• Sunday, Feb 05, 2023
  • Last Update : 09:24 am

Rajshahi’s situation turns volatile since early March ’71

  • Published at 09:22 am March 3rd, 2021
freedom fighters-1971-war
File Photo of freedom fighters in 1971 Courtesy of Anwar Hossain Foundation

Total general strike was observed in the city paralyzing the civic lives and business activities

The overall situation of Rajshahi became volatile with the spontaneous protest of general masses from the initial stage of March in 1971 when the then Pakistani rulers had postponed the scheduled March 3 session of the National Assembly.

Commemorating the situation of that time, Former Vice-chancellor of Rajshahi University Prof Saidur Rahman Khan said thousands of people came out on the streets spontaneously under the banner of Sarbadaliyo Chhatra Sangram Parishad and Shramik Sangram Parishad.

Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman rejected cancellation of the scheduled parliament session from March 3 and called a strike on March 2 in Dhaka and on March 3 throughout the country.

Prof Khan said the people demonstrated their protest and demanded immediate handover of power to Awami League, the party which secured a great majority in the 1970 general election.

He also said postponement of the scheduled parliament session by the Pakistani ruler, as part of a heinous conspiracy, instantly triggered the Rajshahi people to revolution since the beginning of March in 1971 with spontaneous protest of the common people.

Public and private offices and business activities came to a total halt, academic activities of the educational institutions were suspended while production in mills and factories throughout the city remained stopped for an indefinite period.

It was part of a spontaneous protest that turned the city into a place of fierce movement and demonstrations.

Total general strike was observed in the city paralyzing the civic lives and business activities.

To gear up the movement, cross-section of freedom- loving people brought out a series of processions on eight-kilometer road from Rajshahi University to Rajshahi court breaking curfew on March 3 in comply with the central programs.

Valiant Freedom Fighter Dr Abdul Mannan said the Independence-seeker Bangalees paraded the city streets here chanting slogans ‘Jago Jago Bangalee Jago’, ‘Beer Bangalee astro Dhoro, Bangladesh Swadheen koro’.

At around 11.30 am on the same day, the then occupation forces from the adjacent Telephone Exchange Building opened fire targeting a procession in Ranibazar area killing at least one person and injuring many others.

The brutal attack and killing of innocent people had fuelled fiery minds of the protesting people and the movement got new momentum with more vigorous protest in most parts of the district.

During the Liberation War, Rajshahi witnessed both atrocities by the Pakistan army and heroic struggles by the freedom fighters.

The largest mass grave in Bangladesh is located in Rajshahi University, which was used as Pakistani army camp during the Liberation War of 1971.

On the other hand, one of the biggest great battles of the Liberation War took place near Rajshahi. Captain Mohiuddin Jahangir, who braced martyrdom in the battle, was awarded the highest honour (Bir Shrestho) by the Bangladesh government after the war.

Having contribution to the war of independence beginning from the mass uprising in 1969 to protest the illegal and unlawful tyranny of the Pakistani government, the students of the university became furious.

On February 18, 1969 the students of the university broke out a protest procession where the police force took preparations to shoot at the procession.

The then Proctor and professor of the Chemistry Department Dr Shamsuzzoha laid down his life to save the students from the bullet shot by the then Pakistani law-enforcing agency.

During the Liberation War, Rajshahi University teachers, officials and students played an imperative role to free the country from the Pakistani forces.

The Shabash Bangladesh Chhattar, martyr archives, mass grave yard, and tombs of Dr Shamsuzzoha, Sukhronjon Samaddar, Mir Abdul Qaiyum and Shaheed Habibur Rahman bear a mark of memory of independence struggle.

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