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Nation hoists flag of independence in unison

DHAKA, March 22, 2015 (BSS) - The last nail in the coffin of the Pakistani state was struck on March 23, 1971. Nowhere in what was then East Pakistan was the Pakistani flag hoisted. Instead at the call of the Swadhin Bangla Chattra Sangram Parishad , comprising Students' League and Dhaka University Central Students'Union(DUCSU), it was observed as "National Flag Day" across the country.

All houses and institutions were asked to raise the new national flag of independent Bangladesh. This made the emergence of Bangladesh inevitable.

The day was important for its symbolism. On this day in 1940, the Lahore Resolution was passed that Pakistan observed as its "national day" but the Swadhin Bangla Chattra Sangram Parishad rejected it and called for a "Protest Day".

The "Joy Bangla Bahini" created under the supervision of the Parishad organized an armed march past of a hundred thousand (100,000) volunteers at the Paltan Maidan.

Hasanul Haq Inu, now information minister and president of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JASHOD), then a leader of the "Joy Bangla Bahini" initiated the ceremony by raising the Bangladesh flag, while he shot live bullets in the air from a pistol. The new national anthem "Amar Shonar Bangla" was played in the background as the flag rose.

The procession armed with rifles and other weaponry marched in total military style from Paltan to Bangabandhu's' House on Road 32, Dhanmandi.

Bangabandhu's residence also had a Bangladesh flag hoisted as did all houses and offices across the country and that included the university, secretariat, high court and all other government institutions including the EPR (East Pakistan Rifles, now Bangladesh Border Guards-BGB) headquarters, at Peelkhana. Almost all consulates also raised the Bangladesh flag barring the United States.

Recalling the day, Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu, MP, said "It was a dare-devil act to fire a pistol and raise the (Bangladesh) flag. I was also very much aware of the risks of the act in what was still then, Pakistan. Nevertheless, I did not care. Rather I was proud to do so."

He also said "We knew we were on the road to independence under the leadership of Bangabandhu which initially started as a movement for self-rule."

Meanwhile, Bangabandhu withdrew himself from the on-going talks with President Yahya and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Later, Bhutto and Khan Abdul Qayuum Khan of the Pakistan Muslim League (Qayuum group) met Yahya Khan, separately.

After the meeting Bhutto told newsmen that the Six-point Program of Awami League went beyond autonomy, it verged on sovereignty, therefore he had rejected it.

The National Awami Party (NAP-Bhashani) announced the day as "Swadhin Purba Bangla Dibash" (Independent East Bengal Day), while both groups of East Pakistan Students' Union (EPSU) and many other professional, women's and other organizations brought out processions throughout the country to observe the day.

It was a turning point in the liberation of Bangladesh.