Mar 1, 1971 - Start of Mass Protest & Non-cooperation
Mar 7 - Bangabandhu Speech at Race Course
Mar 25 - Pakistan Army Crackdown & start of Genocide
Mar 26 - Bangabandhu declares Independence
Mar 26 - MA Hannan declares Independence for Bangabandhu
Mar 27-Major Ziaur Rahman declares independence on behalf of Bangabandhu
Apr 10-Constituent Assembly upholds Bangabandhu independence declaration.
Apr 17-First Govenment of Bangladesh takes oath in Mujibnagar, Bangladesh
Mar 26 -Dec 16: Liberation War to defeat & evict Pakistan Army
Pakistan Army murders Bangladesh's Intellectuals
Dec 16 -
Pakistan Army surrenders in Dhaka. Bangladesh is Liberated
Jan 10, 1972-Bangabandhu released & returns to Dhaka
M.A. Hannan’s Declaration, March 26, 1971
“Today Bangladesh is a sovereign and independent country. On Thursday night [March 25, 1971], West Pakistan armed forces suddenly attacked the police barracks at Razarbagh and the EPR headquarters at Pilkhana in Dhaka. Many innocent and unarmed have been killed in Dhaka city and other places of Bangladesh. Violent clashes between EPR and police on the one hand and the armed forces of Pakistan on the other are going on. The Bangalees are fighting the enemy with great courage for an independent Bangladesh. May Allah aid us in our fight for freedom. Joy Bangla,” Awami League leader MA Hannan declared on behalf of Bangabandhu.
Major Ziaur Rahman’s Declaration, March 27, 1971 (from Kalurghat radio station, Chittagong)
“This is Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra. I, Major Ziaur Rahman on behalf of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, hereby declare that the independent People’s Republic of Bangladesh has been established. I have taken command as the temporary Head of the Republic. I call upon all Bangalis to rise against the attack by the West Pakistani Army. We shall fight to the last to free our Motherland. By the grace of Allah, victory is ours.” – Major Ziaur Rahman
Major Ziaur Rahman Declaration
Mujibnagar Constituent Assembly Declaration of April 10, 1971
“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 Peoples’ Republic and thereby confirm the declaration of independence already made by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.”
Prime Minister Tajuddin Ahmad’s speech April 10, 1971
বাংলাদেশবাসীর উদ্দেশ্যেঃ বঙ্গবন্ধু শেখ মুজিবুর রহমানের নেতৃত্বে গঠিত বাংলাদেশ সরকারের পক্ষ থেকে প্রধানমন্ত্রী তাজউদ্দীন আহমদের বেতার ভাষণ
স্বাধীন বাংলাদেশের বীর ভাইবোনেরা,
বাংলাদেশের সাড়ে সাত কোটি মুক্তিপাগল গণ-মানুষের নেতা বঙ্গবন্ধু শেখ মুজিবুর রহমান ও তার সরকারের পক্ষ থেকে আমি আপনাদেরকে আমার সংগ্রামী অভিনন্দন জানাচ্ছি। আমরা শ্রদ্ধাভরে স্মরণ করছি তাদের যারা বাংলাদেশের স্বাধীনতা রক্ষা করতে গিয়ে তাদের মূল্যবান জীবন আহুতি দিয়েছেন। যতদিন বাংলার আকাশে চন্দ্র-সূর্য-গ্রহ-তারা রইবে, যতদিন বাংলার মাটিতে মানুষ থাকবে, ততদিন মাতৃভূমির স্বাধীনতা রক্ষার সংগ্রামের বীর শহীদদের অমর স্মৃতি বাঙালির মানসপটে চির অম্লান থাকবে।
২৫শে মার্চ মাঝরাতে ইয়াহিয়া খান তার রক্তলোলুপ সাঁজোয়া বাহিনীকে বাংলাদেশের নিরস্ত্র মানুষের ওপর লেলিয়ে দিয়ে যে নর-হত্যাযজ্ঞের শুরু করেন তা প্রতিরোধ করবার আহ্বান জানিয়ে আমাদের প্রিয় নেতা বঙ্গবন্ধু শেখ মুজিবুর রহমান বাংলাদেশের স্বাধীনতা ঘোষণা করেন। আপনারা সব কালের সব দেশের স্বাধীনতা সংগ্রামী মানুষের সাথে আজ একাত্ম। পশ্চিম-পাকিস্তানি হানাদার বাহিনীর বিরুদ্ধে যে প্রতিরোধ আপনারা গড়ে তুলেছেন তা এমন এক ইতিহাস সৃষ্টি করেছে যে, পৃথিবীর সমস্ত স্বাধীনতাকামী মানুষের কাছে আপনাদের এই অভূতপূর্ব সংগ্রাম সর্বকালের প্রেরণার উৎস হয়ে রইল। প্রত্যেকদিনের স্বাধীনতা সংগ্রামের দিনপঞ্জি আমাদের মুক্তি সংগ্রামের ইতিহাসকে সমৃদ্ধ করছে, বিশ্বের কাছে আমাদের গৌরব বৃদ্ধি করছে। ….
