Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has warned those in her country who support Pakistan but at least one daily owned by her adviser and business tycoon Salman Rahman has carried a full day Pakistan Day advert on March 23.
Rahman whose wields much power and believed to be responsible for ousting Tarrana Halim from telecom owns “The Independent” which carried the Pakistan Day advert.
Leading papers like “Daily Star” did not carry the advert paid for by Pakistan High Commission in deference to public sentiments.
Bengali stands to lose his identity if he does not come out strongly against the conspiring forces in love with Pakistan……..Those, who have patronised war criminals, are equally responsible. I think their trial should be held
Sharp at 9pm on the 25th of March 2018, the entire nation plunged into one minute of absolute darkness to mourn for the innocent lives lost on the fateful night of 25th March, forty seven years ago.
The day was observed officially for the second time in the country after the parliament unanimously adopted a resolution on March 11, 2017 in this regard.
People across the country kept their lights off for one minute. However, the government did not suspend the power supply.
Emergency services remained out of the purview of the blackout program while additional security measures were in place.
On the fateful night of March 25 in 1971, the Pakistani military junta resorted to mass killing in Dhaka to implement their blueprint to thwart the Awami League’s assumption of office following the election mandate of 1970.
In the attack dubbed “Operation Searchlight,” the Pakistani forces mercilessly killed the Bengali members of then East Pakistan Rifles and police, students, teachers and common people.
They killed people indiscriminately, set fire to houses and property, and looted business establishments, leaving a trail of destruction.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages on the occasion as the nation set to observe the ‘Genocide Day’ in a sombre mood to commemorate the brutalities and cowardly attacks carried out by the Pakistani occupation forces on the unarmed Bengalees on the black night of March 25 in 1971.
The Prime Minister hit out at Pakistan, saying its Army launched a ‘heinous’ military operation in 1971 which triggered a ‘genocide’ during the liberation war, killing three million innocent people.
“The Bengali’ stands to lose his identity if he does not come out strongly against the conspiring forces in love with Pakistan,” the Prime minister said.
“Those, who have patronised war criminals, are equally responsible. I think their trial should be held,” she said while addressing a discussion at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the capital.
The genocide has been recorded in the Guinness Book, she said.
The Prime minister bitterly criticised BNP chief Khaleda Zia for raising doubt on the number of martyrs in the War of Liberation.
“Some 30 lakh people sacrificed their lives and two million women were violated during the war.
The prime minister came down heavily on Khaleda Zia and Ziaur Rahman for rehabilitating war criminals and conferring ministerial responsibilities upon them.
“The governments of Zia, Ershad and Khaleda worked for turning the country into a failed state,”she added.
The Prime minister said Bangabandhu declared the independence of Bangladesh just before he was arrested in the wee hours of the morning of March 26, and responding to his call, the Bengali nation achieved the memorable victory on December 16, 1971 by waging and winning a bloody Liberation War.
Dhaka moves up the global per–capita–income hierarchy and shuns the tag of a Least Developed Country (LDC), she firmly believes that by 2041 Bangladesh will achieve the status of a “developed nation”
She paid tribute to the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the four national leaders.
“We have proved that development is possible if there is effort,” Hasina said, adding that the country will march forward towards economic emancipation under her party.
As Dhaka moves up the global per–capita–income hierarchy and shuns the tag of a Least Developed Country (LDC), she firmly believes that by 2041 Bangladesh will achieve the status of a “developed nation”.
“We will celebrate the birth centenary of Bangabandhu in 2020 and I have a firm belief that we will certainly be able to establish a hunger and poverty free ‘Sonar Bangla’ as dreamt by the Father of the Nation,” she said.
The president in his message said that the 25th March, mass killing is a dark chapter not only in Bangladesh but also in the history of humanity.
“The mass killing carried out by the Pakistani army on the soil of Bengal was the most barbaric genocide in the 20th century,” the President said.
President Hamid urged all, irrespective of caste and creed to establish a non–communal and democratic country imbued with the spirit of the Liberation War and requested people to uphold the spirit and ideologies of Banga Bandhu.
Dhaka University and Dhaka University Teachers Association, too, chalked out elaborate programs to mark the day.
The programs included a photography exhibition near Independence Monument at historic Suhrawardy Udyan, screening of a documentary, and a discussion event.
A special munajat was offered and a Milad Mahfil was held after the Asr prayers, for those who embraced martyrdom on this day in 1971. Dhaka University held a candlelight vigil at Smriti Chironton at 7pm.
Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee lit 47 candles to mark 47 years of the genocide and took out a torch procession.
The Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi too observed ‘Genocide Day’. Messages from President Md. Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina were read out and ‘Stop Genocide’ – a documentary by Jahir Raihan was screened on the occasion.
The gathering also observed one – minute silence paying tributes to the victims of the genocide. ■