What happened on Thursday, March 4, 1971
An all-out strike was observed in Dhaka and all over Bengal from 6 am to 2 pm on the call of Awami League chief Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to protest the announcement of adjournment of the National Assembly session and killing of activists by the Army and Police. As a result, the civilian rule of the province collapsed completely.
During the strike, 6 people were martyred when shot by the army in Khulna. In Chittagong, on March 3 and 4, the death toll rose to 121 in two days.
Upon Mujib’s call, hundreds of men, women and students waited hours to donate blood to the blood bank of Dhaka Medical College Hospital, to save the lives of the brave fighters who had been shot in the course of the struggles of the growing freedom movement.
Radio Pakistan Dhaka started broadcasting as ‘Dhaka Betar Kendra’ and Pakistan Television Dhaka as ‘Dhaka Television’. The radio and television artists announced that as long as the people and students of the country were involved in the struggle, they would not take part in radio and television programs.
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman made a statement, saying that ‘no nation has ever been liberated without accepting the ultimate sacrifice’. He congratulated the heroic people of the nation for responding to the call to stand against the conspiracy to continue colonial exploitation and rule of the land.
Awami League chief Sheikh Mujibur Rahman called for a strike on March 5 and 6 from 6 am to 2 pm, adding that government and private offices where employees had not yet received their salaries would be open from 2.30 pm to 4.30 pm only for the payment of salaries.
At a press conference at the Karachi Press Club, Air Marshal (retd.) Asghar Khan demanded an immediate transfer of power to the majority party, the Awami League, to save the country from detachment.
In a statement, PDP chief Nurul Amin declined an invitation to attend a conference of political leaders on March 10 and demanded that the President convene a session of the National Assembly in Dhaka immediately.
In separate statements, the Dhaka University Teachers’ Association and 55 teachers of the university expressed their displeasure over the anti-people role of Dhaka’s ‘Daily Pakistan Observer.’
At a news conference in Karachi, Pakistan People’s Party chairman Zulfikar Ali Bhutto said that for the unity of the country, his party is trying to get as close as possible to the 6-point Manifesto. When asked about whether he would now agree to a session of the National Assembly to end the explosive situation in East Pakistan, Bhutto said, “The tide is flowing. We will contact the journalists again to inform about this.”
Major General Rao Farman Ali, who was in charge of the civilian affairs of the governor, went to Sheikh Mujib’s residence at night with certain proposals. In response to his proposal, Mujib described how Bengalis were dying and asked them firmly to accept his demands. At this time Tajuddin Ahmed arrived there, saying that, “It is no longer possible for us to co-exist under the same roof.” After that the discussion did not go ahead.
On this day, the Bengali soldiers of EPR from Peelkhana (EPR Garrison) and Police from Rajarbagh police Line started chanting slogans of Joy Bangla, declaring solidarity with the processions on the streets.
The East Pakistan Journalists Union declared solidarity with the movement and demanded the withdrawal of military rule from East Pakistan.
All along the streets, slogans were raised, ‘Rise to the cause, Bangali’ (জাগো জাগো বাঙালী জাগো), ‘Our identity resides in our rivers Padma, Meghna, Jamuna’ (তোমার আমার ঠিকানা, পদ্মা-মেঘনা-যমুনা), ‘Bangladesh, Bangladesh – your’s and mine’ (তোমার দেশ আমার দেশ, বাংলাদেশ বাংলাদেশ).
Translated by Masuma Begum
Editorial contribution by Arghya Raihan
Researched, compiled & Edited by Sagar Lohani
Gratitude to Christina Rozario
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