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Awami League chief Sheikh Mujibur Rahman announcing his programme of action yesterday evening called upon the people to "continue our common struggle in a peaceful and disciplined manner."

In a statement to the press yesterday evening Sheikh Saheb called for a provincewide hartal everyday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. in all spheres of life and observance of March 3 (today) as a day of mourning.

The Awami League chief urged for the "immediate end to " confrontation, withdrawal of Martial Law and removal at obstacles to exercise by the power that is rightly theirs."

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The Awami League chief also urged the people to be alert against agents provocateurs and to maintain complete peace and discipline and to remember that everyone living in Bangladesh, no matter where he originates from or what language he speaks, is for us a Bengalee and their person, property and honour are our sacred trust and must be protected.

The following is text of the statement issued by Sheikh Mujib to the press last evening.

Unarmed boys have been fired upon today. At least two have died, and several more are seriously injured. They have been shot at because they along with rest of the people of Bangladesh had stood up to protest against the gross insult inflicted upon Bangladesh by powers.

I strongly condemn such firing and urge the element who are seeking to confront the people with force to desist forthwith form this reckless course.

They should be reminded that firing upon unarmed masses amounts to genocide and is a crime against humanity. They should know that if Banglsdesh is afire, as it will be if such confrontation continues, then they would not be able to escape the flames.

We, as the elected respresentatives of the 70 million people of Bangladesh, were ready to sit with the representatives from the western wing on the 3rd March for the purpose of constitution making. Indeed some of the representatives from the western wing had already come to Dacca. But then a sudden and unwarranted intervention prevented this sitting from taking place.

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Minority Dictation

The intervention was prompted by and intransigent minority group, which as the protector of vested interests of the western wing and their bureaucratic lackeys, had declared that the sitting should not be held except on terms dictated by them. They had even gone to the length of threatening a "deal with" other west wing representatives who dared to defy such dictations.

Such denial of the rights of the representatives of the majority of the people at the behest of the undemocratic minority is an intolerable insult to the people.

Since the people of Bangladesh would not submit to such dictation or intimidation, they are now sought to be confronted by force. It is tragic that planes which might have carried elected representatives of the western wing, should instead be engaged in lifting military personel and arms.

If these measures are intended to cowdown seventy million Bengalees, the spontneous demonstration of the will to resist displayed throughout Bangladesh since yesterday should prove to the world that Bengalees cannot be suppressed any more and that they are determined to be the free citizens of a free country. They will no longer tolerate being exploited as a colony or a market.

Sacred Duty

At this critical hours it is the sacred duty of each and every Bengalee in every walk of life, including Government officials not to cooperate with anti-people force and indeed to do everything in their power ot foil the conspiracy against Bangladesh.

Now that representatives have been elected by the people, are the only legitimate source of authority; all authorities, are, therefore, expected to take note of this fact.

In the circumstances, there is no justification for the continuation of Martial Law or military rule by a single day. I, therefore, urge the immediate withdrawal of Martial Law and immediate end to the confrontation and the removal of obstacles to the exercise by the people representatives of the power, that is rightfully theirs.

Our movement will continue till the above demands are met and till the people of Bangladesh realise their emancipation.

Programme

I am announcing our programme of act till 7th March and am issuing the following the directives to our people :

(a) province wide hartal to be observed on each day from 3rd March, 1971 to the 6th March 1971 from 6.a.m. to 2 p.m. in all sphares including Government offices, secretariat, High Court and other court, semi-government and autonomous corporations, PIA, Railways and other communication services, transport, private and public, all mills, factories, industrial and commercial establishments and markets.

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Exemptions

Exemptions are to be extended to ambulences, press cars, hospitals, medicine shops, electric and water supply.

All persons are urged to observe the hartal in a peaceful and disciplined manner and to ensure that no untoward incident such as looting, burning, etc. takes place.

In particular people should be alert against agents provocateurs and should remember that everyone living in Bangladesh no matter where he originates from or the language he speaks is for us a Bengalee and their person, property and honour are our sacred trust and these must be protected.

Day of Mourning

(b) 3rd March, which was to have been the day for the sitting of the National Assembly should be observed as a day of national mourning on which occasion I will lead a procession from Paltan Maidan at 4.p.m. immediately after the conclusion of the meeting being held by students league.

(c) In the events of radio, television or newspapers failing to cover our version of events or our statements, all Bengalees serving in these agencies should refuse to the voice of the 70 million to operate with such gagging of people of Bangladesh.

(d) On 7th March 1971 at 2 p.m., I shall address a mass rally of our people at the Ramna Race Course Maidan, when further directives will be issued.

Peace/Discipline

e) I would urge our people to continue our common struggle in a peaceful and disciplined manner. I would remind them that any breach of discipline would be against the interest of our movement and will serve the interest of agents provocateurs and the anti-people forces.

Mammoth Battala meeting protest NA postponement

A mammoth meeting held at the Dacca University Battala under the auspices of the EPSL and DUCSU yesterday condemned the postponement of the National Assembly session and announced the programme for the commencement of a movement for the establishment of the rights of people of Bangladesh.

The meeting, biggest to be held at the University Campus and the Nilkhet road from New Market to Public Library intersection turned into an ocean of human heads as streams of processionists carrying lathis, iron rods and other weapons poured in from different parts of the city, long before the start of the meeting.

Presided over by Mr. Nur-e-Alam Siddiqui, president of EPSL, the meeting was addressed by messers, A. S. M. Abdur Rab and Abdul Quddus Makhan, Vice-President and General Secretary of the DUCSU and Mr. Shahjahan Siraj, General Secretary of EPSL.

The mammoth meeting raised thunderous slogans denouncing the postponement of the NA session and also those who were responsible for it. Slogans were also raised supporting the programmes launched by Awami League and other political, student and workers organisations following postponement.

Continuing for nearly an hour the meeting was followed by city's one of the biggest processions. The processionists armed with lathis and rods paraded the main thoroughfares of the city including Ramna Road, Kakrail and New Eskaton Road, raising thunderous slogans

NAP Meeting

Later in the evening a public meeting was held at Palton Maidan under the auspices of the East Pakistan National Awami Party (Requisitionist group). The meeting was presided over by Prof. Muzaffar Ahmed and was addressed among others by Mr. Mohiuddin Ahmed, Mr. Abdul Halim, Mr. Nurur Rahman, Begum Matia Chowdhury, Mr. Saifuddin Manik and Mr. Nurul Islam.

The meeting in a resolution urged the students, workers, peasants and masses of Bangladesh to wage mass struggle against these conspiring to frustrate the demands and aspirations of the seven crore Bengalees.

The meeting strongly condemned the announcement postponing the NA session and described it " a conspiracy of the US imperialism". It warned the people of Bangladesh to prepare themselves against the games of the reactionary rullers and the US imperialists.

In a resolution it condemned the imposition of restrictions on newspapers and demanded their immediate withdrawal.

Bangla League

Another protest meeting organised by the Bangla League was held at Baitul Mukarram with Mr. Ataur Rahman Khan presiding. The meeting was addressed among others by Shah Azizur Rahman, Mr. Ferdous Qureshi and Mrs. Amena Begum.

Source: Morning News, 3 March '71