Flashback March 1971
Yahya bans AL, charge Mujib with treason
Published : Friday, 27 March, 2020 at 12:00 AM Count : 123
Government troops from West Pakistan launched a military offensive on the night of March 25 against Bengalis, including Bengali troops and policemen that ultimately led to the War of Liberation.
President Agha Moham-mad Yahya Khan formally banned the Awami League (AL) on March 26 in 1971.
The atrocities run by Pakistani occupation forces on unarmed Bangladeshis led to the beginning of the freedom fight as Sheikh Mujibur Rahman announced that 'they attacked innocent people in Dhaka, fights are going on in every road in Chittagong' and said that
'there is no way but to fight the enemy and throw them out of our country'. He also urged for international help.
In the morning in Dhaka Cantonment, the arrested Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is taken to the Flag staff House. Here he is kept the whole day and later in the evening taken to an unknown location.
The military authorities clamped curfew and attacked houses, buildings, slums and Awami league leader's houses with machineguns and other arms. Area after area was set on fire, looting and murder continued in the hands of the Pakistani troops and their local cronies.
With the help of non-Bengali's Pakistan military attack old Dhaka and continued their carnage till late into the night, along with that many news offices such as Ittefaq, The People and Bangla'r Bani offices were damaged by the fire from military tanks.
On the day the independence of Bangladesh was announced not only in the capital Dhaka but throughout the country the red and green flag of a free Bangladesh was hoisted.
Soon after the Pakistan army took over Dhaka Betar Kendro in the early hours of March 26 in 1971. The Pakistanis renamed the radio station as "Radio Pakistan Dacca" and used it to announce martial law orders. On the evening of that same day, a small radio station started broadcasting defiantly in the face of the Pakistan military's bloody onslaught on the Bengalis. The clandestine radio station, located in Kalurghat north of the city of Chittagong called itself Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendro.
The first persons to broadcast that "Sheikh Mujibur Rahman has declared the 75 million people of East Pakistan as citizens of the sovereign independent Bangladesh." in the evening on March 26, 1971 from Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendro in English were Ashikul Islam, a WAPDA engineer, and in Bengali, Abul Kashem Sandwipi. Later in the evening MA Hannan also broadcast the declaration (Bangladesh Observer, April 23, 1972).
As evening descended on March 26, Bhutto arrived in Karachi, to tell waiting newsmen, "Thank God, Pakistan has been saved." In the evening, Gen Yahya Khan addressed the nation to announce outlawing of the Awami League and a determination to punish Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for his "act of treason" in challenging the authority of the government of Pakistan.
CIA chief Kissinger sends a Memorandum to President Nixon:
"The West Pakistani army has moved to repress the East Pakistan secession movement. Our embassy believes that the military probably has sufficient strength to assert immediate control over Dacca and other major cities, but is not capable of maintaining control over an extended period."
Minutes of the Washington special actions group meeting:
"After reviewing the situation in East Pakistan, the WSAG agreed that the US should continue its policy of non-involvement in the dispute between West and East Pakistan. In particular, the US should avoid being placed in a position where it could be accused of having encouraged the break-up of Pakistan. The WSAG agreed that the US should delay action on any request that might be forthcoming for recognition of an independent East Pakistani regime."
The Pakistan army started indiscriminate attack on the people in the whole province including Dhaka on the night of 25 March under their "Operation Searchlight" programme.
A telegram containing the text of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's declaration reached some students in Chittagong in the early hours of March 26.
Today Bangladesh is a sovereign and independent country. On Thursday night, West Pakistani armed forces suddenly attacked the police barracks at Rajarbagh and the EPR Headquarters at Pilkhana in Dhaka. Many innocent and unarmed people have been killed in Dhaka city and other places of Bangladesh. Violent clashes between EPR and Police on the one hand and the armed forces of Pakistan on the other are going on. The Bengalis are fighting the enemy with great courage for an independent Bangladesh. May Allah aid us in our fight for freedom. Joy Bangla.
The non-cooperation movement came to an end through the proclamation of independence.