Staff Correspondent, bdnews24.com
Published: 2019-01-10 12:45:47 BdST
On Jan 10, 1972, Bangabandhu returned home to Dhaka through London and New Delhi 24 days after Bangladesh emerged a free nation by defeating the Pakistani armed forces in a nine-month war.
Since then, Jan 10 has been observed as Bangabandhu’s Homecoming Day.
The celebration of the day began with hoisting the national flag along with the party flag of the ruling Awami League, at its central office in Dhanmondi along with other party offices throughout the country.
Later, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid her tribute by placing a wreath at Bangabandhu’s mural in Dhanmondi at 7:30am on Thursday. She observed a minute of silence. A team of the President Guard Regiment offered armed salute at that time.
She paid her respects to the Father of the Nation placing another wreath at his mural along with her fellow leaders from the Awami League.
The leaders of Awami League’s associate bodies joined Hasina to mark the occasion which has been the first official programme of the party after the Awami League formed the government for a third consecutive term.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages on the occasion of Bangabandhu's Homecoming Day.
The Pakistani occupation army had arrested Bangabandhu from his Dhanmondi home on Road No. 32 in March of 1971, just after he proclaimed the independence of Bangladesh through a message. A brutal crackdown by the Pakistani army followed in Dhaka.
The nation was ultimately released from the Pakistani occupation after a nine-month war inspired by his brave leadership, even as Bangabandhu remained detained in a Pakistani prison.
However, under international pressure, he was released from jail on Jan 8 in 1972 and flown to London on a PIA flight. From there he came to Dhaka on a special flight via New Delhi.
On his arrival at the airport, a delighted Bangabandhu burst into tears when he hugged his four close associates, who had led the War of Liberation in his absence.
Tens of thousands of people from all walks of life waited on the Mymensingh Road, now VIP Road, to catch a glimpse of Bangabandhu as an open truck carrying him moved towards the Racecourse, now Suhrawardy Udyan.
Bangabandhu delivered a speech filled with emotion to the newly emerged nation. He was prepared to walk to the gallows in West Pakistan, but knew that no-one could ‘supress’ the Bengalis, Bangabandhu said in his 20-minute speech.
“My Bangladesh has become independent today. I have achieved my dream. My people are free today.”