Tower Hamlets remembers Bengali language martyrs in midnight memorial
PUBLISHED: 18:58 22 February 2019 | UPDATED: 18:58 22 February 2019
More than 1,600 people have gathered at Altab Ali Park to commemorate four students who lost their lives during the campaign to get Bangla recognised as a state language of Bangladesh.
At one stroke past midnight, the high commissioner for Bangladesh, the mayor of Tower Hamlets, the speaker of the council and the council’s chief executive placed the first wreath on the martyrs’ monument, known as the Shaheed Minar.
John Biggs, mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “Tower Hamlets is proud to be home to residents from so many diverse backgrounds and cultures.
“Martyrs’ Day reminds us of the sacrifice made by the brave people who fought for justice.”
The four died in a 1952 protest as part of the Bengali Language Movement. The language was recognised in 1956.
At the time Bangladesh was part of Pakistan. Tensions between the regions came to a head in the 1971 with the Bangladesh War of Independence.
Tower Hamlets council partnered with the Kendrio Shaheed Minar Committee to organise the service.
The memorial came as part of International Mother Language Day, an annual event held every February 21.
The day also promotes cultural and linguistic diversity.