President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina have issued separate messages on the eve of Genocide DayThe nation observes Genocide Day on Wednesday. On the black night of March 25 nearly five decades ago, the Pakistani occupation forces launched a brutal genocide codenamed ‘Operation Searchlight’ on the unarmed Bengalis.
This year the government and political, social, and cultural organizations, including the ruling Awami League, have suspended all programmes in the wake of the deadly coronavirus outbreak, reports BSS.President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina have issued separate messages on the eve of Genocide Day.In his message, the
President said the brutal genocide in the name of ‘Operation Searchlight’ carried out by Pakistani occupation forces on March 25 is a barbaric and tragic happening in the history of this nation.He recalled with profound respect the martyrs of the 1971 Liberation War.The President recalled that the Pakistani occupation forces unleashed the genocide simultaneously in Dhaka and all over the country, including Dhaka University campus, Rajarbagh Police Lines, Pilkhana EPR (now BGB), Jessore, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Saidpur, Comilla, Sylhet and Chittagong.Abdul Hamid urged everyone – irrespective of opinions and party affiliations – to make their contributions from their different positions to
materialize Vision 2041 declared by the government to turn Bangladesh into a developed and prosperous country.Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in her message, said March 25 is the most dreadful day in the life of the Bengali Nation.On this day in 1971, she said, a most horrific and brutal genocide in world history took place in Bangladesh.She paid her deep homage to the greatest Bengali of all times, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the four national leaders, martyred freedom fighters of the Liberation War, and the dishonored women whose supreme sacrifices have given the nation an independent Bangladesh.She
extended her sympathy to the wounded freedom fighters and the members of martyrs’ families.The Bengali nation under the leadership of Bangabandhu fought against the oppression and deprivation of the Pakistani rulers for 23 long years, she said.The premier said the Awami League led by Bangabandhu secured an absolute majority, winning 167 of the 169 seats of East Bengal in the general elections of 1970. But the Pakistani rulers refused to hand over power to the Bengalis, she added.She said calling for independence at the then Race Course Ground on 7 March 1971, Bangabandhu declared, “The struggle this time is the
struggle for our emancipation; the struggle this time is the struggle for independence, Joi Bangla.”Yahya Khan, the then president of Pakistan, began to waste time in the name of negotiations and assembled troops in East Bengal. On 25 March, Yahya Khan secretly went back to Pakistan, giving the order of genocide in the name of Operation Search Light, she added.She said the Pakistani occupation forces began the massacre of innocent and unarmed Bengalis on that black night.The premier said in only nine months, the Pakistani forces and their local collaborators --- Razakars, Al-Badar, and Al-Shams --- killed three million people
all over the country, two lakh women were violated, thousands of homes were set fire to and looted, nearly one crore people were driven out of their homes and were forced to take refuge in India, and more than three crore people were displaced internally. The government of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman framed the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act-1973 for the trial of the war criminals, she added.Sheikh Hasina said under the law, the trial of many offenders had begun. But on assuming power illegally Ziaur Rahman stopped the trial of the war criminals and released them,
she said, adding not only that, he made the war criminals partners in state power.Later, Khaleda Zia also made Nizami-Mujahid, the two notorious collaborators of genocide, cabinet members, allowing them to hoist the national flag on their vehicles and houses, she added.The prime minister said the Awami League government has been conducting the war crimes trial since assuming power in 2009 and some of the verdicts of the trial have already been executed.The trial of the war criminals will go on. “We have taken all-out initiatives to achieve international recognition of the genocide of 1971 in Bangladesh,” she said.Sheikh Hasina said the observance of 25 March as Genocide Day will be regarded as the nation’s memorial of eternal respect and testimony to the martyrs of the Liberation War. “Let us get united with the spirit of the great Liberation War and build a hunger and poverty-free, happy, prosperous Golden Bangladesh as dreamt of by the Father of the Nation,” she said.She wished all the programmes of Genocide Day a grand success.National dailies will publish special supplements and television channels will air special programmes highlighting the significance of the day.In the attack dubbed Operation Searchlight, the Pakistani forces mercilessly killed the Bengali members of the then East Pakistan Rifles and police, students, teachers, and common people.They killed people indiscriminately, set houses and properties on fire, and looted business establishments, leaving a trail of destruction.On March 11, 2017, Parliament unanimously adopted a proposal to observe the day and the Cabinet on 20 March approved the proposal to observe 25 March as Genocide Day Subsequently, the cabinet division in a meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair, unanimously endorsed the decision on March 20, 2017.