2021: The 12 months in footage

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Updated: 01 Jan 2022 08:00 PM BdST

The coronavirus pandemic has left an indelible mark on daily life in Bangladesh, leaving the economy, education and many other sectors in disarray. But 2021 was also littered with tales of happiness and laughter, tears and sorrows, and hopes and despair which will always be etched in the minds of people. As Bangladesh looks forward to a new dawn in 2022, here’s a look back at the year that was 2021 in photographs.

  • Jan 01, 2021: Muted celebrations ushered in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, but students received new textbooks on the first day of the new year. As many as 343 million textbooks were distributed among more than 41.6 million students across Bangladesh.  

  • Jan 05, 2021: Migrant workers, whose remittances form part of the backbone of the Bangladeshi economy, have suffered various hardships following outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. A group of Bangladeshi expatriates, who worked in Qatar, demonstrate outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Dhaka, demanding urgent attention from the government to facilitate their return to the Middle East. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi

  • Jan 10, 2021: The Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Dhaka Marathon was organised by the Bangladesh Army to mark the Homecoming Day of the Father of the Nation as part of his birth centenary celebrations. More than 200 local and foreign runners took part in the marathon.

  • Jan 21, 2021: The eagerly-awaited COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Dhaka. India sent two million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines as a gift. The vaccine, called Covishield, was manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

  • Jan 23, 2021: As many as 66,189 families received houses under the Ashrayan-2 project, as part of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s initiative to provide homes to the homeless and landless people marking Mujib Year, the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

  • Jan 25, 2021: An Air India flight carrying 5 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, purchased from the Serum Institute of India, landed in Dhaka on Jan 25, 2021. Photo: PID

  • Jan 27, 2021: The Chattogram City Corporation elections took place amid the pandemic, marred by clashes and incidents of violence which left one person dead.

  • Jan 27, 2021: Runu Veronica Costa, a nurse of the Kurmitola General Hospital in Dhaka, received the first COVID-19 vaccine shot in Bangladesh, as the government rolled out a mass immunisation campaign. She was also the first one to receive a booster dose of the vaccine at the end of the year. Photo: PMO

  • Jan 29, 2021: A group of 1,778 Rohingya refugees from the Ukhiya camp sailed for the remote island of Bhasan Char in Noakhali. This was the third batch of refugees from Myanmar to be taken to their new accommodation on the island.  

  • Feb 7, 2021: Health Minister Zahid Maleque receives the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine in Dhaka’s Sheikh Russel National Gastroliver Institute and Hospital. “It’s a happy day for us,” the minister said. A photo of Maleque being flanked by a crowd of onlookers as he took the shot later became a hot topic on social media. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi

  • Feb 09, 2021:  A three-storey building next to the Charail playground in Dhaka’s Keraniganj collapsed and toppled into a nearby swamp. Thankfully, no one was hurt in the incident. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

  • Feb 12, 2021: Ron Sikder, managing director of Sikder Group, was arrested at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport as he returned to the country after his father’s death. He received bail from Dhaka’s Magistrate Court on the same day. Ron had dramatically left the country for Thailand by an air ambulance along with his brother on May 5, 2020, after being charged with the abduction and attempted murder of two Exim Bank officials. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi

  • Feb 16, 2021: A Dhaka tribunal sentenced five militants, including fugitive sacked army major Syed Ziaul Haq and to death and jailed extremist blogger Safiur Rahman Farabi for life over the 2015 killing of science writer-blogger Avijit Roy. Towards the end of 2021, the US State Department announced a reward of $5 million for information about the killers. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi

  • Feb 27, 2021: Protests demanding the repeal of the Digital Security Act rippled through Dhaka after death of writer Mushtaq Ahmed in prison. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi

  • Mar 10, 2021: After his release on bail in a case under the Digital Security Act, cartoonist Ahmed Kabir Kishore appeared at the Dhaka Metropolitan Sessions Judges Court to seek permission to file a case against unidentified individuals on charges of torturing him in an unspecified location before his arrest.

