Bangladesh is observing its 50th Independence Day today (Thursday).
But this year, the government cancelled all programmes of the day as the country is fighting to contain the transmission of novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
On March 26, 1971, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman declared Bangladesh's independence following the crackdown on unarmed Bangalees on the midnight of March 25 by Pakistani occupation forces.
After a nine-month War of Liberation with the supreme sacrifices of three million people and the honour of 200,000 women, Bangladesh finally achieved its independence on December 16, 1971.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages extending heartfelt greetings and warm felicitations to the countrymen at home and abroad.
President Abdul Hamid in his message said: "Being imbued with the spirit of the Liberation War let it be the pledge in 'Mujib Year' to turn our country into 'Sonar Bangla' by completing the unfinished tasks of Bangabandhu. The golden jubilee of our independence will be observed in 2021 with great enthusiasm. Bangladesh will enter into a new chapter - a new horizon. With the concerted efforts of all, let our beloved motherland be a poverty-free developed one; it is my expectation on Independence Day."
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina in her message said: "By implementing our 'Vision-2021', 'Vision-2041' and 'Delta Plan-2100', we have been working relentlessly to build a hunger-poverty-free developed-prosperous Bangladesh as envisioned by the Father of the Nation. Let us unite in the spirit of the great War of Liberation and maintain the continuation of development and democracy by facing any sort of conspiracy. Let us transform Bangladesh into a safe and peaceful home for our next generation. This should be our firm commitment on the Independence Day.
The day is a public holiday.
National dailies brought out special supplements while Bangladesh Betar, Bangladesh Television, private radio stations and television channels are airing special programmes highlighting the significance of the day.
Different political parties as well as socio-cultural and professional organisations have also suspended all programmes to avoid public gathering and maintain social distancing following the directives of the government as well as the World Health Organization (WHO).