Zia’s death anniv observedStafff Correspondent
The 31st anniversary of the death of the late president Ziaur Rahman, also the founder of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, was observed on Wednesday across the country.
The BNP, its associate bodies and different socio-political organisations held programmes including discussions, prayer sessions, recitation from the Qur’an and distribution of foods among the destitute on the occasion.
Local BNP units, however, could not hold any programmes marking the day in many districts as either ruling party men ‘attacked’ them or Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, banning unlawful assembly, were ordered.
The party on Tuesday began an eight-day programme to observe the anniversary of its founder, who was a sector commander in the war of independence and was decorated with the gallantry award Bir Uttam.
A career military officer, Zia retired from the Bangladesh Army as a three-star lieutenant general. He was the first sector and brigade commander of the Bangladesh Forces during the war of independence in 1971.
Born on January 19, 1936 in Bogra, Zia, who was the chief of army staff before becoming the seventh president of Bangladesh in 1977, was assassinated by a group of disgruntled army officers at the Chittagong Circuit House in 1981.
The BNP chairperson, Khaleda Zia, also the leader of the opposition in the parliament, along with the party’s senior leaders and activists paid homage to Ziaur Rahman by placing floral wreaths on his grave at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar on Wednesday.
She also said prayers at the graveside as Jatiyatabadi Ulema Dal organised a programme of recitation from the Qur’an there.
BNP standing committee members Moudud Ahmed, MK Anwar, Mahbubur Rahman, Nazrul Islam Khan, Abdul Moyeen Khan and Rafiqul Islam Mia, vice-chairmen Abdullah Al Noman, M Hafizuddin Ahmed, Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury, Selima Rahman and Altaf Hosssain Chowdhury and opposition chief whip Zainul Abdin Farroque and other party senior leaders attended.
Front organisations of the party, including Juba Dal, Chhatra Dal, Swechchhasebak Dal, Sramik Dal, Krishak Dal, Mahila Dal and different professional bodies placed floral wreaths on the grave.
Khaleda later inaugurated a blood donation and medical camp organised by the Doctors’ Association of Bangladesh at the graveside before distributing food in different city places.
The association also set up another blood donation and medical camp at the party’s central office at Naya Paltan.
Khaleda inaugurated food and clothe distribution programme in front of the Mohammadpur Town Hall. Food and clothes were later also distributed in the eidgah at Mohammadpur, playground near Kalabagan bus stand, New Market, Japan Bangladesh Friendship Hospital at Jigatala, North South Road, Naya Bazar, Bangshal, near Jagannath University, Rathkhola, Kaptanbazar, Gulistan, Shahjahanpur, Naya Paltan and Segunbaghicha.
The food distribution programme will continue in the capital until June 2.
A prayer session was also held the at Khaleda’s house and at her office at Gulshan, her press secretary Maruf Kamal Khan told New Age.
The party and black flags were hoisted at half-mast at all party offices across the country.
The BNP and its front organisations held and will be holding a series of discussions on Zia’s life and works over the next few days in the capital as elsewhere in the country.
New Age correspondents from outlying districts said that local BNP units held different programmes including prayer sessions and discussions on the occasion.
The correspondent in Patuakhali said that at least 35 people, including a policeman, became injured as local Awami League and BNP units had clashed at Rangabali over holding a discussion marking the occasion.
Local people and the police said that a group of AL men attacked the BNP programme with sharp weapons and sticks.
The Nababganj unit BNP in Dhaka could not hold the programme as the upazila administration ordered banned unlawful assembly in the upazila as two factions of the party were preparing to hold discussions in the same place about the same time.
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