Dhaka, Feb 21 (bdnews24.com) – The nation was paying tribute to its Language Movement martyrs from the first minutes of Sunday, Feb 21, being observed round the world too as International Mother Language Day.
Thousands of people had flocked towards the Central Shaheed Minar ahead of midnight when, as is tradition, the first of a sea of floral tributes are laid down at the monument by the president.
President Mohammad Zillur Rahman, minutes after zero hour, laid a circular wreath of green and red with a Shapla flower at the centre. Prime minister Sheikh Hasina followed with a similar one.
After them, came cabinet members and advisers to the prime minister, chiefs of the three services, opposition leader Khaleda Zia as well as language movement veterans and liberation war heroes among others.
Security was tight at the venue for the ceremony. Around 8,000 law-enforcers, including army, BDR, RAB and police, were deployed at the Shaheed Minar, Dhaka University and its surrounding areas. Members of various voluntary forces were assisting them.
Special Security Force took full control of security at the Shaheed Minar area after 8pm. All vehicle movement was suspended from Doel Square, Palashi, TSC to Shaheed Minar.
PM HOLDS BANGLA UP AS 'INSPIRATION'
Earlier in the day, prime minister Sheikh Hasina held up the Bangla Language Movement as an inspiration for others struggling to preserve their heritage around the world, as she handed over the Ekushey Padak 2010 to 15 recipients on Saturday, the eve of Amar Ekushey.
Amar Ekushey commemorates the sacrifice made by the movement's martyrs on Feb 21 1952. The day is now marked around the world as International Mother Language Day.
Addressing the awards ceremony in Dhaka, Hasina said the Bangla Language Movement shares its spirit with those people struggling around the world today to preserve their language, culture and heritage.
The prime minister said her government is moving to secure recognition of Bangla as an official language of the United Nations, alongside the current six.
The Ekushey Padak award-winners this year include a Language Movement hero as well as those who have distinguished themselves in their respective fields in culture, arts and science.
They are: late Dr Golam Maula (language movement), poet Mohammad Rafique, late Sayeed Ahmed and Helena Khan (literature), Muntasir Mamun (research), late ASHK Sadeque, late Sangharaj Jyotipal Mohathero and Hanif Sanket (social service), Partha Pratim Majumder (mime), Nasiruddin Yusuf (drama), late AKM Abdur Rouf and Imdad Hossain (arts), Ahmed Imtiaz Bulbul (music), Begum Laila Hasan (dance) and late Md Alam (photojournalism).
UNESCO in 1999 declared Feb 21 as International Mother Language Day in recognition of the sacrifice of Bangla-speaking people for the cause of their language in 1952.
The day's observance was formally recognised by the United Nations General Assembly in a resolution establishing 2008 as the International Year of Languages.