The nation will stage a one-minute blackout tonight marking the Genocide Day recalling the horror of one of the worst genocide in modern history committed by the Pakistan occupation army against unarmed people of Bangladesh on the night of March 25, 1971 and afterwards.
All, but emergency establishments, should turn off their lights for a minute from 9:00pm to pay tribute to martyrs of 1971 War for Independence of Bangladesh.
The day’s programmes include candle light vigil, discussions and exhibitions.
The Pakistan army launched their infamous ‘Operation Searchlight’ on March 25, 1971 killing several thousand freedom-loving Bengalis that night alone.
Three million people in the subsequent nine-month liberation war were savagely and systematically killed with help of local collaborators.
As part of the crackdown, tanks rolled out of Dhaka cantonment and a sleeping city woke up to the rattles of heavy weapon fires as Pakistani troops attacked Dhaka University halls, the then East Pakistan Rifles (now Border Guard Bangladesh) headquarters, Rajarbagh Police Lines and the Old Town of Dhaka killing several thousand unarmed Bengalis.
People tried to resist the occupation army barricading streets felling trees and other things while members of East Pakistan Rifles and police put up a brave fight with outmoded 303 rifles against heavily armed Pakistani troops.
At midnight, the occupation troops raided the residential quarters of Dhaka University teachers and the halls and butchered many teachers and students.
Newspaper offices in Dhaka, notably Dainik Ittefaq, Sangbad and the People, were set ablaze for espousing the cause of the Bengalis.
In simultaneous attack that night many people were killed and injured in the port city of Chattogram and at places across the country.
The crackdown set off the nine-month Liberation War led by the Mujibnagar government in exile which ended with the emergence of independent Bangladesh on December 16, 1971.
During the war, Pakistani occupation army and their local collaborators also violated more than two lakh women and about one crore people were forced to leave the country.
The government on March 21, 2017 declared March 25 as the Genocide Day following a parliamentary resolution adopted on March 11, 2017.
President Abdul Hamid and prime minister Shiekh Hasina in separate messages recalled the contribution of all martyrs of 1971 War of Independence.
Hamid said that genocide carried out on March 25, 1971 and onward was the darkest chapter for Bangladesh as well as world humanity.
He urged all irrespective of caste and creed to join the move to establish a non-communal and democratic country being imbued with the spirit of the Liberation War and democratic values.
Sheikh Hasina, in her message, said the then Pakistani President Yahya Khan had assembled troops in the East Pakistan and left for Pakistan secretly on March 25, 1971 giving order for carrying out genocide in the name of ‘Operation Searchlight’.
The Awami League government has decided to observe the day as ‘Genocide Day’, Sheikh Hasina said, adding, ‘We have taken all-out initiatives to get international recognition of genocide carried out in Bangladesh in 1971.’
Liberation war affairs minister AKM Mozammel Huq urged all, but emergency establishments, to turn off their lights for a minute from 9:00pm in observance of the day.
State minister for foreign affairs M Shahriar Alam said the government had taken steps for ensuring UN recognition of 1971 genocide in Bangladesh.
The government has instructed all educational institutions to hold special programmes, including discussion on the genocide, and authorities of all places of worships to hold special prayers on the day.
Different political and socio-cultural organisations and educational institutions have taken elaborate programmes marking the day.
The Awami League-led alliance will hold a rally in front of the Shikha
Chirantan at Suhrawardy Udyan at 4:00pm and then hold a candlelight vigil at 8:00pm.
The Communist Party of Bangladesh will bring out a torchlight procession in the evening from in front of its central office at Purana Paltan at 6:00pm which will end at Shikha Chirantan at Suhrawardy Udyan.
The Workers Party of Bangladesh will hold a candle lighting programme in front of Jatiya Press Club at 7:00pm.
Liberation War Museum will hold a discussion at its office at Agargaon and Jalladkhana in Mirpur 10 in the afternoon.
The Dhaka University will hold art competition, exhibition of installation, candlelight vigil at Jagannath Hall from 4:01pm.
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