Awami League will arrange a discussion at the city’s Krishibid Institution at 4:00pm on Tuesday. Awami League president and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will attend the programme as the chief guest.
Different socio-political organisations are also organizing various programmes, including discussions, child-juvenile painting competition, photographic exhibition and distribution of cooked food among the destitute.
Bangladesh missions abroad will observe the National Mourning Day in a befitting manner on Monday.
State-run Bangladesh Betar and Bangladesh Television as well as private television channels and radio stations are airing special programmes highlighting the life, struggle and achievements of the great leader. Newspapers will bring out supplements on the occasion.
Meanwhile, BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia has decided not to cut any cake at the wee hours on Monday celebrating her 71st birthday this year amid widespread criticisms for celebrating it on the National Mourning Day.
BNP also has no scheduled programme to celebrate the birthday at the party’s central office at Nayapaltan in Dhaka.