General

Genocide Day observed with call for its international recognition

DHAKA, March 25, 2017 (BSS) - The nation today observed the 'Genocide Day' for the first time with the demand for recognizing the day as "International Genocide Day" commemorating the atrocities launched by Pakistani Army on the unarmed Bengalis on black night of March 25 in 1971.

The government, Awami League, 14-party alliance, other political, social and cultural organizations drew up elaborate programmes across the country to recall the genocide carried out by Pakistani occupation forces along with its local collaborators including Rajakar, Al Badr and Al Shams as around 30 lakh people embraced martyrdom and two lakh women were raped in the nine month long Liberation War.

President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages yesterday marking the "Genocide Day".

President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today described the "Genocide Day" as a strong protest against the Pakistani genocide launched on Bangalees 46 years ago.

In his message, the President said genocide in 1971 is a black chapter in the history of mankind. "None can forget the horrors of the genocide," he said.

He called for upholding the demand worldwide through the observance of the day so that such genocide would recur nowhere in the world.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in her message, said the incidents of killing of a large number of people in the short span of time are rare in the world.

She said the decision of observing "Genocide Day" is a manifestation of paying tributes to the 30 lakh martyrs who made supreme sacrifices to liberate the nation.

The day's programmes included paying tributes to the 1971 martyrs at killing grounds at different places of the country, prayers, reminiscence, candle light vigil, screening of documentaries, discussions, playing of patriotic songs and recitation of poems.

Awami League observed the day at the cities, districts, thanas, pourashavas and unions throughout the country in a befitting manner.

The 14-party alliance paid rich tributes to the 1971 martyrs by placing wreaths at Mirpur Killing Ground while they also staged a discussion there.

Chaired by 14-praty spokesman and Health and Family Welfare Minister Mohammed Nasim, the discussion was addressed the by Workers Party President and Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal General Secretary Shirin Akhtar, Samyabadi Dal General Secretary Dilip Barua and Swechchhasebak League General Secretary Pankaj Debnath, among others.

Dhaka University and Dhaka University Teachers' Association (DUTA) arranged a candle light vigil at Smriti Chirantan Square in the evening recalling the martyrs of Dhaka University.

A discussion was also held and a documentary was screened to mark the genocide day. Vice-Chancellor Professor AAMS Arefin Siddique joined the function.

On this fateful night in 1971, Dhaka University was one of the main targets as Pakistani military junta carried out a planned massacre killing 200 students, 10 teachers and 12 employees mercilessly.

Jagannath Hall, a non-Muslim dormitory of the university, and Iqbal Hall, now Sergeant Zohurul Haq Hall witnessed a bloodbath on that night.

DU and Dhaka University Teachers' Association (DUTA) arranged a candle light vigil at Smriti Chirantan Square in the evening recalling the martyrs of Dhaka University. A discussion was also held and a documentary was screened to mark the genocide day.

Marking the night, Jagannath Hall organized different programmes including candle light vigil, prayer, reminiscence, screening of documentary, drawing competition and discussion to recall the atrocities carried on the black night. Jagannath Hall Provost Professor Asim Sarker chaired the programmes.

Candles were lit at the Mass Grave and martyrs monument on the dormitory premises while roads inside the hall were painted with the symbolic pictures of the massacre.

Earlier, Awami League advisory Council Member and Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed joined a discussion organized by Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) at the Jagannath Hall Upasanaloy.

Tofail said military ruler Ziaur Rahman and his wife Begum Khaleda Zia had distorted the country's history.

He said Khaleda Zia wanted to create confusion over the total number of martyrs in the Liberation War that followed the attempt of the Pakistanis to divert the history of the independence to another direction.

To mark the day, Liberation War Affairs Ministry also arranged a discussion at the historic Suhrawardy Udyan.

Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque, Dhaka University Vice-Chancellor Professor AAMS Arefin Siddique, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Liberation War Affairs Chairman Captain (retd) AB Tajul Islam, Muktijoddha Sangsad Chairman Helal Morshed Khan, Bir Bikram and Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner Asaduzzaman Miah, among others, addressed the discussion.

The minister also inaugurated a two-day photography exhibition titled "Raktakto March 25, Gonohotyar Itibritto" near the Independence Monument at the historic Suhrawardy Udyan reminding the atrocities committed on March 25, 1971. Cultural functions and discussion programmes were arranged by the ministry at district and upazila levels across the country. Jatiya Press Club also staged a discussion on its premises with its President Muhammad Shafiqur Rahman in the chair.

Conducted by member of JPC executive body and editor of daily Bhorer Kagaj Shyamal Dutta, the discussion was joined by Awami League Advisory Council Member Mozaffar Hossain Paltu, academician Muntassir Mamoon, freedom fighter and journalist Harun Habib, columnist Syed Abul Maksud, journalists Abed Khan, M Shahjahan Miah and Shaheen Reza Noor, among others.

Islamic Foundation also organized a discussion at its office at Agargaon with its director general Shamim Mohammd Afjal in the chair.

Qurankhawni, milad and prayers were held at Baitul Mukarram National Mosque praying for eternal peace of the martyred while Islamic Foundation officers and employees and musullis also joined in the monajat.

Marking the day, Food Minister Advocate Quamrul Islam inaugurated a monument named "Bijoy 71" at Tejgaon CSD Chattar.

International War Crimes Mass Trial Movement and Sramik-Karmachari-Peshajibi-Muktijoddha Samanway Parishad jointly staged different programmes including photo-exhibition, lighting of candles, cultural function and screening of films in front of National Museum at Shahbagh.

Dhaka City Awami League South and North organized two separate rallies at Lalbagh Azad playground and Mirpur Bangla College playground respectively simultaneously.

Workers Party arranged discussion at its office and also screened a documentary on liberation war.

A mass signature campaign demanding international recognition of Genocide Day on March 25 began at Jatiya Press Club.

Prime Minister's Media Advisor Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhory inaugurated the campaign organized by Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) and Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ).

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

Later, a gazette notification was also published in this regard on March 21.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)