SILCHAR: Come May 19, people of Barak Valley individually and collectively pay tributes to 11 language martyrs who laid down their lives on this day of 1961 for the sake of mother tongue Bengali. A historic movement built up against the move of the then State government to deprive the people of the undivided Cachar of their basic fundamental right. The agitation turned into mass protest which paralysed the administration and normal life. Protesters assembled at Silchar railway station to block the movement of trains in a most peaceful and democratic manner when police resorted to unprovoked firing, killing 11 persons including young girl Kamala Bhattacharjee.
Since then the historic day is being observed as martyrs' day. In view of restrictions imposed in the wake of pandemic COVID-19, there was no mass gathering. Various organisations which included Bhasa Sahid Smarak Samiti, Barak Upatyaka Banga Sahitya Sanskriti Sammelan, Sammilit Sanskritik Manch in house assembly strictly following guidelines paid their glowing tributes to the martyrs, recalling their supreme sacrifices.
At yet another function at the cremation ground and Silchar Railway Station, Deputy Commissioner of Cachar, Keerthi Jalli, along with Additional Deputy Commissioner, Sumit Sattawan and Assistant Commissioner, Abhilash Barnawal, and Rajdeep Roy joined together to pay tributes to the martyrs. Keerthi Jalli asked people to take inspiration from the martyrs and said, "If we can protect ourselves from COVID-19, we can save our language."