By Dr Aynal Haque
RAJSHAHI, March 2, 2016 (BSS) - The overall situation in the city of Rajshahi became volatile with the spontaneous protest of general masses since March 1 in 1971 when the then Pakistani rulers had postponed the scheduled March 3 session of National Assembly.
Postponement of the scheduled parliament session by the Pakistani ruler, as part of a heinous conspiracy, instantly turned the Rajshahi people revolutionary since the beginning of March in 1971 with spontaneous protest of the common people.
Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman rejected cancellation of the scheduled parliament session from March 3 and called strike on March 2 in Dhaka and on March 3 throughout the country.
Recalling the situation of that time, Dr.Tasiqul Islam Raja, retired principal of Shahmukhdum Degree College, said thousands of people came out on the streets spontaneously under the banner of Sarbadaliyo Chhatra Sangram Parishad and Sramik Sangram Parishad.
"The people demonstrated their protest and demanded immediate handover of power to Awami League, the party which secured great majority in 1970 general election," he said.
Public and private offices and business activities came into a total halt, academic activities of the educational institutions were suspended while production in mills and factories throughout the city remained stopped for an indefinite period.
It was part of a spontaneous protest that turned the city into a place of fierce movement and demonstrations. Total general strike was observed in the city paralyzing the civic lives and business activities.
To gear up the movement by cashing the hit generated in the political field, cross-section of freedom-loving people took out series of processions on eight-kilometer road from Rajshahi University to Rajshahi court breaking curfew on March 3 in conformity with the central programmes.
The independence-seeker Bangalees paraded the city streets here chanting slogans 'Jago Jago Bangali Jago,' 'Beer Bangalee astro Dhoro, Bangladesh Swadheen koro.'
At around 11.30 am on the same, the then occupation forces from the adjacent Telephone Exchange Building opened fire targeting a procession at Ranibazar area killing at least one person and injuring many others.
The brutal attack and killing of innocent people had fuelled fiery minds of the protesting people and the movement got new momentum with more vigorous protest at most of the parts of the city and districts.
During the liberation war of 1971, Rajshahi witnessed both atrocities by the Pakistan army and heroic struggles by the freedom fighters.
The largest mass grave in Bangladesh is located in Rajshahi University, which was used as Pakistani army camp during the liberation war of 1971, recalled by Mahbubuz Jaman Bhulu, Administrator of Rajshahi Zila Parishad.
On the other hand, one of the biggest great battles of the liberation war took place near Rajshahi. Captain Mohiuddin Jahangir, who died in the battle, was awarded the highest honour (Bir Srestho) by the Bangladesh government after the war.
Contribution in the war of independence began from the massive movement in 1969 to protest the illegal and unlawful tyranny of the Pakistani government, the students of this university became furious. On February 18, 1969 the students of the university brought out a protest procession where the police force took preparations to shoot at the procession.
The then Proctor and professor of the Chemistry department Dr. Shamsuzzoha laid down his life to save the students from the bullet pierced by the then Pakistani law-enforcing agency.
During the liberation war, Rajshahi University teachers, officials and students played an imperative role to free the country from the Pakistani forces.
The Shabash Bangladesh Chhattar, martyr archives, mass grave yard, and tombs of Dr. Shamsuzzoha, Sukhrojjon Samaddar, Mir Abdul Qaiyum and Shaheed Habibur Rahman and presence of the existing freedom fighters make it a glorious one.