The nation is set to observe the ‘Shaheed Dibash’ (Language Martyrs Day) and the International Mother Language Day on Sunday with due respect adhering to health guidelines.
On February 21, 1952, Salam, Rafique, Shafique, Jabbar and Barkat embraced martyrdom in police firing in front of the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) as they took to the street to intensify the campaign to establish Bangla as the state language of the then Pakistan, sowing the seeds of subsequent movements for the country’s independence.
They were killed as police opened fire on students, demonstrating under the All-Party Students Action Committee against conspiracies of Pakistani rulers to declare “Urdu” as the only state language.
People from all walks of life will pay glowing tributes to the Language Movement martyrs, the valiant sons of the soil who made supreme sacrifices to establish the rights of the mother tongue, Bangla, in 1952.
The day will also be observed around the world as the UNESCO recognised the ‘February 21 (Ekushey February)’ as the International Mother Language Day on November 17, 1999.
The government has already taken extensive programmes to observe day in a befitting manner.
President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave seperate messages paying rice tributes to those who embraced martyrdom on the day.
The day is a public holiday.
Generally President and Prime Minister lead the nation to pay homage to the Language Movement heroes by placing wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar at one minute past zero hours.
But due to Covid-19 pandemic, President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will not be at the Central Shaheed Minar to pay homage. Instead, their military secretaries will place wreaths on their behalf at the Central Shaheed Minar at one minute past zero hours.
Different political-social-cultural-professional organisations have taken various programmes on the occasion.
National flags will be kept half-mast in a proper manner having accurate size at all the government, semi-government, autonomous and private organisations and educational institutions.
In line with the national programmes, all educational institutions, local government bodies, district and upazila administration, Bangladeshi missions abroad will take proper measures considering the Covid-19 situation to observe the day.
Stringent security measures have been taken in and around the Central Shaheed Minar and Dhaka University campus.