  • Mar 16, 2021: The Guinness World Records authorities recognised an image of Bangabandu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman spread out over a crop field in Bogura’s Sherpur as the largest mosaic of its kind. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

  • Mar 17, 2021: A fire broke out at the ICU of Dhaka Medical College Hospital’s COVID ward. Despite an evacuation, three patients in the incident. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

  • Mar 17, 2021: A colourful inauguration ceremony marking the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence was held at the National Parade Ground in Dhaka. Photo: PID

  • Mar 18, 2021: The curtains were raised on the 37th Ekushey Book Fair, which was earlier postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The book fair in 2021, the golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence, was dedicated to the valiant martyrs of the Liberation War in 1971. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

  • Mar 26, 2021:  Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Dhaka to join the twin celebrations of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s birth centenary and the golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence. Photo: PMO

  • Mar 26, 2021: Islamist groups protested Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh outside the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque. The protests later turned violent, leaving some people, including media personnel, injured in clashes with the police. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi

  • Mar 26, 2021: Leaders and activists of the radical group Hifazat-e Islami attacked Hathazari Police Station and other government offices before clashing with police during violent demonstrations over Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Dhaka for the celebrations of Bangladesh’s 50th year of independence. Photo: Suman Babu

  • Mar 26, 2021: A group of madrasa students in Brahmanbaria vandalised and torched Brahmanbaria Railway Station and other parts of the city following clashes between fellow students with the police in Hathazari, amid protests over Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Dhaka to join the celebrations marking 50 years of Bangladesh’s independence. No train made a stop at the station for seven and a half months following the incident.

  • Mar 27, 2021: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered prayers at the Jashoreshwari Kali Temple in Shyamnagar Upazila of southwestern district Satkhira, and the temples of Harichand Thakur and Guruchand Thakur at Kashiani Upazila in Gopalganj during his visit to Bangladesh on the golden jubilee of the country’s independence. Photo: PID

  • Apr 05, 2021: BIWTA rescue vessel Prottoy pulled up the launch ‘Sabit Al Asad’, a day after it sank in the Shitalakkhya River in Narayanganj after being hit by a cargo vessel. As many as 34 passengers lost their lives in the incident.

  • Apr 07, 2021: Ride-hailing motorcyclists protest against the government’s order banning the service amid a pandemic-induced lockdown.

  • Apr 14, 2021: No events or festivities, including the Mangal Shobhajatra, a celebratory procession, were organised to mark the Bengali New Year, the biggest cultural festival for Bengalis, due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The entrance to Dhaka University’s Faculty of Fine Arts, therefore, was closed on Pahela Baishakh, the first day of Bengali New Year. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

  • Apr 18, 2021: Mamunul Haque, joint secretary general of Hifazat-e Islam, was arrested after being caught at a resort with a woman who he claimed to be his second wife.Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi

  • Apr 20, 2021: Online food delivery service staff wait in front of a restaurant at Mirpur 2, amid the strict lockdown imposed in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The expansion of the e-commerce in Bangladesh was a highlight of 2021 but the sector was marred by allegations of fraud as the year rolled on. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

  • Apr 21, 2021: The first set of coaches for Dhaka Metro Rail arrived in the capital from the Mongla port. The two barges carrying the trains docked at the Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL) jetty in Uttara’s Diyabari. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

  • Apr 28, 2021: Although the situation was not as grave as neighbouring India’s, Bangladesh saw a surge in the demand for oxygen during the coronavirus pandemic. The companies kept their production running for 24 hours to ensure uninterrupted oxygen supply to the health sector. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

  • May 04, 2021: Fire Service personnel engage in efforts to douse the fire that broke out in the Daser Bharani Patrol Camp area under Sharonkhola range in the Sundarbans. The fire burned down trees across 1.31 acres of forest before the firefighters brought it under control after almost 30 hours.

  • May 04, 2021: Hasina Begum, a resident of Cox’s Bazar Teknaf Upazila, was released from Chattogram Central Jail after serving 16 months in prison due to confusion over names. Photo: Suman Babu

  • May O5, 2021: Trees have been hacked down to construct a restaurant, walkways and a parking zone as part of the project to construct Swadhinata Stambha or Independence Monument at Suhrawardy Udyan. Protesters demonstrate against the felling of trees at the park for beautification. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

  • May 08, 2021: Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation decided to suspend daytime ferry services on the Shimulia-Banglabazar route due to COVID-19 concerns. Unable to cope with an onrush of travellers, a ferry packed to the brim leaves the port. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

  • May 11, 2021: The authorities carried out a test run of the first six coaches of electric Metro Rail trains arriving from Japan. The interior of the public transport was also shown to journalists in the unloading area of the project in Uttara’s Diabari. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

  • May 12, 2021: Bangladesh received 500,000 doses of the Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine as a gift from China. Chinese Ambassador Li Jiming formally handed over the vaccine doses to Health Minister Zahid Maleque and Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen at an event in Dhaka.

