Welcome 2014Staff Correspondent
People ushered in the year 2014 as the clock struck zero hours past Tuesday in a somewhat sombre mood amid an unusual situation as the opposition alliance began enforcing a nationwide road-rail-waterway blockade for an indefinite period from the very first day of the year.
The opposition alliance enforced the blockade to press for cancellation of the January 5 election and holding of the polls under a non-partisan, neutral government.
Security was heightened to fend off any trouble on the New Year’s Eve and restrictions were imposed on movement of people in particular areas after sundown.
Despite restrictions, people, mostly youths, started thronging Dhaka University campus, clubs and posh hotels and restaurants in the evening to bid farewell to 2013 and ring in the New Year, witnesses said.
The people who gathered in Dhaka
University welcomed the year 2012 on a limited scale as the university authorities did not allow any large programmes on the campus.
People exchanged greetings, handed in flowers and other gifts to friends on the occasion.
Posh hotels and clubs hosted parties on the New Year’s Eve but festivity was lesser than past years.
President Abdul Hamid, prime minister Sheikh Hasina and opposition leader Khaleda Zia gave messages greeting the countrymen and expatriate Bangladeshis on the occasion.
The president said celebrations of the New Year of the Gregorian calendar had merged with the national culture. ‘The new year celebrations influence our everyday activities immensely,’ he said and wished welfare, peace, progress and happiness of all in the New Year.
Sheikh Hasina greeted the countrymen on the eve of the New Year. She urged all to work for building a hunger-free, non-communal, prosperous and peaceful Bangladesh being inspired by the spirit of the Liberation War.
The city police imposed restrictions on carrying and using explosive substances, especially firecrackers, drunk driving, honking horns and using loudspeakers, the officials said.
Special measures were taken in view of the New Year’s celebrations at Dhaka University, the police said.
The police imposed restrictions on people’s movement in the university area allowing no outsiders in, the campus sources said.
Security measures were put in place for posh areas of the capital, including the diplomatic zones at Gulshan, Banani, Uttara and also in Hatirjheel. The lawmen set up checkpoints at strategic points in the capital.
Although the tourist town of Cox’s Bazar usually experience gala shows for New Year celebrations, there was no such festivity this year as most hotels remained empty due to the prolonged political unrest.
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