Bangladesh rejoiced on its national Victory Day, with tens of thousands thronging to the street bearing national flags, placards and festoons while dressed up in red and green representing the blood of martyrs in the 1971 Liberation War as well as the country's green natural beauty.
People from all walks of life, regardless of ethnic, political or other identities came to the streets in the capital city Dhaka since early morning on Monday to welcome the 49th Victory Day together under the banners of a myriad of socio-cultural organizations.
Bangladesh became independent from Pakistan on Dec. 16, 1971, after a bitter nine-month war led by the country's founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, father of the current premier.
Since then the South Asian nation has been celebrating the day as the Victory Day of Bangladesh.
The country’s largest joint platform of various cultural bodies, Sammilita Sangskritik Jote, brought out a grand rally with a giant national flag at the Dhaka University campus early Monday morning.
"We believe in communal harmony and progress of Bangladesh with the spirit of the 1971 Liberation War and ideology of the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman," Shimu Chowdhury, vice president of the platform, told Anadolu Agency following the rally.
Pointing to Bangladesh's cultural development in the last 49 years after independence, he said Bangladesh was now a "role model of multiculturalism where people from all faiths and paths are living together with peace and enjoying their rights".
"But still, we are far behind in achieving a corruption and narcotic-free Bangladesh," Chowdhury said, adding that the country must ensure freedom of opinion and press as well as put an end to unjust practices like extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.
President, prime minister greet the nation
Addressing the cultural rally, renowned actor and director Ramendu Majumdar said building a "liberal and harmonious Bangladesh free of all communal and other violence is our lone dream".
He urged all to work together with the utmost honesty and sincerity to reach that goal.
Abu Bakar Siddik, a university student who took part a victory rally in Dhaka, told Anadolu Agency that Bangladesh could not reach the levels of progress it aspires to because of the corruption and lack of unity among political leaders.
"Still now, we can't speak freely, political conflicts are everywhere, politicians aren't in consensus even on the issues of country’s interest," Siddik added.
He said: "There's no safety on the roads, in campus and even at the hand of law enforcers. Extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances have turned into an epidemic form."
"We don't like these, we want to promote our country to the level of being a developed country very soon," Kamrunnahar, another student at Dhaka University, told Anadolu Agency.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has extended her greetings and felicitations to the country’s people on the occasion of the Victory Day.
She said the government was working with adherence to its zero tolerance policy against militancy, terrorism and drugs, the state-run Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha news agency reported.
"We have established the rule of law in the country and executed the verdict of the trial of the killers of the Father of the Nation and the trial of the war criminals. We have peacefully resolved the land boundary issue with India," the report quoted Hasina as saying.
She added: "Disputes with India and Myanmar on maritime boundary have also been resolved. Bangladesh's contribution to the various international forums for establishing global peace has been lauded."
President M Abdul Hamid also greeted Bangladeshis at home and abroad. "Independence is the greatest achievement of the Bangali nation. But behind the victory there were a long history of deprivation and bloodshed movement and supreme sacrifice of our people," he said.
Meanwhile, the president and prime minister attended the Victory Day Parade on Monday, held at the National Parade Square in the capital.
Various contingents of the Bangladeshi Army, Navy and Air Force as well as independence war veterans, border guards, law enforcement agencies and ministries also took part the parade.
As in previous years, the premier sent flowers and gifts to veterans at the Martyred and War-wounded Freedom Fighters' Rehabilitation Centre in Dhaka, the state-run news agency added.
Hamid and Hasina paid homage to the martyrs of the Liberation War by placing wreaths at the National Memorial on Monday morning to mark the victory day.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.