Tuesday, 28 March, 2023

March 3, 1971

Manifesto of Independence unveiled Rajib Kanti Roy

March 3 in 1971 was a momentous day for the whole nation as a number of momentous incidents took place on this day.
A complete strike was observed across East Pakistan. Swadhin Bangla Chhatra Sangram Parishad organised a rally at Paltan Maidan where student leaders unveiled the Manifesto of Independence.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman clearly talked about independence in that rally as well.
People were furious and Dhaka turned into a city of processions. Thousands of freedom-loving Bangalees, taking part in the processions, joined the mammoth rally at Paltan Maidan.

Then general secretary of Chhatra League Shahjahan Siraj read out the Manifesto of Independence on behalf of students in the presence of Bangabandhu.
While addressing the meeting, Bangabandhu had talked about Bangladesh’s independence. The Daily Ittefaq and the Daily Azad published details about it on the following day.
On the day, Bangabandhu called upon the people to continue their struggle for independence even if he could not stay alive.
“Even if I die, the seven crore people will witness that the country becomes truly independent. Come to Race Course Maidan on March 7, I shall announce the next course of action,” the great leader had said.
After Bangabandhu’s speech, the enthusiastic people reverberated with the slogan “Bir Bangalee Astra Dharo, Bangladesh Swadhin Karo” (Brave Bangalees take up arms and free Bangladesh).
National Assembly member Tofail Ahmed, labour leader Abdul Mannan and Ducsu general secretary Abdul Quddus Makhan addressed the rally held with the then Chhatra League President Nur-E-Alam Siddique in the chair. Ducsu Vice-president ASM Abdur Rob did not speak at the rally for unknown reasons.
Dr Mohammad Hannan wrote the matter elaborately in his book ‘Bangladesher Muktijuddher Itihas’ (History of Bangladesh’s Liberation War).
According to him, at the March 3 rally, Bangabandhu said the payment of taxes would be suspended until the government repression ended and he urged the people to stop going to offices and courts.
Realising people’s aspirations and expectations for independence, Bangabandhu brought the issue of independence in the public rally of March 3.
“If you don’t want a democratically elected government, then you can form your own government. We will form the government of Bangladesh,” Bangabandhu said.
From the Paltan Maidan rally, Bangabandhu announced the observance of hartal every day from 6:00am to 2:00pm from March 4 to 6.
On this day in 1971, General Yahya Khan had called a meeting of political leaders to be held on March 10. He invited Sheikh Mujibur Rahman from Awami League, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto from Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Khan Abdul Wali Khan from National Awami Party, Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan from Pakistan Muslim League and Mian Mumtaz Daultana from Council Muslim League.
This was announced from the Aiwan-e-Sadr (Presidential Palace) in Rawalpindi. It was also said that the national parliamentary assembly would be held within two weeks of the meeting.
However, Bangabandhu refused General Yahya Khan’s invitation to join the meeting calling it a ‘cruel joke’.