Proclamation of Bangladeshi Independence
The independence of Bangladesh was declared on 26 March 1971 at the onset of the Bangladesh Liberation War by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman; the following day the declaration was broadcast by Major Ziaur Rahman in a radio broadcast. On 10 April, the Provisional Government of Bangladesh issued a proclamation on the basis of the previous declaration and established an interim constitution for the independence movement.
|Proclamation of Bangladeshi Independence|
বাংলাদেশের স্বাধীনতার ঘোষণাপত্র
|Created||26 March 1971|
|Ratified||10 April 1971|
|Location||Liberation War Museum|
Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka, Bangladesh
|Author(s)||1st Declaration by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman or by a technician of East Pakistan radio on behalf of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman |
2nd Declaration by Provisional Government of Bangladesh
|Signatories||Constituent Assembly of Bangladesh|
|Purpose||To announce and explain separation from Pakistan|
On 25 March 1971, negotiations between Pakistani President Yahya Khan and Awami League leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman broke down after Khan refused to accept Rahman's plan for a new federal constitution in Pakistan. Rahman's party won an absolute majority in the National Assembly during Pakistan's first free election in 1970. However, the newly elected parliament was barred from taking power due to objections from the Pakistani military and the West Pakistan establishment. The Awami League's 6 points proposal for a Pakistani federation was strongly opposed by bureaucrats and senior politicians like Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in West Pakistan. The League initiated a civil disobedience campaign in East Pakistan to press for convening the parliament, amid rising Bengali aspirations for self-determination and independence. On 7 March 1971, Rahman addressed a huge pro-independence rally in Dhaka. Yahya Khan and Bhutto were in the city throughout March for negotiations. The political process was abruptly ended by President Khan, who faced pressure from the military for a crackdown.[page needed]
In the evening of 25 March, Mujib convened a meeting of senior Bengali nationalist leaders, including Tajuddin Ahmad and Colonel M A G Osmani, at his residence in Dhanmondi. They were briefed by Bengali insiders within the military of an impending crackdown. They implored Mujib to declare independence but Mujib declined to do so fearing he would be tried for treason. Tajuddin Ahmed even brought all the recording instruments but had failed to convince Mujib to record independence declaration. Rather Mujib ordered all the high ups to flee to India. However, Mujib decided to remain in Dhaka in hope of coming to a negotiated compromise with West Pakistan in becoming the Prime Minister of the whole Pakistan.
On the night of 25 March, the Pakistan Armed Forces launched Operation Searchlight in the capital of East Pakistan. Tanks rolled out on the streets of Dhaka. The troops were said to have massacred students and intellectuals in Dhaka University, as well as many civilians in other parts of the city. It set major cities" ablaze and crushed resistance from the police and the East Pakistan Rifles.
Just before his arrest on the night of 25 March, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman sent a message about attacks on EPR and police barracks in Dhaka, and declared the independence of Bangladesh. This message was broadcast from Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendro on 26 March 1971, and was widely reported in newspapers around the world. But according to A K Khandker, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Bangladesh Armed Forces during the Liberation War, Sheikh Mujib did not record any voice message for the declaration, and according to Tajuddin Ahmed, Sheikh Mujib denied it giving the excuse as for fear of being taken as traitor by Pakistan, and then Pakistan would able to take him under tribunal for that. Sharmin Ahmed Ripi, daughter of Tajuddin Ahmed, also made the same claim in her book "Tajuddin Ahmed: Neta O Pita" (Tajuddin Ahmed: Leader and Father). Khandker also added that, not Zia, but a technician of East Bengal radio station first announced the declaration in radio. Then M. A. Hannan, a politician of Awami League, secondly expressed the announcement. Thirdly, Major Ziaur Rahman, the commander of the East Bengal Regiment in Chittagong, went to the Radio station in Kalurghat, Chittagong on 27 March and declared independence of Bangladesh on behalf of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
