In Bangladesh's history, indeed in the dark tales of time, the night of March 25, 1971 will remain noted for the ferocity with which the Pakistan occupation forces went after 75 million unarmed Bangalees of what had till then been Pakistan's eastern province.
The nation will recall the 'Black Night of March 25 on Wednesday in commemoration of the night when the Pakistani Junta attacked innocent Bangalee and committed genocide in Dhaka city in 1971.
It was a night when duplicity came full circle - from the military junta headed by General Yahya Khan, from his political accomplice Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Pakistani barbarous occupation force in the guise of a mock dialogue had resorted to genocide in Dhaka city to implement their blueprint to negate the Awami League's election mandate of 1970.
In their dreadful operation named 'Operation Searchlight', the Pakistani occupation forces mercilessly killed the Bangalee members of EPR (East Pakistan Rifles) and police, students and teachers as well as thousands of common people in Dhaka city.
About the Black Night of March 25, 1971, American journalist Robert Payne wrote that at least 7,000 people were killed and 3,000 others were arrested on the night of crackdown that was started in Dhaka.
The Pakistani occupation forces killed people indiscriminately, torched houses, properties and looted shops, business establishments and carried out destruction throughout East Pakistan raising the number of human casualties on that night.
The Pakistani occupation soldiers gunned down at least 11 people in Rangpur, Syedpur and Chittagong. Protesting the atrocities and killing of sleeping Bangalees, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman called a nationwide hartal (shutdown) on March 27.
In the wake of military crackdown, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who became the undisputed leader of the then Pakistan following his party Awami League's massive victory in the 1970 general elections, declared independence of Bangladesh through EPR wireless at 00-30 hours on March 26 (the night following March 25) in 1971 from his Road-32 residence at Dhanmondi in Dhaka.
The great leader also called upon the people to build a united resistance against the Pakistani occupation forces. Later, the Pakistani military junta, in a bid to stop the legitimate movement of the Bangalees, arrested Bangabandhu on that night following his declaration of the country's independence.
Later, Bangabandhu was taken to the then West Pakistan where he had to spend long nine months in a dark condemned cell of a Pakistani jail.
The night of massacre on March 25 in 1971, was a total military operation by Pakistan occupation forces. This was one of a very few military operations in post-World War-II history, which ultimately had been planned against civilians, just to kill a smart percentage of them and to scare the survivors.
The concept of 'Operation Searchlight' was inspired by the My Lai massacre that US Army carried out in Vietnam. The March 25 atrocities carried out by Pakistani military junta triggered the struggle for independence.
Following the declaration of independence by Bangabandhu, the whole nation, except a few pro-Pakistani elements, joined the War of Liberation that lasted long nine months. And ultimately Bangladesh was freed from the Pakistani occupation forces with their surrender at the Race Course maidan, later renamed Suhrawardy Udyan, on December 16 in 1971.
Different political parties and socio-cultural organisations have chalked out elaborate programmes in observance of the Black Night to pay deep homage to the martyrs.
The Sammilito Sangskritik Jote, the Liberation War Museum, Dhaka University Teachers' Association and other organisations have also drawn identical programmes to pay homage to the martyrs of March 25.
Student of the Jagannath Hall at University of Dhaka will commemorate the day with a candle light vigil at the moment when the Pakistani Junta attacked on student and teachers of the university.