Mujibnagar Government’s Proclamation of Independence:
Dated 10th day of April, 1971
Whereas free elections were held in Bangladesh from 7th December, 1970 to 17th 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 the 3rd 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 March 26, 1971, and urged upon 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 Peoples’ Republic and thereby confirm the declaration of independence already made by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman,
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,
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 [sic],
shall have the power to summon and adjourn the Constituent Assembly,
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 Professor Yusuf Ali our duly Constituted Potentiary and to give to the President and the Vice-President oaths of office.
Sd/ Professor M Yusuf Ali
Duly Constituted Potentiary
By and under the authority of the Constituent Assembly of Bangladesh
Laws Continuance Enforcement Order
In the exercise of power conferred by the Proclamation, the Acting President Syed Nazrul Islam issued the Laws Continuance Enforcement Order to ensure continuity of all the existing laws. Following is the full text of the Order:
Dated 10th day of April, 1971
I, Syed Nazrul Islam, the Vice President and Acting President of Bangladesh, in exercise of the powers conferred on me by the Proclamation of Independence dated tenth day of April, 1971 do hereby order that all laws that were in force in Bangladesh on 25th March, 1971, shall subject to the Proclamation aforesaid continue to be so in force with such consequential changes as may be necessary on account of the creation of the sovereign independent State of Bangladesh formed by the will of the people of Bangladesh and that all government officials, civil, military, judicial and diplomatic who take the oath of allegiance to Bangladesh shall continue in their offices on terms and conditions of service so long enjoyed by them and that all District Judges and District Magistrates, in the territory of Bangladesh and all diplomatic representatives elsewhere shall arrange to administer the oath of allegiance to all government officials within their jurisdiction.
This order shall be deemed to have come into effect from 26th day of March, 1971.
Signed: Syed Nazrul Islam
Bibliography বাংলাদেশের স্বাধীনতা যুদ্ধ: দলিলপত্র, তৃতীয় খণ্ড, গণপ্রজাতন্ত্রী বাংলাদেশ সরকার, তথ্য মন্ত্রণালয়, ঢাকা, ১৯৮২, পৃষ্ঠা ৪-৭,, History of Bangladesh War of Independence: Documents, Vol. 3, Ministry of Information, Government of the Peoples’ Republic of Bangladesh, Dhaka, 1982, pp. 4-7.
Proclamation of Independence and Liberation War History
1. Proclamation of Bangladesh Independence: Implications for International Law
On 10 April 1971, the Mujibnagar government (Bangladesh government-in-exile during 1971 liberation war) adopted the Proclamation of Bangladesh Independence. The people of Bangladesh wanted to become the master of their own destiny. Therefore, they expressed their collective oneness of mind through the Proclamation. Formally read out in the Constituent Assembly (the elected representatives duly constituted themselves into a Constituent Assembly) at Mujibnagar on 17 April 1971, the Proclamation endorsed Bangabandhu’s declaration of independence made on 26 March 1971 on the face of Pakistan government’s military crackdown. As such, the lawmakers gave a retrospective effect of the Proclamation from 26 March 1971.
The Proclamation established a de jure government of Bangladesh to take care of Bangladesh’s immediate needs. It attained a constitutional sanctity and introduced the new country to the world as “The People’s Republic of Bangladesh”.
2. April 10: Proclamation of Independence
A two-page document, the Proclamation of Independence, was adopted on the day at Mujibnagar, the then Baidyanath Tola, of Meherpur district.