  • May 12, 2021: Former superintendent of police Babul Akter turned from plaintiff to a defendant in a case over the murder of his wife Mahmuda Akter Mitu. Colleagues of the former police officer bring him to the court following his arrest  The investigation into the murder case took a sharp turn after Mitu’s family pointed the finger at Babul. Photo: Suman Babu

  • May 18, 2021: Rozina Islam, a senior correspondent of the daily Prothom Alo, was sent to jail after she was arrested on charges of ‘stealing’ government documents. She was released on bail afterwards amid condemnation from media activists and rights groups. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

  • May 25, 2021: Ananya Salam Samata, a fifth-year student at Dhaka Medical College, got the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine produced by the Chinese company Sinopharm. Bangladesh launched the vaccination drive using the Chinese vaccine with the inoculation of students from four medical colleges in Dhaka.

  • Jun 01, 2021: A patient is being taken home on a stretcher after his ambulance from Dhaka Medical College Hospital was stuck on an inundated road in Rasulpur, Dhania. Waterlogging brought much suffering to residents across Dhaka. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi

  • Jun 03, 2021: Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal arrives in parliament to unveil a national budget worth over Tk 6 trillion to set Bangladesh on the path to economic recovery, while protecting lives and livelihoods during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Jun 13, 2021: Film actress Shamsunnahar Smriti, popularly known as Pori Moni, holds an impromptu media briefing during which she accused a businessman of trying to rape and murder her at Dhaka Boat Club. The businessman was arrested afterwards. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

  • Jun 16, 2021: Minu Akter, a widow who spent three years behind bars in a murder case after the original convict promised to look after her children, was freed from Chattogram Central Jail. She was killed in a hit-and-run accident 13 days after her release from prison on Jun 28, 2021. Photo: Suman Babu

  • Jun 24, 2021: Students chasing jobs are studying for recruitment tests on the veranda of the library at Dhaka University’s Faculty of Science. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

  • Jun 27, 2021: A horrific explosion triggers the partial collapse of a building while shattering the glass walls of dozens of nearby structures in Moghbazar’s Wireless Gate in Dhaka. The incident left 11 people dead and more than 50 injured. The blast is believed to have been caused by a gas leak somewhere in the building. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi

  • Jul 01, 2021: Bangladesh launched a strict nationwide lockdown for seven days to rein in the surging coronavirus cases. The army was deployed along with the police and other law-enforcement agencies to enforce the lockdown. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi

  • Jul 01, 2021: Wearing a mask is an essential part of the hygiene rules designed to curb the coronavirus pandemic. Sadek Ali Sardar, a rickshaw-puller, decorated his three-wheeler with masks to create public awareness about face coverings. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

  • Jul 09, 2021: A massive fire engulfed the factory of Hashem Foods Ltd in Narayanganj’s Rupganj. The fire started at night and raged on till noon, leaving 53 workers dead, most of whom were women and children. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi

  • Jul 13, 2021: Mohammad Sohag has been selling betel leaf, cigarettes and water at Gabtoli Bus Terminal in Dhaka for two decades. His sales have dropped from around Tk 2,000 a day to almost nothing as the public transportation system was shut down amid the coronavirus lockdown. Now, he sells products worth Tk 200 to Tk 300 a day, and the meagre profit is not enough to run his family. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi

  • Jul 14, 2021: Bangladeshi migrant workers demonstrate outside Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital in Dhaka against ‘irregularities’ in the distribution of coronavirus vaccines after a delay in getting their shots.

  • Jul 19, 2021: BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia received her first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in a car at the Sheikh Russel Gastroliver Institute & Hospital. Photo: Babul Talukder

  • Jul 23, 2021: Seasonal traders left unsold rawhides of cattle sacrificed during Eid-ul-Azha to rot on a street in Old Dhaka’s Lalbagh. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

  • Jul 23, 2021: A ferry, named Shah Jalal, crashes into a pillar of the Padma Bridge while heading to the Shimulia port from Banglabazar in Madaripur. The collision left a large dent on the front end of the ferry. Five such incidents took place in two months, prompting the authorties to suspend ferry operations on the route. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi

  • Jul 29, 2021: The outbreak of mosquito-borne dengue infection emerged added to the woes of Bangladeshis amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of patients hospitalised with the disease in 2021 was several times higher than the previous year. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

  • Jul 29, 2021: The Rapid Action Battalion detained businesswoman Helena Jahangir, who had lost her post in an Awami League subcommittee, after a four-hour raid on her home in Dhaka’s Gulshan.

