Sheikh Mujibur Rahman yesterday deplored the postponement of the National Assembly session and said, "We cannot allow this to go unchallenged as we have our responsibility to the people."
The Awami League chief at a hurriedly called news conference at a local hotel, at the end of a brief session of the Awami League's parliamentary party in the National Assembly announced the party's programme to protest the postponement of the NA session.
He gave a call for a complete hartal in Dacca today (Tuesday) and throughout the country on March 3, the day on which the National Assembly session was scheduled to commence at Dacca.
He also announced that there will be a public meeting at Ramna Race Course on March 7 where he will outline the further course of action of his party.
He also said that he will hold discussions on the present situation with Maulana Bhashani, Mr. Nurul Amin, Mr. Ataur Rahman Khan, Prof. Mozaffar Ahmed and other leaders.
Thousands of people with lathis and iron rods in their hands surrounded the hotel where Sheikh Saheb was addressing the press conference. They raised slogans against the postponement of the NA session.
In an emotion choked voice Sheikh Mujib described the postponement of the NA session as "a product of a long time conspiracy which has been going on since general elections."
He said that his party was a democratic and constitutional organisation. "We try to follow democratic proccess which means non-violence and non-co-operation." He warned that if force was used in this constitutional fight, the consequences will not be his responsibility.
Deploring postponement of the NA session he said that it violated the principles of democracy. He regretted that when all MNAs-elect from West Pakistan except those blonging to PPP and Qayyum Muslim League had agreed to attend the session to frame a constitution it had to be postponed. This is most unfortunate, he added.
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman said that the democratic process had almost failed only because of the sentiments of the minority party. So far we are concenned we have our responsibility to the people. We cannot allow this to go unchallenged.
He replied in the negative when asked if he was consulted before the postponement. He, however, told a questioner: " I got the information; I have information of everything happening in the country. I told you time and again that conspiracy is going on. I get some information", he said.
To a question whether he will seek cooperation of West Pakistan, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman said that he would ask the people of the Punjub, Sind, Baluchistan and NWFP to rise to a man against this conspiracy and protest against the postponement of the NA session.
While asking the people to be ready for making any sacrifice, he advised them not to resort to violence, "We are a democratic party and believe in democratic process and shall go for constitutional movement".
Ready for any consequences
APP adds : when asked whether he apprehended the arrests of his party members, Sheikh Mujib said that they were ready for any consequences. "My people are with me; let us hope for the best and prepare for the worst."
The Awami League chief said that he had given a programme up to March 7. My party, he said, had outhorised me to take any decision. In the parlimentary party meeting, he said the members renewed their oath which they had taken at mass rally at Race Course Maidan on January 3.
When he asked as to what he expects from the non-Bengali speaking people living in Bengal, the Awami League chief said, "They are the sons of the soil. They must join with the people here".
While making the statement Sheikh Mujib said that all MNAs-elect from Bengal were here for the session. All MNAs-elect from West Pakistan, except those belonging to parties of Mr. Bhutto and Mr. Qayyum Khan, had agreed to come to Dacca for the session. He said that democratic process had almost failed. The Assembly Session has been postponed only for the sentiment of the minority party. He said that " this was the product of deep-rooted conspiracy and we cannot allow this to go unchallenged".
He said it was the chain of the long time conspiracy. "I have in my previous speeches, time and again, stated that conspiracy is going on in this country even after the general elections on the basis of adult franchise. We have been elected by people and we are responsible to them for framing a constitution", he added.
Referring to Mr. Bhutto's statement he said that Mr. Bhutto had threatened to take law and order in his hands. "We wanted co-operation from everybody. We offered to explain the Six-point programme. Democracy says majority opinion must be accepted and we are the majority." While analysing the course of events Sheikh Mujib said that he had suggested the convening of the NA session on February 15 while Mr. Bhutto suggested the first week of March. This was opposed by him. He said that then again Mr. Bhutto suggested the postponement of the session which he again opposed.
Sheikh Mujib said that when RTC was being convened Mr. Bhutto had declined to attend Mr. Bhutto had also decided not to participate in the elections. Then he pleaded for delaying the elections and now for the postponement of the NA session.
He said , "My people have given a verdict in favour of Six-points. I will stick to it."
Source: Morning News, 2 March '71