From Tetulia to Teknaf life came to standstill for eight hours beginning 6 in the morning as the 70 million people of East Bengal observed hartal protesting the postponement of the National Assembly session in response to a call given by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for national mourning.
Government offices went without attendance, factories and mills ground to a halt and all means of transportation including railway were completely paralysed. Students boycotted their classes. All shops and bazars remained closed even after the end of the hartal at 2 p.m.
Dacca turned into a city of processions. The angry processionists came from all areas of the city. They came from industrial and residential areas. They came on foot. They came on trucks. But everyone chanted slogans for the establishment of rights of the people of Bangladesh. The processionists were all armed with bamboo sticks, iron rods and, in fact, with whatever came handy.
All roads led to Paltan Maidan where Sheikh Mujibur was to address a meeting at 3 p.m. The huge assemly spilled over the maidan. All rooftops were occupied. The Jiannah Avenue, DIT Avenue and, in fact, the entire surrounding area was a vast sea of human heads.
Processions were also brought out with the bodies of some of those who had died in firings earlier in the day and the proceeding night. Early in the morning four bodies were brought to Shahid Minar from where a mammoth procession later paraded the streets.
Reports of arson and looting in different parts of the city were also received, several shops were looted and houses were set on fire, precautionary measures were, however, taken promptly to prevent further disturbances. Complete hartal was observed in Narayanganj. Factories, offices, shops and bazars remained closed.
Later in the afternoon public meeting jointly convened by the local Awami League and Students League was held at the DIT field. After the meeting, a big procession was brought out.
Addressing the meeting Mr. Mostafa Sarwar, secretary for social welfare of Awami League deplored that the ethics of democracy was violated even after the general elections.
Messrs Nazimuddin Mahmud, A Sattar, Sultan Mahmud Mallick and Emdad Hossain were among those who addressed the meeting.
Source: Morning News, 4 March '71