  • Aug 04, 2021: The Rapid Action Battalion detains actress Pori Moni after a four-hour raid on her residence in Dhaka’s Banani. A drug case was subsequently started against her. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

  • Aug 07, 2021: Bangladesh launched an expanded vaccination drive to scale up immunity against COVID-19. Two elderly women receive their vaccine shots at the Mohammadpur Government Primary School vaccination centre in Dhaka. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

  • Aug 08, 2021: The mosquito-borne dengue infection has added to the suffering of Dhaka residents amid the coronavirus pandemic. A resident of Dhupkhola in Old Dhaka puts up a mosquito net in his veranda to protect himself from mosquitoes. Photo: Kazi Salahuddin Razu

  • Aug 10, 2021: Readymade garment factory workers in Bangladesh are risking their lives by going about their job amid the coronavirus pandemic to keep the wheels of the economy rolling. The Civil Engineers Limited, an apparel factory in Dhaka’s Tejgaon, has taken a distinct initiative to protect its workers from the virus. Photo: Kazi Salahuddin Razu

  • Aug 16, 2021: Royal Bengal Tiger couple ‘Tagar’ and ‘Beli’ gave birth to a male cub, Durjay, and a female one, Abantika, at the National Zoo in Dhaka’s Mirpur on Jun 26, 2021 amid the pandemic. The two cubs unfortunately died on Nov 21. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi

  • Aug 29, 2021: An electric metro rail train makes its first official journey atop the viaducts from the Diabari depot to the Mirpur 12 transit service. Photo: Mostafigur Rahman

  • Sept 01, 2021: Actress Pori Moni is released from jail nearly a month after she was arrested in connection with a drug case. Photos of Pori Moni with “Don’t Love Me Bitch” written on her palm went viral on social media, eliciting reactions from a wider spectrum of people.

  • Sept 02, 2021: The body of Captain Nawshad Ataul Quaiyum, the Biman Bangladesh Airlines pilot who suffered a heart attack mid-air, is flown back to Dhaka’s Shahjalal International Airport, where he would regularly land Boeing 737-800 aircraft. His illness forced the emergency landing of a Dhaka-bound flight from Muscat in India’s Nagpur. He died while undergoing treatment at a hospital in Nagpur. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

  • Sept 12, 2021: Bangladesh reopened schools and colleges 543 days after they were closed at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, in what was the longest-ever break in education in the country. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

  • Sept 16, 2021: The Rapid Action Battalion arrests Mohammad Rassel, the managing director of e-commerce site Evaly and his wife Shamima Nasrin, amid allegations the company embezzled funds from its customers.

  • Sept 23, 2021: Police use batons to break up a protest by more than 1,000 disgruntled customers of Eorange, one of the scam-hit e-commerce companies that grabbed headlines. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

  • Sept 28, 2021: Private university student Seherin Mahbub Sadia died after falling into a drain in Chattogram’s Agrabad. Several people have died in a similar manner across Chattogram city throughout the year.  

  • Oct 01, 2021: Students who passed the HSC and equivalent exams in 2020 take part in Dhaka University’s admission test after a year-long suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic. Exam centres were spread out across eight university campuses in divisional cities. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

  • Oct 14, 2021: Attacks on the Hindu community during Durga Puja festival caused a stir across the nation. A provocative social media campaign centring the alleged dishonouring of the Quran at a Puja venue in Cumilla triggered communal violence during which, Muslim fanatics carried out attacks on temples and places of worship in the city, leaving scores of people injured. Later, the violence spread to a few more districts. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi

  • Oct 17, 2021: Classes at Dhaka University resume after a year and a half amid the coronavirus pandemic. The return of students revitalised the campus. Many students had their exams suspended due to the pandemic and have had to sit for exams as soon as they returned. Photo: Kazi Salahuddin Razu

  • Oct 18, 2021: Protests erupted at Dhaka’s Shahbagh, calling for the arrest and punishment of those who perpetrated the attacks on temples, homes and businesses of the Hindu community across Bangladesh. A group of Dhaka University students also demanded compensation for the victims among a list of seven demands. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

  • Oct 27, 2021: A Ro-Ro ferry, named Shah Amanat, carrying several vehicles capsized in the Padma River near Paturia’s No. 5 terminal in Manikganj. The 40-year-old ferry was supposed to be retired a decade ago.

