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Feb 21: Bangladesh set to pay homage to language martyrs

Feb 21: Bangladesh set to pay homage to language martyrs

People from all walks of life will pay homage to Language Movement martyrs who made supreme sacrifices to establish the rights of Bangla.

The day will also be observed around the world as UNESCO recognised February 21 (Ekushey February) as International Mother Language Day on November 17, 1999.
President Mohammed Shahabuddin and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will lead the nation to pay respect to language martyrs by placing wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar at one minute past midnight.
Both issued separate messages paying rich tributes to those who embraced martyrdom on the day. The day is a public holiday.
On February 21, 1952, Salam, Rafique, Shafique, Jabbar and Barkat embraced martyrdom in police firing in front of Dhaka Medical College and Hospital as they took to the street to intensify the campaign to establish Bangla as the state language. This sowed 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.
The movement for Bangla, however, did not stop and Pakistan government on February 29, 1956 was forced to recognise Bangla as one of the state languages besides Urdu.
The decision, however, could not stop the movement against the repression and misrule of Pakistani government that subsequently led the Bangalee to the War of Independence and the emergence of Bangladesh.
Different political, social, cultural, professional bodies have taken various programmes including cultural functions to observe the day.
The national flags will be kept at half-mast everywhere. All educational institutions, local government bodies, district and upazila administrations, Bangladesh missions abroad will take proper measures to observe the day.

Fateha and Qurankhwani will be offered at Azimpur graveyard and special prayers will be arranged at mosques and all other places of prayers across the country seeking eternal peace of the souls of the language martyrs.
Public and private media will air special programme while newspapers will publish special supplements marking the day.
Bangladesh missions abroad will organise different programmes, including placing wreaths at Shaheed Minar, discussions on Bangabandhu and Language Movement, and book and photo exhibitions where diplomats of different countries and Bangladeshi expatriates will join.