MUJIB'S CALL FOR EMANCIPATION OF BENGALEES

Talk with pressmen after the parliamentary party meeting, at Hotel Purbani, on March 1, 1971

 

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Awami League Chief, while talking to the pressmen immediately after the parliamentary party meeting at Hotel Purbani following the announcement of the postponement of the National Assembly session, said that he would make all sacrifices for the emancipation of the 70 million Bengalees.

He further said that a united fight has to be put for ending the colonial treatment to which Bengalees have been subjected for the last 23 years.

The Sheikh said: "Only for the sake of a minority party's disagreement the democratic process of constitution making has been obstructed and the National Assembly session has been postponed sine die. This is most unfortunate as far as we are concerned. We are the representatives of the majority people and we cannot allow it to go unchallenged".

Sheik Mujibur Rahman announced a programme for the next 6 days which included observance of complete strike today in Dacca and a country-wide strike on the 3rd March the date earlier fixed for the National Assembly to meet. On the 7th March a public meeting will be held at the Race Course Maidan in which the Awami League Chief shall announce the final programme. The Sheikh uttered a note of warning: "You will see history made if the conspirators fail to come to their senses". In a determined voice Sheikh Mujib declared:

We are ready for any consequence. I have mentioned many times the fact that a conspiracy is going on in this country. There was a General Election and the people have elected us to serve them and we have a responsibility towards them. But in spite of the clear verdict in our favour, the conspiracy has struck its root.

The majority of the elected representatives of the people are from Bangla Desh and in collaboration with the elected representatives from West Pakistan with the exception of Bhutto's and Qayyum's Parties, we were quite capable of framing the Constitution. We cannot betray our people and we cannot betray the trust the people have placed on us. We shall continue our struggle until we achieve our goal. You know that there is Martial Law in the country. But the Chairman of the Pakistan People's Party has threatened the members of the National Assembly from West Pakistan who were willing to come to East Pakistan to attend the session that they would be liquidated if they come to East Pakistan to attend the National Assembly Session. Mr. Bhutto has taken the Law in his own hands. Is the Law and Order situation only meant for the poor Bengalees?"

Sheik Mujib continued "We want co-operation and we have told them repeatedly that they should come to the National Assembly where we will be able to discuss the framing of the constitution for five days at a time and hold discussion for another five days. Democracy demands that the voice of the majority should be accepted. But in our case, the minority party has always had the upperhand. I suggested that 15th February be set for the opening of the National Assembly, but the Assembly was called for in the first week of March in accordance with the wishes of the minority party.

"This is nothing but a conspiracy which has been played for long 23 years in this country and is still going on only to exploit the 70 million people of Bengal. It is intended to keep Bengal as the colonial market and we are fighting for justice and fairplay and we shall continue fighting until we achieve our goal".

! In reply to a question whether he would proclaim unilateral Independence, Sheikh Mujib said "You Wait". When asked by correspondent whether he was consulted before the postponement of the National Assembly, he said, "No".

To a question of another correspondent regarding the unarming of the Police force at Rajarbagh Police Lines Sheikh Mujibur Rahman expressed his ignorance about it and requested the Press to publish any information they may have in

this respect.

When asked whether he apprehended arrest of his Party members, he said that they were ready for any consequences. Many times the}- had courted arrests before. He added, "My people are with me and let us hope for the best and prepare for the worst".

When asked whether he will oppose Censorship if imposed on the Press Sheikh Mujib replied, "I oppose everything that curbs the freedom of the people".

He informed the press that members of the Awami League Parliamentary Party renewed their pledge to fight to the end and make any sacrifices to achieve the rights of the people. He categorically declared that any sacrifice was too small for the emancipation of the people of Bangla Desh. He also informed that he would discuss latest developments with Maulana Bhashani, Md. Nurul Amin, Mr. Ataur Rahman Khan, Professor Muzzaffar Ahmed and other leaders, as soon as possible.

Replying to a question about the fate of non-Bengalees living in Bengal, the , Awami League Chief said, "they are sons of the soil, they should think this soil as their own and they must join with the people here".

To a question as to what West Pakistan should do Sheikh Mujib said, "they should also rise to the occasion and protest against this conspiracy."

In course of his talk Sheikh Mujibur Rahman stated that Mr. Bhutto had always been acting in the most irresponsible manner. During the Round Table Conference called by Ayub Khan, he declined to attend. Bhutto had also refused to participate in the elections but subsequently agreed to participate. Now he has refused to attend the proceedings of the National Assembly and in all these instances he was given decided preference over the leader of the majority party. Sheikh Shahib stated, "So far as I am concerned, my people have given a verdict on the Six-Point programme and we shall form the constitution on the basis of Six Points and Eleven Points".

(THE PEOPLE, Dacca-March 2, 1971)

 

Source Bangladesh Documents, vol - 1,  Page no 189 - 191