Monday, 27 March, 2023

March 14, 1971

Movement reaches its peak

The second and final phase of the non-cooperation movement was reaching its peak amid sheer enthusiasm and a great spirit of patriotism among the mass people.

On March 14, 1971, they showed thumbs down to martial law and refused to attend their respective offices and do government duties like the initial days of the movement.

In his March 7 speech, Bangabandhu gave four conditions for joining the National Assembly session.

People organised rallies and brought out processions in Dhaka to create pressure on the West Pakistani establishment so that they accept the four conditions.

On that day, terming Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s demands logical, Council Muslim League chief Mian Mumtaz Muhammad Khan Daultana urged the Pakistan government to accept them in order to bring an end to the political crisis in the country.

While talking on the same issue, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Parliamentary Party leader Maulana Mufti Mahmud said, "In spite of the disastrous gravity of the situation in East Pakistan, of the tremendous heat and pressure generated there and the scope thus given to disruptive forces, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman has shown his stature and his firm commitment to the solidarity of Pakistan, by putting in the present crisis the four demands that are not in the least parochial or regional, but exclusively based on a national approach."

On March 14, National Awami Party (NAP) leader Khan Abdul Wali Khan and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had a meeting at the latter’s residence in the presence of some senior Awami League office bearers.

Upon the conclusion of the two leaders’ meeting, Bangabandhu said that the power-seeking attitude of the government and some politicians has created a volatile situation in the country.

With a confident voice, he said it would be a fight for the independence of Bangladesh.

On the other hand, Jamaat-e-Islami chief of parliamentary affairs Syed Siddiqul Hasan Gilani had made Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chief ZA Bhutto responsible for the ongoing crisis on the day.

He said Bhutto’s threat of boycotting the National Assembly session on March 3 deteriorated the whole situation.

On the other hand, PPP organised a rally in Karachi’s Nishtar Park where Bhutto proposed that power be handed over to the major parties of Pakistan.

While addressing the rally, he said there were two wings of the country. The PPP got a majority in West Pakistan, while the Awami League was the most popular in East Pakistan.

If power was transferred to the majority parties of the two wings, it should be equally given to the Awami League in East Pakistan and the PPP in West Pakistan. He then urged Bangabandhu to sit for dialogue.

On March 14, National League chief Ataur Rahman Khan addressed a public rally in Barishal, where he called for the formation of a temporary government by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

On that night, Bangabandhu called upon the freedom-loving people of East Pakistan to continue their agitation programmes. He also issued new instructions for the subsequent days.

"Bangladeshi citizens’ fight cannot go in vain. We’re indomitable because we’re ready to die," the great leader said.