What happened on Wednesday, March 3, 1971
For the second day in the city of Dhaka and for the first day all over the country, a general strike was observed at the call of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. During the strike, normal life in the city came to a complete standstill.
The manifesto of the Declaration of Independence of Bangladesh was declared in the presence of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at the meeting of the Sarbadaliya Chhatra Sangram Parishad, the alliance of the main student organisations, in Paltan Maidan. A call to join the war for liberation by preparing for armed conflict; asserting Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as the leader of an independent Bangladesh; the National flag with a red sun on the dark green land and the red sun containing the golden map of Bangladesh; ‘Amar sonar Bangla ami tomay bhalobasi’ as the National anthem; the principles of democratic governance and a socialist economy; a nationally declared area of 56,000 square miles; etc. were the key elements of an independent Bangladesh raised in this manifesto.
The manifesto called for men from armed forces, including EPR, police and other forces to participate in the liberation war along with the rest of the people of Bangladesh; it called for the formation of a Sangram committee (Action Committee) including people of all classes and professions including workers-peasants, students-teachers, artists-poets-writers, journalists, businessmen and government-private officials-employees. Millions of people present in Paltan Maidan raised their hands up high in support of the manifesto.
Sarbadaliya Chhatra Sangram Parishad leaders took oath to snatch the independence of Bangladesh from Pakistan regime.
The whole of East Pakistan resounded with slogans like “Our leader, Sheikh Mujib Sheikh Mujib” (তোমার নেতা আমার নেতা, শেখ মুজিব শেখ মুজিব), “The path paved by Sheikh Mujib, will lead to Independent Bangladesh” (শেখ মুজিবের পথ ধরো, বাংলাদেশ স্বাধীন করো).
During the strike, hundreds of people across the country were killed by gunfire by the Pakistani army and various other incidents during the spontaneous processions of the people. Besides Dhaka, curfew was imposed in Rangpur and Sylhet.
A 24-hour curfew was imposed in Rangpur from 2.30 pm when clashes broke out between the Pak army and the people. Curfew was imposed in Sylhet from 7 pm to 7 am the next day. The curfew in Dhaka was relaxed to be from 10 pm to 6:30 am.
In a statement, President Yahya Khan announced the decision to hold a conference of leaders on March 10 in Dhaka. It was announced from the President House in Rawalpindi that the National Assembly session would be held two weeks after the conference. Sheikh Mujib immediately declined the invitation of President Yahya.
Addressing Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Mujib said, “If you do not want a constitution made in a democratic manner, then you should write your own constitution. We will compose the constitution of Bangladesh on our own.”
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman appealed to people to donate blood to the blood bank to save the lives of the wounded in the hospital. He warned the people that certain anti-independence groups in Bengal were involved in looting, arson and disorderly conduct. This evil conspiracy to mislead the movement towards freedom had to be stopped.
Translated by Masuma Begum
Editorial contribution by Arghya Raihan
Researched, compiled & Edited by Sagar Lohani
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