Dhaka – The nation paid respect to the martyrs of mass upsurge that signifies the fall of a military regime during the Pakistan era nearly five decades ago.
The fall of 10-year military rule of General Ayub Khan eventually paved the way for Bangladesh’s independence in 1971.
In 1969, student-led protesters besieged the Central Secretariat on this day and at one point broke into it and burnt it down partially.
Matiur, a class IX student of Nobo Kumar Institution, and another person died in police firing during the incident.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in separate messages recalled the sacrifice of those who laid down their lives on this day.
Hamid said the 24th January of 1969 will remain memorable as the day of mass upsurge in the history of Bangladesh’s democratic advancement.
Following the path of this mass upsurge, the independence and democratic rights of the people were earned in exchange for huge sacrifices, he added.
Hasina urged all, irrespective of party affiliations, to work together for building a happy, modern, democratic and peaceful country free from hunger and poverty.
“We are working tirelessly to bring smiles on the faces of all, ending exploitation, deception and discrimination,” she said
She said the mass upsurge of 1969 is a significant milestone in the history of the country’s independence.
The nation achieved independence following the language movement of 1952, six-point demand, 11-point demand, mass upsurge of 1969 and the bloody war of liberation, she added.
She said Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had declared the six-point demand in 1966 to liberate the nation from the exploitation of the Pakistani rulers.
To foil the mass movement, the Pakistani ruling clique had filed the Agartala conspiracy case and arrested Bangabandhu. The people, including students, workers and farmers, waged a tough but spontaneous movement against this, she added.
The struggling people brought out a procession on this day (January 24) in 1969 defying repression and curfew imposed by the rulers, she said and added that Matiur Rahman had died as police opened fire on the procession.
Then the mass upsurge compelled the autocratic Ayub regime to release Bangabandhu and others from jail and the autocrat Ayub had to step down.
The mass upsurge still inspires all to fight against misrule and exploitation, added Hasina.