On 17 April 1971, the Provisional Government of Bangladesh was formed in Mujibnagar. It converted the elected Bengali members of the national and provincial assemblies of Pakistan into the Constituent Assembly of Bangladesh. The constituent assembly issued a second proclamation of independence, which also served as the fundamental law of Bangladesh until the adoption of the constitution in 1972. This proclamation was drafted by Barrister M Amir-ul Islam and reviewed by Indian Barrister Subrata Roy Chowdhury. The text is given in the following:-
|Declaration by the Constituent Assembly|
|PROCLAMATION OF INDEPENDENCE
Whereas free elections were held in Bangladesh from 7 December 1970 to 17 January 1971, to elect representatives for the purpose of framing a Constitution,
Whereas at these elections the people of Bangladesh elected 167 out of 169 representatives belonging to the Awami League,
Whereas General Yahya Khan summoned the elected representatives of the people to meet on 3 March 1971, for the purpose of framing a Constitution,
Whereas the Assembly so summoned was arbitrarily and illegally postponed for indefinite period,
Whereas instead of fulfilling their promise and while still conferring with the representatives of the people of Bangladesh, Pakistan authorities declared an unjust and treacherous war,
Whereas in the facts and circumstances of such treacherous conduct Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the undisputed leader of the 75 million people of Bangladesh, in due fulfillment of the legitimate right of self-determination of the people of Bangladesh, duly made a declaration of independence at Dacca on 26 March 1971, and urged the people of Bangladesh to defend the honour and integrity of Bangladesh,
Whereas in the conduct of a ruthless and savage war the Pakistani authorities committed and are still continuously committing numerous acts of genocide and unprecedented tortures, amongst others on the civilian and unarmed people of Bangladesh,
Whereas the Pakistan Government by levying an unjust war and committing genocide and by other repressive measures made it impossible for the elected representatives of the people of Bangladesh to meet and frame a Constitution, and give to themselves a Government,
Whereas the people of Bangladesh by their heroism, bravery and revolutionary fervour have established effective control over the territories of Bangladesh,
We the elected representatives of the people of Bangladesh, as honour bound by the mandate given to us by the people of Bangladesh whose will is supreme duly constituted ourselves into a Constituent Assembly, and
having held mutual consultations, and
in order to ensure for the people of Bangladesh equality, human dignity and social justice,
declare and constitute Bangladesh to be sovereign People's Republic and thereby confirm the declaration of independence already made by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and
do hereby affirm and resolve that till such time as a Constitution is framed, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman shall be the President of the Republic and that Syed Nazrul Islam shall be the Vice President of the Republic, and
that the President shall be the Supreme Commander of all the Armed Forces of the Republic,
shall exercise all the Executive and Legislative powers of the Republic including the power to grant pardon,
shall have the power to appoint a Prime Minister and such other Ministers as he considers necessary,
shall have the power to levy taxes and expend monies,
shall have the power to summon and adjourn the Constituent Assembly, and
do all other things that may be necessary to give to the people of Bangladesh an orderly and just Government,
We the elected representatives of the people of Bangladesh do further resolve that in the event of there being no President or the President being unable to enter upon his office or being unable to exercise his powers and duties, due to any reason whatsoever, the Vice-President shall have and exercise all the powers, duties and responsibilities herein conferred on the President,
We further resolve that we undertake to observe and give effect to all duties and obligations that devolve upon us as a member of the family of nations and under the Charter of United Nations,
We further resolve that this proclamation of independence shall be deemed to have come into effect from 26th day of March 1971.
We further resolve that in order to give effect to this instrument we appoint Prof. Yusuf Ali our duly Constituted Potentiary and to give to the President and the Vice-President oaths of office.
PROF. YUSUF ALI
- খন্দকার, এ কে (2014). ১৯৭১: ভেতরে বাইরে (in Bengali). Prathamā Prakāśan. pp. 55–70. ISBN 978-984-90747-4-8. Retrieved 16 October 2020.
