Kolkata, Feb 21: West Bengal Thursday observed the Language Martyrs Day to pay homage to those who died for the cause of the Bengali language in Dhaka in 1952.
“I pay my deepest regards to all those who struggled for the cause of mother language and even laid down their lives in our country and abroad, especially Bangladesh,” Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said after paying tribute to the martyrs at Curzon Park here.
The government also held a commemorative programme in Deshapriya Park where intellectuals and artists participated.
Employees of the Bangladesh Deputy High Commission sang songs dedicated to the memory of the language martyrs in the Park Circus area.
A replica of the Shaheed Minar in Bangladesh was set up inside the mission.
In 1948, Pakistan declared Urdu as the official language in both West and East Pakistan. The people of East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, protested.
On Feb 21, 1952, students and political activists took out a procession against Urdu in Dhaka. Police opened fire, killing many people.
This sparked off widespread protests, forcing the Pakistan government to give equal status to Bengali.