Bangladesh celebrates Independence Day

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Dhaka, Mar 26 (UNI) Bangladesh celebrated its 38th Independence and National Day by paying tributes to the martyred war heroes while pledging to restore democracy and achieve economic progress.

A large section of society representing freedom fighters, pro-liberation parties and progressive socio-cultural organisations vowed to hold trial of the war criminals of 1971 and asked the caretaker government to set up a tribunal to start the process.

A 31-gun salute late yesterday, at the Tejgaon old airport heralded the day.

President Iajuddin Ahmed and Chief Advisor Fakhruddin Ahmed led the nation in paying tributes to the martyrs of the Liberation War by placing wreaths at the National Mausoleum at Savar.

Crippled freedom fighters and foreign diplomats were also present on the ocassion.

Thousands of people paid glowing tributes to the martyrs by placing wreaths at the altar of the Mausoleum.

President Ahmed took salute from a spectacular parade in the capital as the military demonstrated its might on the country's Independence Day.

The contingents of the Freedom Fighters, Army, Navy and Air Force, BDR, Police, Women Police, Coastguards, Ansar-VDP, BNCC and Horse Riders demonstrated an hour-long parade at the National Parade Square.

Tanks, machineguns, air-to-air missiles, anti-tank missiles, anti-submarine torpedo and fly-past by Bell helicopters, Sesna aircrafts, Chinese F-7 jets and Russian Mig-29 supersonic warplanes exhibited the prowess of the Bangladesh military for safeguarding the nation's independence and sovereignty.

Colourful fly-past by army aviation contingent, spewing green and red smokes amid aerobatics by sophisticated airforce jets, enthralled the audience.

A 10-member team of the Indian Army which participated in the War of Liberation 1971, led by Maj Gen (retd) Jacob, the then Chief of Staff of the Eastern Command, and their spouses witnessed the parade.

President Ahmed hosted a reception on the occasion at Bangabhaban.

Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed, Advisors, three chiefs, Judges of the Supreme Court, crippled freedom fighters, senior civil and military officials and elite of the city attended the reception.

Major political parties including the Awami League and its allies boycotted the reception to protest the invitation of Jamaat-e-Islami that opposed the country's independence in 1971.

National flags were flown at government and private offices and other buildings. To save electricity, the government dropped the program of illumination in the evening.

In 1971, March 25 was formally declared by the country's founding leader Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as the independence of Bangladesh.

After the Pakistani forces brutally cracked down on the unarmed people of the then East Pakistan on the night of March 25, 1971, the Bangalees went to war for independence at the call of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and waged an all-out guerrilla fight.

People had taken up arms and the Bengali police, paramilitary and military personnel defected and trained the people for war with the determination to free their motherland. The victory came on December 16 with the Pakistani army surrenderring to the joint command of the Indian army and Bangladesh freedom fighters at historic Race Course in Dhaka.

On the occassion President Ahmed and Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed greeted the people issuing separate messages which asked them to work unitedly for building a forward-looking and developed Bangladesh based on an equitable society.


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