Bangladesh on Tuesday observed “ International Mother Language Day " to pay homage to several students who embraced martyrdom on the day 54 years ago.
Hundreds of thousands of Bangladeshis from all walks of life went to Shaheed Minar to lay floral wreaths at the foot of the monument for the martyrs in capital Dhaka and across the country to pay tribute to those killed during the language movement.
In 1999, the United Nations Cultural Organization UNESCO designated February 21st as International Mother Language Day, dedicated to promoting linguistic diversity and multilingual education.
Laying floral wreaths on the foot of central monument in Dhaka began one minute past midnight Monday and Bangladeshi President Professor Dr Iajuddin Ahmed, Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia and main opposition Awami League chief and former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina laid wreaths at the central monument amid tight security in the wake of series of blasts and suicide bomb attacks by militants.
Several students were killed on 21st February 1952 for mother tongue Bangla when Pakistani authorities tried to impose Urdu as the only state language in both east and west wings of Pakistan.
Barefooted people wearing black badges in thousands went to the monuments to place flower wreaths. The day is a public holiday and the national flag has been flown atop all buildings at half-mast.
Different political and socio-cultural organizations observed the day through holding discussions and sessions of patriotic songs.
Matiur Rahman Choudhury has more on the story.