Dhaka: Thousands of Bangladeshis on Friday paid tributes to those who sacrificed their lives for liberating the country in 1971.
The 40th Victory Day celebrations began in the capital with a 31-gun salute at the Tejgaon Old Airport at dawn, the Daily Star reported.
On this day in 1971, around 93,000 Pakistani troops led by Lt. Gen. A.A.K. Niazi surrendered before Lt. Gen. Jagjit Singh Aurora, then India`s Eastern Army commander.
People from all walks of life Friday sang patriotic songs and defied the cold winter morning to march towards monuments built in memory of the national heroes.
Streets were flooded with enthusiastic people raising patriotic slogans and carrying banners of different political, social and cultural organisations.
The day was declared a public holiday. The national flag was hoisted at all government, semi-government and other important establishments.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Opposition leader Khaleda Zia placed wreaths at the National Mausoleum.
Awami League president Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, the founding father of Bangladesh, on March 26, 1971, gave a call for independence of East Pakistan, bringing with it the wrath of the then West Pakistani forces.
The Pakistani troops and their local collaborators launched a crackdown past midnight of March 25, 1971. With the help of India, Bangladesh was liberated Dec 16, 1971.