Victory Day for Bangla amid Emergency

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Dhaka, Dec 16: Bangladesh today celebrates the Victory Day, the 36th anniversary of her glorious triumph over Pakistani occupation forces in the Liberation War.

However, the day is being celebrated without much enthusiasm by political parties, citing the state of emergency. One of the major features of the day--victory rally--usually organised by major parties, has been banned. This morning, with a 31-gun salute, the nation paid homage to the 30 lakh martyrs who had sacrificed their lives to have a homeland in 1971. President Iajuddin Ahmed led the nation by laying a floral wreath at the National Mausoleum at Savar.

In his Victory-day message, he said, ''The main goal of our liberation war was to build up a happy, prosperous and self-reliant country. Targetting the goal, we have achieved a democratic system. Now, it is time to make this democratic system more effective and stronger.'' He called for all to perform their responsibilities unitedly to ensure transparency and accountability in building a healthy and good society. ''This should be the promise of Victory Day,'' he said.

Chief Advisor Fakhruddin Ahmed said,''As a nation we are passing through a transitional period. We are at a hard war against poverty, hunger, repression, deprivation, corruption and misrule.'' ''We are facing tough challenges of holding a free, fair and credible elections, establishing democracy on a strong footing, improving people's lifestyle and their fate,'' he added.

The head of caretaker government, which was installed in office amid grave political crisis, observed that the devastation caused by the catastrophic cyclone 'Sidr' has made these challenges ''tougher''.

''I believe that a nation which has the glory of victory in the great liberation war would never concede defeat. We have to face all of these challenges with determination, being imbued with the spirit of independence,'' Dr Ahmed further said.

To celebrate the Victory-Day, a colourful children rally was held at Dhaka Stadium while Bangladesh Army, Navy and Air Force bands performed patriotic and popular tunes at strategic points in Dhaka City.

Bangla Academy, Shilpakala Academy and Bangladesh Shishu Academy organised separate cultural functions, film shows and painting competitions.

On December 16, 1971, Pakistani General AAK Niazi surrendered to the Bangladesh-India Joint Command at historic Suhrawardy Udyan (former Race Course) here, at the end of a nine-month war.

UNI

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