From this year, the Awami League-led ruling alliance decided to observe March 25 as ‘National Genocide Day,’ which we believe should also be observed by all other social, political and cultural organisations of the country. As New Age reported on Monday, the ruling party alliance will observe the day countrywide, apart from holding a central programme in the capital. On the night of March 25 in 1971, the Pakistani occupation army unleashed its ‘Operation Searchlight’, a genocide in other words, with tanks and other military arsenals on the unarmed people in different parts of Dhaka and elsewhere of the then East Pakistan, indiscriminately killing hundreds of people. The brutal crackdown not only continued in the following days but also had been extended to all over the country for nine long months. The Pakistani army, in fact, pursued a scorched earth policy during the period, which is why, hardly any village or town was spared from the cruelty. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people of this land lost lives at the hands of the marauding Pakistani army before the country was liberated from the occupation forces through a victorious people’s war on December 16, 1971.
Although it was the people of East Bengal who greatly contributed to Pakistan’s coming into being as an independent state in 1947, the West Pakistani rulers imposed a neo-colonial rule. However, the people of East Pakistan refused to accept the colonial exploitation and launched a series of democratic struggle against the ruler of the West. It is widely believed that the Pakistani junta resorted to the armed attack on March 25 to destroy the struggle. But, the crackdown set off the nine-month independence war fought by people of all ages and classes of this soil, which ended with the emergence of Bangladesh on December 16, 1971. Although the genocide, regarded by many and widely reported at international level as one of the worst genocides of the world, it is yet to be recognised by the United Nations because of, among others, the failure of successive governments to make efforts in this regard. Besides, despite vivid descriptions of the brutalities even by many Pakistani authors, the ruling class in Pakistan has long been in a state of denial of the genocide. Additionally, they have so far even made several efforts to suppress the facts of history.
Under such circumstances, we believe that observance of the National Genocide Day will lead to a mass awareness about the brutal atrocities perpetrated by the Pakistani occupation forces against the people who wanted to get rid of neo-colonial exploitation and regularly remind the younger generation of Bangladesh about the immense sacrifices people here made to win freedom. For this to happen, however, alongside the ruling alliance, all political parties and social and cultural organisations need to regularly observe the day with sincerity and seriousness.