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Khulna city turned into a volcano from first week of March, 1971

Zahid Hossain

KHULNA, March 03, 2015 (BSS) - Khulna city turned into a living volcano from March 1 in 1971 as Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was practically running the country from Road no-32 of Dhanmondi in Dhaka when the then Pakistan president Yahhiya Khan's rule became irrelevant to the Bangalees in the erstwhile East Pakistan.

While describing the situation of Khulna during that period, Md Yunus Ali Inu, the then Chhatra League leader, told BSS that they took metal preparation to form the Khulna Chhatra Sangram Parishad (CSP) as per the directive received from the central leaders of Shwadhin Bangladesh Chhatra Sangram Parishad.

"Thousands of people took to the streets in the city chanting slogans against the Pakistani centrists, demanded handing over of power to Bangabandhu, leader of the majority party Awami League, which scored the highest number of seats in the National Assembly during the 1970 polls," he said.

Inu said an eight-member convening committee was formed at a meeting held at Shaheed Hadith Park led by Chhatra League leader S M Babar Ali. Humayun Kabir Balu was nominated the joint convener while Sheikh Abdul Quyaum, Haider Gazi Salauddin Runu, Hekmot Ali Bhuiyan, Abul Kashem, Sirajul Haque Fakir and Mahbub Alam Hiron were nominated members of the committee.

Also the Deputy Commander of Mujib Bahini (BLF) during the War of Liberation, Inu said senior Awami League leaders were then guiding the committee members to launch non-cooperation movement against the Pakistani rulers in the Khulna region.

"Public and private offices as well as business activities came to a complete halt while the educational institutions suspended academic activities to join the non-cooperation movement against the Pakistani rule. Both public and private mills as well as other industries including shrimp factories in the region remained off from production.

To gear up the movement, Khulna Chhatra Sangram Parishad took a bold decision to hoist the flag of independent Bangladesh at 9-30 am on March 23, 1971 at Shaheed Hadith Park. Hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life under the banner of CSP joined the flag hoisting ceremony.

Meanwhile, CSP followed the decision of central leaders and observed hartal, blockade, rally and protest procession.
Different political parties, labour and student organizations expressed their solidarity with all CSP programmes.

In the industrial belts of Khalishpur and Daulatpur areas, the workers played a very vital role in carrying forward the non- cooperation movement. "I looked after all the movements in this
zone since the 1966 six-point movement of Bangabandhu," he said.

At that time, Inu said, Khulna was divided into 12 Unions
and Zones and the freedom movement was being led by 12 conveners
of CSP as per the directive of Khulna central CSP.

"Khulna Betar Kendra and Desher Dak, a weekly newspaper, published by Lutfor Rahman Zahangir played a vital role to mould the public opinion at that time," said Freedom Fighter and member of CSP Sheikh Abdul Quyum.

Quyum, also the present chairperson of Khulna Citizen Forum, told BSS that the freedom loving people attended all CSP programmes, set ablaze the Pakistani flags and showed their mental preparation to say goodbye to Pakistan for an independent Bangladesh.

Recalling the history of mass movement of March in 1971, Quyum became emotional while saying that Hadis, an employee of a laundry shop, was the first Shaheed in Khulna before the start of the War of Liberation.

Hadis was killed and 50 others were injured when the Pakistani police opened fire on a procession of CSP that paraded from Bangladesh Bank intersection to the then Gandhi Park in the first week of March.

"At a meeting, it was decided that the park should be named after the first martyr of Khulna. Ultimately, the park has been named as Shaheed Hadis Park," Quyum said.

Awami League used to hold meeting at this park everyday afternoon after the killing Hadis. All latest news along with directives about the non-cooperation movement were circulated from this park at that time.