Nation recalls today horror of March 25

The nation is observing Genocide Day today, recalling the horrors of the genocide on March 25, 1971 committed by the Pakistani occupation army against the unarmed people of Bangladesh.

Government organisations, political and socio-cultural organisations have taken different programmes to mark the day.

As part of the programmes taken by the ministry of liberation war affairs, lights will be kept off from 10:30pm to 10:31pm on March 25 throughout the country, barring the key point installations as a symbolic move.

The liberation war ministry will organise cultural programmes, including a musical drama based on genocide and the War of Independence, across the country.

President Md Abdul Hamid said in his message that the observance of this day as Genocide Day is a great recognition to the supreme sacrifices made by three million people in the struggle for freedom of Bangladesh as well as a symbol of vigorous protest against the brutal genocide of the then Pakistani occupation forces.

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina in her message on Genocide Day said, ‘We do not want war and conflict; killing men, women, and children dipped us in demise. We believe in peace. If sustainable peace prevails, the overall development of the country accelerates.’

Newspapers will publish special supplements on the genocide committed by the occupational Pakistani forces on the night of March 25, 1971.

The ruling Awami League organised a rally and discussion in front of its Bangabandhu Avenue central office to mark the day.

The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party also undertook different programmes, including a discussion in the capital to observe the day.

Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal also organised a discussion session, paying floral tribute to the martyrs.

Besides, discussions will be held at all educational institutions, including madrassahs, where heroic freedom fighters and noted personalities will share their memories with students.

A discussion meeting will be held at the Liberation War Museum at 9:30am, besides an exhibition of rare photos and documentaries on mass killings on the premises of all the city corporations, including Dhaka.

Special munajat will be offered at mosques after Juhr prayers while other places of worship will hold separate programmes seeking eternal peace for martyrs, who were killed on March 25, 1971.

Similar programmes will be organised at the district-upazila level and  Bangladesh missions abroad.

The Pakistani military launched its infamous ‘Operation Searchlight’ on March 25, 1971, killing several thousand freedom-loving Bengalis that night alone.

As part of the crackdown, tanks rolled out of Dhaka cantonment and a sleeping city woke up to the rattles of heavy weapon fires as Pakistani troops attacked Dhaka University halls, then East Pakistan Rifles (now Border Guard Bangladesh) headquarters, Rajarbagh Police Lines and the Old Town of Dhaka killing several thousand unarmed Bengalis.

People tried to resist the occupational army by barricading streets, felling trees, and through other activities while members of the East Pakistan Rifles and police put up a brave fight with outmoded 303 rifles against heavily armed Pakistani troops.

At midnight, the occupational troops raided the residential quarters of Dhaka University teachers and the halls and butchered many teachers and students.

In simultaneous attacks that night many people were killed and injured in the port city of Chattogram and at other places across the country.

The crackdown set off the nine-month War of Independence led by the Mujibnagar government in exile which ended with the emergence of independent Bangladesh on December 16, 1971.

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