What happened on Monday, March 8, 1971
After the approval for Sheikh Mujib’s speech to be broadcast was given late the previous night, at 8.30 am, Dhaka Radio began the broadcast of Sheikh Mujib’s historic speech of March 7 on the racecourse grounds.. It was also relayed from other radio stations in the province.
Almost every newspaper of the day contained the news and analysis of the historic speech on the Racecourse grounds.
Students League (ছাত্রলীগ) president Noor- e- Alam Siddiqui and General Secretary Shahjahan Siraj, and Dhaka University Central Students Union, DUCSU’s Vice-President ASM Abdur Rab and General Secretary Abdul Quddus Makhan said in a joint statement, “We fully support the direct program announced by the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at the historic public assembly at Racecourse Maidan, declaring the present liberation movement of Bengal a ‘Movement of Independence’. We urge the revolutionary people of Bengal to dedicate themselves to this movement.”
That night, Awami League General Secretary Tajuddin Ahmed provided details about Sheikh Mujib’s March 7 directive in a statement. It said that banks would be open from 9 am to 3 pm and would be able to make cash deposits, pay salaries and wages, pay up to Tk. 1,000 and make interbank clearance and cash transactions within Bangladesh. Power supply and necessary sections would remain open. Fertilizer supply and diesel supply of power pumps would continue. Post Office Savings Bank would remain open. Water and gas supply would continue.
In a separate statement, Awami League General Secretary Tajuddin Ahmed protested the press note issued by the military regime, saying that the press note had drastically undercounted the number of casualties. The assertion that the shootings took place only in the case of arson and looting was blatantly untrue. Unarmed civilians protesting peacefully for their rights had certainly been fired upon. The propaganda that the police and the EPR had fired was aimed at creating confusion and doubt among the Bengalis.
About 10,000 Bengalis living in Britain protested in front of the Pakistan High Commission in London, demanding an independent Bengal.
Yahya sent a message to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman saying, “I have no objection to give more than what you want. I will be coming to Dhaka soon, and will discuss in detail.”
In Islamabad, Chairman of People’s Party Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto declined to comment to reporters on Sheikh Mujib’s conditions for the Awami League’s participation in the March 25 National Assembly session.
In a statement, Nurul Amin and Khan A. Sabr demanded immediate handover of power to Awami League.
East Pakistan Student League (পূর্ব পাকিস্তান ছাত্রলীগ) decided to call themselves only “Student League” (ছাত্রলীগ) instead of East Pakistan Student League until the next conference.
Translated by Masuma Begum
Editorial contribution by Arghya Raihan
Researched, compiled & Edited by Sagar Lohani
Gratitude to Christina Rozario