National Mourning Day todayStaff correspondent
National Mourning Day will be observed today marking the 38th anniversary of death of the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman amid a demand for bringing back home the rest of the convicted killers hiding abroad.
Mujib was brutally assassinated along with all but two of his family on August 15, 1975. Mujib’s daughters – Sheikh Hasina, now the prime minister, and Sheikh Rehana – survived the massacre as they were abroad at that time.
A disgruntled section of army officers killed Mujib, his wife Fazilatunnesa Mujib, sons Sheikh Kamal, Sheikh Jamal and Sheikh Russell, daughters-in-law Sultana Kamal and Rosy Jamal, brother Sheikh Naser, brother-in-law Abdur Rab Serniabat, nephew Sheikh Fazlul Huq Moni, also a youth leader, and his wife Arzu Moni, Baby Serniabat, Sukanta Babu, Arif and Abdul Nayeem Khan Rintu on the fateful night of August 15.
The Awami League government, during its previous tenure in office in 1996, declared August 15 National Mourning Day and a public holiday. But Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led coalition government scrapped the decision on August 2, 2002.
The High Court on July 27, 2008 declared the BNP-led government’s decision illegal. And the day is now a public holiday.
Five of Mujib’s 12 killers sentenced to death penalty were executed in 2010 and six are hiding overseas.
The prison authorities hanged five of the killers on January 27, 2010, a year after the Awami League-led alliance government had assumed office. The executed are Syed Faruk Rahman, Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, Muhiuddin Ahmed, Bazlul Huda and AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed.
The government has been taking different initiatives to bring back the fugitive killers - Khandaker Abdur Rashid, Shariful Haq Dalim, MA Rashed Chowdhury, SHMB Noor Chowdhury, Abdul Mazed and Moslem Uddin - to face the court verdict. One of the killers, Aziz Pasha, reportedly died abroad.
The government, Awami League and its front organisations and different cultural and social organisations have chalked out elaborate programmes to observe the day.
The national flag will fly at half-mast at the offices of government, semi-government and autonomous organisations, educational institutions, private buildings and Bangladesh missions abroad.
The president and the prime minister will lay wreaths at the portrait of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on the premises of Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at the city’s Dhanmondi Road-32 at 6:30 am in the morning when a smartly turned out squad of the armed forces will present guard of honour.
Special prayers will be offered there for eternal peace of the departed souls of the August 15 carnage.
Family members of Sheikh Mujib and the martyrs’ families will place wreaths at the Banani graves of the martyrs of the August 15, 1975 massacre at 7:30 am.
President and prime minister will fly to Tungipara in Gopalganj at 9:45 am in separate helicopters and pay tributes to the founding president of Bangladesh at the Mausoleum Complex of Shiekh Mujibur Rahman there at 10 am.
Fateha and special prayers will be offered and milad mahfil will be held at Tungipara at 11 am. Speaker of the parliament, ministers, members of the parliament, leaders of the central Awami league and its associate organisations, civil and military high-officials will be attending there on the occasion.
Special prayers will also be offered at all the places of worship including mosques, temples, churches and religious institutions across the country after Zohr prayer for eternal peace of the departed souls of the August 15 martyrs, according to a handout of the Press Information Department.
Bangladesh Betar and Bangladesh Television will air live the programmes of the National Mourning Day with their special programmes while the national dailies will publish special supplements to mark the day.
Besides, posters and special editions of the Sachitra Bangladesh will be published and distributed and a documentary on Sheikh Mujib will be screened.
The ministry of liberation war affairs, the ministry of cultural affairs, the ministry of religious affairs and other ministries, divisions and organisations will observed their respective programmes in consistency with the national programmes of the day.
In observance of the day with due solemnity, the district and upazila administrations will also organise discussions and doa mahfils.
Different institutions and social and cultural bodies will lay wreaths at the Mausoleum Plaza of Sheikh Mujib at Tungipara in Gopalganj and at his portrait on the premises of Bangabandhu Memorial Museum in the city, where discussions and milad mahfils will also be held in the afternoon.
Educational institutions will organise discussions, poetry recitation sessions, essay and painting competitions, Hamd and Nath competitions and doa mahfils, photographic exhibitions, blood donation camps and stage street dramas highlighting the significance of the day.
Mohila Awami League, women wing of the ruling party, will hold a milad mahfil at Bangabandhu Bhaban after Asr prayer.
Marking the day, Awami League will hold a discussion at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the capital at 3:00pm on August 16 with deputy leader of the parliament Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury in the chair. Party chief and prime minister Sheikh Hasina will attend the programme as chief guest.
Different cultural and social organisations have also chalked out programmes such as discussions, art exhibitions, book fairs, special prayer sessions and others.
The Awami League general secretary Syed Ashraful Islam in a statement urged the party leaders, activists, supporters, well-wishers and leaders of its front organisations to observe the day in a befitting manner.
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