During the liberation war, I used to live in the house next to the house where Prime Minister Tajuddin Ahmed lived on Theater Road towards the end of the liberation war. One day I asked him, "Sir, did you get any instructions from Bangabandhu before he was arrested?" He replied, 'No, I have not received any instructions.' That night Bangabandhu told everyone to hide, but he did not tell anyone where he would go. He did not tell anyone what the leadership of the party would be like if he was arrested. In addition to the meeting between Tajuddin Ahmed and Sheikh Mujib on the evening of March 25, Maidul Hasan, in a discussion between Maidul Hasan, Wing Commander SR Mirza and me on the topic of "Pre-Liberation War: Conversation", said: He did not discuss the decision with anyone at the helm of the party. He did not say who or what would lead if he was not there and for what purpose. Do we have to have a separate committee to lead? What will be their strategy? Will they have a program? No one knew the role of the elders of the party, the role of the youth or the role of the party. During the liberation war, I also asked Tajuddin Ahmed about the incident on the night of March 25. Tajuddin Ahmed admitted that the draft declaration was his own and suggested that Bangabandhu read the draft declaration. The text was probably like this: “The Pakistani army attacked us suddenly. They have started repression everywhere. In this situation, everyone has to jump into the freedom struggle of our country and I declared the independence of Bangladesh. "Mr. Tajuddin further said that after giving the draft declaration to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, he did not read it and remained unanswered. Tajuddin Ahmed said to Bangabandhu, "Brother Mujib, you have to tell this. Because what will happen tomorrow, if all of us are arrested? Then no one will know what we have to do. If this announcement is kept in a secret place later "We can broadcast the announcement. If anything can be done through radio, it will be done." Bangabandhu then replied, "It will be a document against me. For this the Pakistanis will be able to try me for treason." Tajuddin Ahmed was very angry at this and left Dhanmondi No. 32 after 9 pm. Later, Maidul Hasan asked the Awami League's publicity secretary Abdul Momin about this. He was also present at Bangabandhu's house on the night of 25 March. Abdul Momin said that when he was entering Bangabandhu's house, he saw Tajuddin Ahmed carrying files in his armpit with a very angry look. Abdul Momin took Tajuddin's hand and asked, "Why are you angry? Then Tajuddin Ahmed narrated the previous incident to him and said, 'Bangabandhu is not willing to take any risk. But one-after-one attacks are coming on us.'
- "ABC News, 26 March, 1971". YouTube. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
- "Bangabandhur Shadhinota Ghoshonar Telegraphic Barta". BDNews24. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
- "সংযোজনস্বাধীনতার ঘোষণা: বেলাল মোহাম্মদের সাক্ষাৎকার". bdnews24.com.
- "March 27, 1971: Zia makes radio announcement on independence". The Daily Star. 27 March 2018. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
- "Radio Interview". YouTube. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
- "Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendro and Bangladesh's Declaration of Independence". The Daily Star. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
- Karim, S. A. (2005). Sheikh Mujib: triumph and tragedy. The University Press. ISBN 978-984-05-1737-4.
- Bass, Gary Jonathan (2014). The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide. Vintage Books. p. 50. ISBN 978-0-307-74462-3.
That night [25 March] ... The Pakistani military had launched a devastating assault on the Bengalis ... tanks led some of the troop columns.
- Bass, Gary Jonathan (2014). The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide. Vintage Books. p. 70. ISBN 978-0-307-74462-3.
A secret Pakistani postwar judicial commission ... included the testimony of senior Pakistani officers decrying the vengeful attack on Dacca University, the execution of Bengalis by firing squads, mass sweeps in which innocent people were killed.
- "Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendro and Bangladesh's Declaration of Independence". TheDailyStar.net. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
- Chowdhury, Mukhlesur Rahman (2019). Crisis in Governance: Military Rule in Bangladesh during 2007–2008. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. 40. ISBN 978-1-5275-4393-5. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
- Constitutional foundings in South Asia. Kevin Tan, Ridwanul Hoque. Oxford, UK. 2021. ISBN 978-1-5099-3027-2. OCLC 1192304407.CS1 maint: others (link)