The nation is set to observe the National Mourning Day on Tuesday with due solemnity, marking the 42nd anniversary of the martyrdom of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The government and different socio-cultural, political and professional organisations, including ruling Awami League and its associate bodies, have chalked out elaborate programmes to pay homage to the architect of the country’s independence.
The programmes include discussions, child-juvenile painting competitions, photographic exhibitions, milad mahfils and distribution of cooked food among the destitute.
Bangabandhu was assassinated along with most of his family members at the crack of dawn on August 15, 1975 by a cabal of unruly army personnel under a deep-rooted conspiracy against the country and its independence.
His two daughters — Sheikh Hasina, now the Prime Minister, and Sheikh Rehana — survived the barbaric carnage as they were abroad at that time.
Eighteen members of the Bangabandhu’s family, including wife Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib, three sons — Captain Sheikh Kamal, Lt Sheikh Jamal and Sheikh Russell, two daughters-in-law Sultana Kamal and Rosy Jamal, brother Sheikh Naser, peasant leader Abdur Rob Serniabat, youth leader Sheikh Fazlul Haq Moni and his wife Arzu Moni, Baby Serniabat, Sukanta Babu, Arif and Abdul Nayeem Khan Rintu, were killed on the fateful night.
Bangabandhu’s Military Secretary Col Jamil was also killed. Some members of a family at Mohammadpur in the capital were killed by artillery shells fired by the killers on the same day.
The day is a public holiday.
The national flag will fly at half-mast at all government, semi-government and autonomous bodies, educational institutions, private buildings and Bangladesh missions abroad.
The national flag will fly at half-mast at Bangabandhu Bhaban in the capital and Awami League offices across the country at dawn.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will place wreaths at the portrait of Bangabandhu at the Bangabandhu Bhaban at Dhanmondi at 6:30am.
After their departure, people from all walks of life wearing black badges will pay homage to the Father of the Nation by placing wreaths at his portrait there.
The Prime Minister will also place wreaths on the graves of the members of Bangabandhu’s family and other martyrs at Banani graveyard at 7:30am.
Sheikh Hasina will also place wreaths and offer Fateha at the Bangabandhu Mausoleum in Tungipara of Gopalganj at 10am. The armed forces will present a guard of honour on the occasion. The Prime Minister will also take part in a special milad mahfil to be held there.
Doa and milad mahfils will be held at all mosques after Zohr prayers and special prayers will be arranged in temples, pagodas, churches and other worship places at convenient time across the country.
Food will also be distributed among orphans and destitute people at noon.
A milad mahfil will be held at the Darbar Hall of Bangabhaban after Zohr prayers on the occasion.
Mohila Awami League will arrange a milad mahfil at Bangabandhu Bhaban in the city after Asr prayers. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will participate in the programme.
Besides, Awami League will arrange a discussion at the city’s Bangbandhu International Conference Centre at 4pm on Wednesday where Awami League President Sheikh Hasina will be present as the chief guest.
State-run Bangladesh Betar and Bangladesh Television as well as private television channels and radio stations will air special programmes highlighting the life, struggle and achievements of the great leader. Newspapers will bring out supplements on the occasion.
Meanwhile, President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina have issued separate messages on the occasion.
In his message, the President said though the assassins killed the Father of the Nation, they could not wipe out the principle and ideals of this great man.
“He was the harbinger of freedom of the Bangalis. For his outstanding contributions, Bangabandhu and Bangladesh thus emerged as a unique symbol to the people of Bangladesh,” he added.
In her message, the Prime Minister said Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was killed at a time when he had undertaken an arduous task of building a Golden Bangladesh reconstructing the war-ravaged country and unifying the whole nation.
“The killers were able to assassinate Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman but they could not erase his dreams and ideals,” she said.
“Let us come and turn the grief of the loss of Bangabandhu into strength. Let us engage ourselves holding Bangabandhu’s philosophy in building a non-communal, hunger-illiteracy-free and happy-prosperous Bangladesh and establish the Golden Bangladesh as dreamt by the Father of the Nation. That is our solemn pledge on the National Mourning Day,” she added.