Bangladesh to celebrate 49 years of independence Thursday amid virtual coronavirus lockdown 

  • Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2020-03-26 01:46:46 BdST


Bangladesh is set to celebrate the 49th anniversary of independence from Pakistan with restrictions on gatherings due to a coronavirus pandemic.

The nation had prepared for massive celebrations for the day as it has come just after the birth centenary of independence hero Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, but the COVID-19 outbreak had already forced gatherings restricted even before the Mujib Barsha started.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in a televised address to the nation on the eve of the day, said it is going to be observed in different circumstances this year considering the public health risk due to the coronavirus.

She urged all to refrain from organising programmes with gatherings to prevent the contagion from spreading further, saying the government’s top priority is to save the people.   

Such curbs on programmes to celebrate the day in independent Bangladesh are unprecedented.

The government has cancelled major events, including placing of wreaths at the National Memorial in Savar to pay tributes to the martyrs of the nine-month Liberation War that started on this day in 1971 following Bangabandhu’s call for independence and a genocide by the Pakistani forces in the night of Mar 25 that year.

President Md Abdul Hamid is not hosting a party at the Bangabhaban on the day while the authorities cancelled gathering of children and parade at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka and reception of freedom fighters at district and Upazila levels.

Hamid said in his Independence Day message that Bangladesh will enter into a new chapter as the golden jubilee of the country’s independence will be observed in 2021 with great enthusiasm.

“With the concerted efforts of all, let our beloved motherland be a poverty-free developed one; it is my expectation on Independence Day,” he added.

Hasina in her message urged all to get united in the spirit of the Liberation War and maintain the continuation of development and democracy by foiling any sort of conspiracy.

The heads of state and government also extended greetings to the Bangladeshis at home and abroad.