Showing their deep affection for their mother tongue, thousands of people from both Bangladesh and India gathered at the no-man’s-land between Benapole and Petrapole on Wednesday to observe the International Mother Language Day.
Carrying banners, festoons and placards, they gathered at the no-man’s land defying the barriers of geographical border. No border force either from Bangladesh or India also prevented anyone from crossing the border.
People from Bangladesh and Indian West Bengal paid rich tributes to the Language Movement martyrs placing floral wreaths at the makeshift Shaheed Minar.
Border forces of the both the countries also greeted each other with flowers on the occasion.
All joined the chorus, ‘Amar Bhaiyer Rokte Rangano Ekushey February, Ami ki bhulite Pari’, in tribute to the martyrs.
Benapole municipality mayor Ashraful Alam Liton presided over the programme where Indian distinguished guests placed wreaths at the Shaheed Minar around 9 am.
Then people of the both countries also donated blood on the occasion.
Awami League presidium member Pijush Kanti Bhattacharya and its Jessore district unit general secretary Shahin Chaklader were also present from the Bangladesh side.
The distinguished Indian guests included Food Minister of West Bengal Joyteepriyo Mallik, lawmakers Sreemoti Mamata Thakur and Biswajit Das.
Addressing the programme, Mallick said, “I’ve come here to respond to the call of the mother tongue. I’m overwhelmed to see such friendly people of both countries observing the day together. We don’t want any border and fence.”
The nation will remember the heroes of this soil who sacrificed their lives to establish Bangla as the state language, said Pijush Kanti.
Several socio-cultural and political organisations also joined the programme.
Among others, poet Asad Chowdhury and noted Indian authors Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay, Anupam Roy and Sanjib Chattopadhyay were present there.
Shirshendu said, “The people of this soil have set a rare example of sacrificing lives for their mother tongue.”
He hoped that such gathering would bring the people of the two neighbouring countries closer.