MARCH 23, 1971: Red-green everywhere | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 23, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:24 AM, March 23, 2018

MARCH 23, 1971: Red-green everywhere

March 23 is Pakistan Resolution Day and on this day, in 1971, Pakistan's flag was supposed to be hoisted atop buildings and organisation. Instead, all around the capital of the then East Pakistan, except the cantonment and the President's house, the flag of Bangladesh was seen fluttering.

The sight itself proved again that Bangalees did not want to be ruled by West Pakistan. Not anymore.    

Members of Awami League's Shwecchashebok Bahini began the day early in the morning, singing in chorus the tunes of “Joy Bangla”, while hoisting Bangladesh's flag at Bangabandhu's residence.

A crowd of Bangalees thronged in front of the house to hear orders for the next course of action from Bangabandhu himself.

Meanwhile, independent Bangladesh's Central Student Agitation Committee and Central Workers Agitation Committee observed this day as “Protirod Dibosh”.

A meeting on economic issues was held on this day between the representatives of President Yahya Khan and an Awami League team.

It was the Bangladesh flag displayed on every car that was carrying the members of the AL-- a sight which clearly disturbed the junta.

The Awami League submitted a draft of what was considered the final proposals regarding a transfer of power. General Pirzada promised to get back to the AL the next day.

Meanwhile, General Yahya Khan spent the day not at the President's House but in the cantonment instead, where formal preparations for a military strike against the rebellious province were being given its final shape.

Thus, while the pretence of political negotiations was being carried on by the Yahya Khan regime, the military was in fact rushing its plans through to bring the civil disobedience movement to an end, through violence and mayhem.

What would come to be known as Operation Searchlight was formally authorised on this day.

The dark night of Bangladesh was near.

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