Dhaka, Mar 26: Bangladesh today celebrated its 46th Independence Day as the nation paid tributes to the millions killed during its 1971 Liberation War against Pakistan with the Dhaka skyline lit up overnight.
The occasion was marked with a ceremonial pre-dawn 21-gun salute as thousands of people thronged the National Memorial in suburban Savar to pay homage to the martyrs.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina were the first to place wreaths at the monument while army bugles played the 'Last Post' at the ceremony.
Invading Pakistani troops launched a brutal crackdown in erstwhile East Pakistan with tanks and artillery on the night of March 25, 1971, after Bangladesh's founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman won an overwhelming victory in the 1970 general election, triggering the war.
The war saw the breakup of Pakistan as Bangladesh won its independence with Indian military support ending the nine-month conflict which is said to have claimed three million lives.
1971 war veterans rallied in the capital last night and urged the international community to declare March 25 as the 'International Genocide Day' in recognition of the mass killings of innocent and unarmed people on the fateful night 45 years ago.
Recalling the tragedy of the war, scores of people walked over 50 kms from the central Shaheed Minar in the capital to the National Memorial in Savar wearing black robes and carrying the national flag.