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Grateful Nation Pays Deep Homage to Bangabandhu on National Mourning Day
By Ataur Rahman
Bangladesh Correspondent
Bangabandhu, meaning "Friend of Bengal," is widely revered in Bangladesh as the Father of the Nation. His official name is Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (1920-1975). The Bengali politician and statesman was the founding leader of Bangladesh.

DHAKA, Aug 15, 2013 — A grateful nation of Bangladesh paid deep homage to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on August, 15, 2013 in observance of the National Mourning Day marking his 38th anniversary of martyrdom. On the fateful night of August 15 in 1975, some disgruntled and over ambitious army officers assassinated Bangabandhu and most of his family members at his Dhanmondi Road-32 residence in the capital in a military putsch.

Those 18 members of Bangabandhu's family and his close ones massacred in the August 15 night included his wife Bangamata Fazilatunnessa Mujib, brother Sheikh Naser, brother-in-law Abdur Rab Serniabat, sons Sheikh Kamal, Sheikh Jamal and 10-year-old Sheikh Russell, daughters-in-law Sultana Kamal and Rosy Jamal, nephew Sheikh Fazlul Huq Moni, his pregnant wife Arzoo Moni and Bangabandhu's military secretary Bir Uttam Colonel Jamil (later promoted as Brigadier General posthumously), who rushed to the spot of occurrence on receiving SOS from Bangabandhu Bhaban early in the morning. However, both the daughters of Bangabandhu, Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana, escaped the carnage as they were abroad.

Since the mayhem, Awami League, its associate bodies and other likeminded pro-liberation, democratic and progressive political parties, social, cultural and professional organisations have been observing the day as the National Mourning Day. After assumption of office in 1996, the Awami League government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina initiated trial of the self-confessed killers of Bangabandhu in a traditional court and the court awarded them with capital punishment, which was upheld by the country's highest court.

The court's verdict for five of the self- confessed killers had been executed on January 27 in 2010 while the government had already taken steps for bringing back home the remaining absconding killers from abroad.

In a message on the eve of the National Mourning Day, President Abdul Hamid recalled with gratitude Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's chequered, long and eventful political career and his immense contributions and dedication to the independent and sovereign Bangladesh. "Let's transform our grief of losing Father of the Nation Bangabandhu into strength and work together to translate into reality the dream of Bangabandhu for building a 'Golden Bangla'," the President added.

In a message on the eve of the National Mourning Day, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said, "Though the killers assassinated Bangabandhu on August 15 in 1975, his dreams and ideologies could not be erased off as Bangabandhu's immense sacrifices and dedication and ideologies throughout his long struggling life had been registered in the hearts of the Bangalee nation."
The Prime Minister said, "It is our utmost responsibility to materialise his dream by building a happy and prosperous country. If we do so the soul of Bangabandhu would remain in peace and we will be able to pay our deepest homage to him."
The day is a public holiday.

The day's programme will start with the hoisting of National Flag at half-mast and raising of black flags atop all public and private buildings including Bangabandhu Bhaban in the morning as a mark of respect to the martyrs of August 15 carnage.

Wearing black badges, hundreds of people from all walks of life will throng Bangabandhu Memorial Museum also in the morning to pay profound homage to the father of the nation by placing wreaths at his portrait there.

The national dailies will publish special supplements while Bangladesh Betar and Bangladesh Television and other private television channels and radio centres will air special programmes highlighting the simple and self-less life of Bangabandhu, his affection and care for his people and immense contributions to the nation.

Special prayers will also be offered at all the places of worships seeking divine blessings for eternal peace of the souls of the martyrs of August 15 carnage while blood donations camps are the other programmes of the day.

In commemoration of Bangabandhu's martyrdom, the ruling Awami League has chalked out a two-day programme. The programmes include placing of wreaths at his portrait at Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Dhanmondi in the city at 6-30 am and at his Mausoleum Complex at Tungipara in Gopalganj district at 10 in the morning.

Munajat will be offered and milad and doa mahfils will be organised at both the places.

On behalf of the state President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will lay wreaths at the portrait of Bangabandhu at Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at 6-30 in the morning.

On behalf of the ruling party, Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will place wreaths at the Mausoleum of Bangabandhu at Tungipara in Gopalganj district at 10 am and a smartly turned out squad of the armed forces will present guard of honour to the slain first president of the republic. Wreaths will be laid and fateha will be offered at the graves of the martyrs of August 15 massacre at Banani graveyard at 7.30 am.

A team of central leaders of Awami League will attend the milad and doa mahfil at the Mausoleum of Bangabandhu at Tungipara in Gopalganj district at 11 am.

Mahila Awami League will organise a milad and doa mahfil at Bangabandhu Bhaban in the city at 11-30 am.

Besides, Awami League will organise a discussion meeting at the city's Bangabandhu International Conference Centre at 3-30 pm on August 16 (Friday). Awami League president and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will attend the discussion as the chief guest while party's senior presidium member and Deputy Leader of the House Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury will chair.

Other programmes of the day include holding of discussions, poetry recitation session, child-juvenile painting competition, photographic exhibition and hamd and nat competition. Bangladesh missions abroad will also observe the National Mourning Day in a befitting manner tomorrow.

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Mr. Ataur Rahman serves as Bangladesh Correspondent for The Seoul Times. He earned his Master of Commerce degree from Dhaka University in 1985. Mr. Rahman has vast journalistic experience including his stints at "The Daily Janata" and "The Dainik Bangla."






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