21st February, 2017
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid their homage to the language martyrs by placing wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar at one minute past midnight.
After placing the wreaths, they stood in solemn silence for some time as a mark of profound respect to the memories of the language heroes.
Ministers, advisers to the Prime Minister, parliament members, the chiefs of the three services, diplomats, senior Awami League leaders, high civil and military officials were present on the occasion.
On his arrival at the Shaheed Minar, the President was received by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Vice Chancellor of Dhaka University Prof Dr AAMS Arefin Siddique.
Flanked by cabinet members and senior leaders of the party, Sheikh Hasina, also the President of Bangladesh Awami League, later placed another wreath at the Shaheed Minar on behalf of the party.
BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia together with her party senior leaders also placed wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar around 1:30am, putting an end to speculation over her attending.
BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, standing committee members Khandaker Moshraf Hossain, Mahbubur Rahman Mirza Abbas, Nazrul Islam Khan, vice chairman Mohammad Shahjahan, chairperson’s adviser Amanullah Aman, senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi and joint secretary general Khairul Kabir Khokon, among others, accompanied Khaleda.
Walking barefoot to the Central Shaheed Minar with wreaths and flowers singing ‘Amar bhaiyer rokte rangano Ekushey February’, people paid their deep respects to the heroes of the Language Movement who sacrificed their lives for achieving the recognition of Bangla as the state language of erstwhile Pakistan.
Different political parties and their front organisations as well as socio-cultural organisations paid their homage to the language martyrs placing wreaths.
On February 21, 1952, students and the common people in Dhaka had taken to the streets in protest against the then Pakistani government’s denial of Bangla as the national language and imposition of Urdu as the sole official language of Pakistan.
Salam, Barkat, Rafiq, Jabbar and a few other brave sons of the soil were killed in police firings on this day in 1952 when students came out in processions from the Dhaka University campus defying section 144 to press home their demand for the recognition of Bangla as a state language of the then Pakistan.
The Pakistan government was ultimately compelled to incorporate an article in the constitution on February 29, 1956 that declared ‘the state language of Pakistan shall be Urdu and Bengali’.
The protest sparked on February 21 in 1952 progressed into the long-drawn struggle that eventually led to the birth of independent Bangladesh in 1971.