Nation to observe ‘Genocide Day’ tomorrow

DHAKA, March 24, 2019 : The nation is set to observe the ‘Genocide Day’ tomorrow for the third time in remembrance of the brutality carried out by Pakistani Army on the unarmed Bengalis on the black night of March 25 in 1971.

The government has drawn up various programmes to observe the day with due respect.

President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages on the eve of the ‘Genocide Day’.

In his message, the President said the genocide carried out by Pakistani occupation forces on March 25 is a black chapter not only in the history of the Bangladesh but also in the history of world humanity.

Terming the black night as one of the brutal genocides in the history, the President said by carrying out ‘Operation Searchlight’, they (Pakistani occupation forces) just wanted to stop the movement of the freedom-loving people.

Abdul Hamid urged all irrespective of caste and creed to join the move to establish a non-communal and democratic country being imbued with the spirit of the Liberation War and democratic values and upholding Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s ideals and spirits.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in her message, said the then Pakistani President Yahya Khan had assembled troops in the East Pakistan and left for Pakistan secretly on March 25, 1971 after giving order for carrying out genocide in the name of ‘Operation Searchlight’.

From that night (March 25), Pakistani occupation forces along with their local collaborators including Rajakar, and Al Shams killed 30 lakh people in the next nine months, she said, adding two lakh women were violated.

The Awami League government has decided to observe the day as ‘Genocide Day’, Sheikh Hasina said, adding, “We have taken all-out initiatives to get international recognition of genocide carried out in Bangladesh in 1971”.

The premier wished all success of the day’s programmes.

To mark the day, the country is set to stage a one-minute blackout from 9 pm to 9.01 pm on March 25 recalling the horror of the March 25, 1971 black night when the Pakistanis launched genocide on Bangladesh soil.

Discussions and memorial programmes will be arranged at the all educational institutions. Rare photos and documentaries on mass killing will be exhibited on the premises of the Department of Films and Publications to be arranged jointly by Information Ministry, Press and Information Department, Bangladesh Television and Bangladesh Betar.

Besides, rare photos and documentaries on mass killing will be exhibited across the country.

Newspapers will publish special supplements and television channels will air special programmes highlighting the significance of the day.

Special munazat will be offered at all the mosques and other religious institutions, seeking eternal peace for martyrs who were killed on March 25, 1971.

Discussions will be arranged at district and upazila levels marking the day. Besides, cultural programmes on mass killing and the Liberation War will be organised across the country.

In observance of the day, Centre for Genocide Studies (CGS) of Dhaka University is organizing a two-day international conference titled ‘Genocide and Mass Violence’ at the Muzaffar Ahmed Chowdhury Auditorium on the campus from today that will end tomorrow.

The Forum for Secular Bangladesh and Trial of War Criminals of 1971 will bring out a torch procession from the central Shaheed Minar premises at 8:00 pm tomorrow. On the black night of March 25, 1971, the Pakistani military junta carried out mass killing in Dhaka as part of their blueprint to thwart the Awami League’s assumption of office following the victory in the elections held in 1970.

In the attack dubbed ‘Operation Searchlight’, the Pakistani forces mercilessly killed the Bangalee members of the 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.

The Jatiya Sangsad (JS) unanimously adopted a resolution to observe the March 25 as the “Gonohotya Dibos” (Genocide Day) on March 11, 2017. Subsequently, the cabinet division in a meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair, unanimously endorsed the decision on March 20 in 2017.