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Khulna turned into a 'volcano' from 1st week of March in 1971

KHULNA, March 5, 2016 (BSS) - Khulna city turned into a "volcano" from March 1 in 1971 as Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was virtually running the country from Road No-32 of Dhanmondi in Dhaka when the then Pakistan president Yahia Khan's rule became uncalled-for to the Bangalees in the then East Pakistan.

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

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

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

Younus Ali Inu, also deputy commander of Mujib Bahini (BLF) during the War of Liberation, 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.

"Production in both public and private mills as well as other industries, including shrimp factories, in the region remained stopped.

"To gear up the movement, Khulna Chhatra Sangram Parishad (CSP) took a bold decision to hoist the flag of independent Bangladesh on the morning of March 23, 1971 at Shaheed Hadis Park.

"Hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life under the banner of the CSP joined the flag hoisting ceremony.

"Meanwhile, the CSP followed the decision of central leaders and observed hartal, blockade, rally and protest procession.

"Different political parties and labour and student organizations expressed their solidarity with all CSP programmes.

"In the industrial belts of Khalishpur and Daulatpur areas, the workers played a 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 Lutfar Rahman Zahangir, played a very important role to mould the public opinion at that time," said Freedom Fighter and member of CSP Sheikh Abdul Qaiyum.

Qaiyum, also the present chairperson of Khulna Citizens' Forum, told BSS that the freedom-loving people joined all CSP programmes, set ablaze the Pakistani flags elsewhere and showed their mental strength to say goodbye to Pakistan for an independent Bangladesh.

Recalling the history of mass movement of March in 1971, Qaiyum became emotional while saying that Hadis, an employee of a laundry outlet, was the first martyr (Shaheed) in Khulna before the start of the War of liberation.

Hadis was killed and 50 others were injured when the Pakistan police opened fire on a procession of CSP that was going 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," Qaiyum said.

Awami League used to hold meetings in this park every afternoon after the killing of Hadis. All the latest news along with directives about the non-cooperation movement was circulated from the park every day at that time.