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Amar Ekushey observed

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The nation paid glowing tributes to the martyrs of the historic Language Movement on Saturday marking 'Amar Ekushey', the Language Martyrs Day and International Mother Language Day.President Abdul Hamid led the nation to paying the respects to those who had sacrificed their lives for establishing Bangla as the state language of erstwhile Pakistan in 1952, as he placed a wreath at the altar of the Central Shaheed Minar with the clock striking one minute-past zero hour followed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. After placing the wreaths, they stood there in solemn silence for a while as a mark of respect to the martyred language movement heroes.Sheikh Hasina, also the President of Awami League, along with her cabinet members, advisers, lawmakers and party leaders also placed another wreath on behalf of her party.Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, Speaker of the House of Lords of the United Kingdom Baroness D' Souza and Paschimbanga Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also placed wreaths at the Shaheed Minar to pay their tributes to the language martyrs.Walking barefoot to the Central Shaheed Minar with wreaths and flowers singing 'Amar bhaiyer rokte rangano Ekushey February', people paid their deep respects to the heroes of the Language Movement who sacrificed their lives for achieving the recognition of Bangla as the state language of erstwhile Pakistan.BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia skipped the Central Shaheed Minar this year.However, a BNP delegation, led by BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia's adviser Enam Ahmed Chowdhury, along with activists of the party and its front organisations went to the Central Shaheed Minar in the morning and placed a wreath there to pay homage to the language martyrs on behalf of the party.Besides, a doa mahfil seeking divine blessings for the martyrs of historic Language Movement was held at BNP Chairperson's Gulshan office.Different political parties and their front organisations as well as socio-cultural organisations paid their homage to the language martyrs placing wreaths all day long.On February 21, 1952, students and the common people in Dhaka had taken to the streets in protest against the then Pakistani government's denial of Bangla as the national language and imposition of Urdu as the sole official language of Pakistan.Salam, Barkat, Rafiq, Jabbar and a few other brave sons of the soil were killed in police firings on this day in 1952 when students came out in processions from the Dhaka University campus defying section 144 to press home their demand for the recognition of Bangla as a state language of the then Pakistan.The Pakistan government was ultimately compelled to incorporate an article in the constitution on February 29, 1956 that declared 'the state language of Pakistan shall be Urdu and Bengali'. The protest sparked on February 21 in 1952 progressed into the long-drawn struggle that eventually led to the birth of independent Bangladesh in 1971.President Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia also issued separate messages on the occasion.

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