Bhutanese king joins Shahabuddin, Hasina in paying tribute to martyrs on Bangladesh's Independence Day

Bangladesh is celebrating the 53rd anniversary of its independence

Published : 26 March 2024, 04:50 AM
Updated : 26 March 2024, 04:50 AM

President Mohammad Shahabuddin and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina have led the nation in paying homage to the martyrs of the 1971 Liberation War on the 53rd anniversary of Bangladesh's emergence as a sovereign country.

King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck of Bhutan -- the first country to recognise Bangladesh's independence -- joined the heads of state and government at the National Memorial in Savar on Tuesday to honour the fallen heroes.

After laying wreaths at the altar of the memorial, the dignitaries observed a moment of silence while the Armed Forces offered a guard of honour as bugles played a sombre tune.

Hasina later paid her respects to the martyrs in her capacity as the chief of the ruling Awami League, accompanied by senior party leaders.

Shahabuddin, Hasina, and King Wangchuck left their signatures in the guest book before leaving the memorial. Bhutanese Queen Consort Jetsun Pema was also present during the tribute.

Following the official ceremony, injured freedom fighters, families of the Bir Sreshtho, and leaders from the Awami League and its affiliate organisations paid their respects.

The National Memorial was then opened to the public, drawing people from various government and private sectors, political parties, volunteer organisations, and universities.

The Pakistani occupation forces swooped down on unarmed Bengalis 53 years ago in a brutal attempt to crush their struggle for freedom.

Codenamed ‘Operation Searchlight’, it carried out genocide in the early hours of Mar 26 in Dhaka. At least 7,000 Bengali were killed in the capital alone.

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman declared independence before being arrested by the Pakistani forces the same time.

Bengalis retaliated with spectacular resistance and fought for nine months of the Liberation War to snatch the victory on Dec 16 when the occupation army surrendered to the allied forces backed by India.