Midnight service to celebrate Bengali language martyrs

A midnight service is to be held next Wednesday night to commemorate those who died fighting to protect the Bengali language 61 years ago.

Students and activists gave their lives on February 21 1952 when Pakistani police opened fire on them during a protest for equal status for their mother tongue of Bengali.

Prior to Bangladesh gaining independence from Pakistan in 1971, Urdu had been imposed as the sole language for the country.

More regularly known as “Martyrs Day”, the anniversary is also now recognised by the United Nations as International Mother Language Day.

The ceremony is to be held at the Altab Ali Park in Whitechapel Road, where gates will open from 11pm.

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