Liberation War History
The vast majority of the coverage of women’s role in the 1971 war has centered on women as victims. However, even under such harrowing atmosphere and personal grievances, women fought in the war in so many different ways. They were active and willing participant in the fight for Bangladesh’s independence.
They collected and distributed clothes and other necessary items for the children in the refugee camps. They took part in activities of the Mujibnagar government-in-exile who had their headquarter in Kolkata. Others hid weapons in the well of their home and took these to local freedom fighters in nearby island on a boat during the night, steering the boat by themselves.
Swadhinata Juddho (Bangladesh Independence War) – also known as ‘Muktijuddho‘ (Bangladesh Liberation War) and ‘Sangram‘ (War) – commenced on the night of 25 March 1971 when the West Pakistani Army massacred civilian in ‘Operation Searchlight’ in the streets of Dhaka after peace talks failed between Prime Minister-elect Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, President Yahya Khan and opposition leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. A nine-month violent warfare followed between the West Pakistani army and its collaborators, the Razakars, against the Bangladesh liberation army made up of defecting regular troops and its guerrilla warriors, the Mukti Bahini.
Victory was finally achieved on 16 December 1971 with the help of the Indian Army – but at a heavy cost. An estimated 3 million people died, over 200,000 women and girls were raped, 10 million refugees fled to neighbouring India and around 1,000 Bengali intellectuals were murdered.
Many heroes rose from all field of life amongst the 75 million population. But the real hero were – and still are – the ordinary people who sacrificed their lives to create Bangladesh with their blood.
Road to Freedom: Liberation War Chronology
Timeline of major events during Swadhinata Juddho of 1971
7 December 1970 – Awami League wins landslide victory in National Assembly
3 January, 1971 – Sheikh Mujib & leaders meet at Ramna Race Course and vow to implement six-point programme and 11-point charter
27 January – Zulfikar Ali Bhutto arrives for 3-day talk with Sheikh Mujib
13 February – President Yahya Khan announces National Assembly will meet in Dhaka on 3 March 1971
15 February – Bhutto declares his party won’t join Assembly until Awami League’s six-point programme removed
28 February – Bhutto threatens to boycott
1 March – President Yahya Khan postpones Assembly meeting to 29 March 1971
2 March – Students hoist new Bangladesh flag for the first time at Dhaka University
3 March – Students declare “independence of Bangla Desh” at public meeting at Paltan Maidan, Dhaka
3-7 March – ‘Hartal’ (national strike) imposed on East Pakistan by Awami League
7 March – Sheikh Mujib’s historic “Ebarer sangram” speech at Race Course Ground (Suhrawardy Udyan), Dhaka
9 March – Maulana Bashani pleads for independence at Paltan Maydan, Dhaka
15 March – President Yahya arrives in Dhaka for resolution
19 March – East Bengal regiments refuse to fire on fellow Bengali protesters
21 March – Bhutto arrives in Dhaka for peace talks
23 March – Sheikh Mujib hoist Bangladesh flag outside his Dhanmondi home on Pakistan’s Independence Day
25/26 March – Muktijuddho (Bangladesh Liberation War) commences at midnight of 25 March with ‘Operation Searchlight’ genocide by Pakistan Army
26 March – Declaration of Independence by Sheikh Mujib via EPR transmitters & Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra
26 March – Sheikh Mujib arrested and taken to jail in Rawalpindi, West Pakistan
27 March – Declaration of Independence by Major Ziaur Rahman on behalf of Bangabandhu via Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra
27 March – India’s PM Indira Gandhi opens border to 10 million Bangladesh refugees
10-17 April – First Bangladesh government formed in Mujibnagar
17 July – Bangladesh Army formed & country divided into 11 military sectors and assigned colonels
16 August – ‘Operation Jackpot’ carried out by Mukti Bahini with training from Indian Army
on Pakistani naval ships; Bangladesh Navy formed
28 September – Bangladesh Biman Bahini (Air Force) formed
3 December – India officially joins war after pre-emptive attacks by Pakistan on western borders. ‘Mitro Bahini’ (allied forces) of India & Bangladesh formed
14 December – Massacre of Bengali intellectuals
16 December, 1971 – Victory Day. Pakistan surrenders, nine months war comes to an end. An estimated 3 million people died in Bangladesh.