For the first time since Language Movement, Chittagongians paid their tributes to the language martyrs at a makeshift Shaheed Minar — at Chattogram Municipal Model School and College grounds — today, on the occasion of International Mother Language Day.
The Central Shaheed Minar in the port city — on KC Dey Road — has been dismantled for rebuilding under a project. So, a makeshift Shaheed Minar has been erected on the school ground in New Market area.
Chattogram City Corporation Mayor Rezaul Karim Chowdhury inaugurated the makeshift monument on February 5, reports our staff correspondent.
It rained in the port city last night but it could not stop city dwellers from thronging the Shaheed Minar and pay tribute to the language heroes.
Hundreds of people with flowers were seen gathering at the makeshift Shaheed Minar hours before midnight. Many of them were singing the ever familiar “Amar bhai-er rokte rangano Ekushey February”.
Minhaz Uddin, a BBA student at Chittagong University who had Bangla alphabets painted on his face, told The Daily Star that he comes to the Shaheed Minar every year to pay tribute to language martyrs since childhood.
“Earlier, I used to come with my parents and now I come with my friends,” he said.
Tanwi Dutta, another student of CU, was seen with a band on her head where Bangla letters were painted.
Tanwi said every year when she comes to Shaheed Minar, she feels a strength in her heart. “There is no other example in the world where people sacrificed their lives to establish the right to speak their language,” she said, adding, “I salute our language heroes.”
Paying tribute at the makeshift Shaheed Minar started with the CCC mayor placing wreath at 12:01 am followed by Chattogram Divisional Commissioner Ashraf Uddin, DIG of Chattogram Anwar Hossain and CMP Commissioner Saleh Mohammed Tanvir.
Later, different socio political and cultural organisations paid tribute to language martyrs.
The premises of Shaheed Minar and New Market area were abuzz with people this morning too.
Cultural organisations including Udichi Shilpi Goshthi and Bodhon Abritti Academy organised programmes on Jubilee Road.
Contacted, Social Scientist and Vice Chancellor of Premier University Chattogram Prof Dr Anupam Sen said the Central Shaheed Minar was established in Chattogram on February 20, 1962 on KC Dey Road, adding, later it was modernised in 1974.
As there is no other memorial monument in the city, people go to the Shaheed Minar to pay tribute on different occasions including March 26 and December 16, besides February 21.
Government has taken a project worth Tk 232 crore to establish a cultural complex on KC Dey Road area in 2018. To this end, the Muslim Institute Auditorium, the Public Library and Central Shaheed Minar have been dismantled.
Sources said, under the project, an eight-storey auditorium complex and 15 storey public library building would be constructed.
CCC Mayor Rezaul Karim said he hopes that a new Shaheed Minar would be built in the original place on KC Dey Road in nine months.