  • Nov 1, 2021: Schoolchildren receive shots of the COVID-19 vaccine. The nationwide vaccination drive set off through the inoculation of two students from Dhaka’s Motijheel Ideal School. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi

  • Nov 5, 2021: Public transport owners and workers went on strike to demand a rise in fares following a hike in fuel prices. The strike put daily commuters and travellers in misery before coming to an end with an official approval for an increase in fares. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

  • Nov 10, 2021: The dream of the people of southern Bangladesh came a step closer to reality with the initiation of casting pitch of the Padma Bridge. The 100mm-thick pitch being cast in two layers – 60mm for the first layer and 40mm for the second.

  • Nov 11, 2021: A court acquitted all five suspects, including Shafat Ahmed, the son of an Apan Jewellers co-owner, in a case over the rape of two university students at Raintree hotel. Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal Judge Judge Begum Mosarrat Kamrunnahar came under fire over her observation in the case. Later, she was stripped of her judicial powers. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi

  • Nov 14, 2021: The Secondary School Certificate and equivalent exams began after a nine-month delay. As many as 2.22 million students from 29, 035 educational institutions sat for the tests. Photo: Kazi Salahuddin Razu

  • Nov 15, 2021: Members of a women’s organisation demand the scrapping of the provision that allowed the character of those seeking justice in rape cases to be questioned under the Evidence Act. The movement was triggered following the acquittal of the accused in the Raintree rape case. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi

  • Nov 22, 2021: A transgender person receives the COVID-19 vaccine. The drive to inoculate people of the third gender began at Civil Surgeon’s office in Chattogram. Photo: Suman Babu

  • Nov 22, 2021: Students take to the streets to demand safe roads after a city corporation truck ran over and killed Notre Dame College student Naim Hasan in Dhaka. Photo: Kazi Salahuddin Razu

  • Dec 1, 2021:Students continued demonstrating to demand a 50 percent discount on bus fares around the country after the Transport Owners’ Association agreed the provide concession only in Dhaka. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi

  • Dec 1, 2021: The safe roads movement was a throwback to the students’ protest in 2018. Like last time, they went through the drivers’ licenses and stopped vehicles, even those of government officials, when they failed to show the papers. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi

  • Dec 2, 2021: The Higher Secondary Certificate exams began after an eight-month delay. As many as 1.39 million students from 9,183 educational institutions sat for the tests. Photo: Kazi Salahuddin Razu

  • Dec 8, 2021: A Dhaka court sentenced 20 people to death and five others to life in prison for the 2019 murder of BUET student Abrar Fahad, who was beaten to death by Chhatra League activists. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi

  • Dec 12, 2021: Murad Hassan, who left Bangladesh after being sacked as a state minister for obscene comments and rape threats, returned home after his failed bid to enter Canada.

  • Dec 15, 2021: Indian President Ram Nath Kovind arrived in Dhaka for a three-day visit to attend the celebrations marking the golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s victory in its Liberation War and the closing of Mujib Year. Photo: Press Wing, Bangabhaban

  • Dec 19, 2021: Runu Veronica Costa, the nurse who received the first dose of the COVID vaccine in Bangladesh, was also the first to receive the booster dose. Health Minister Zahid Maleque launched Bangladesh’s vaccine boosters programme at the Bangladesh College of Physicians and Surgeons in Dhaka’s Mohakhali.Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

  • Dec 24, 2021: Barguna-bound MV Abhijan-10 launch went up in flames deep into the night after departing Dhaka. Over 40 people in the deadly blaze. Photo: Hasibul Islam Hasan

  • Dec 26, 2021: The government launched the Dhaka Nagar Paribahan service with a fleet of 50 buses after a long wait with the aim of bringing discipline to the chaotic traffic in the capital. The service will transport passengers from Ghatarchar to Kachpur, a 28-kilometre route.Photo: Kazi Salahuddin Razu

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