The nation will observe Genocide Day today recalling the horror of one of the worst genocides in modern history committed by the Pakistani occupation military against unarmed people of Bangladesh on the night of March 25, 1971 and afterwards.

A low profile will be kept in observing the day this year over the coronavirus situation in the country while the government has decided to curtail the programmes of various national events.

This year, a one-minute blackout would be stated tonight marking the day, said home minister Asaduzzaman Khan.

The home minister called on all people to switch off their lights  from 9:00pm as a symbolic protest against the genocide and to pay tribute to martyrs of 1971 War for Independence of Bangladesh.  

He, however, said that establishments of emergency services including hospitals and transports would remain out of the purview of the blackout.

In a press release, the Ekattarer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee requested all concerned to stay at home and light a candle at 11.00pm tonight in remembrance of the martyrs of 1971.

‘Due to present emergency situation we have postponed our candle light vigilance program of March 25,’ it said.

The Pakistan military launched their infamous ‘Operation Searchlight’ on March 25, 1971 killing several thousand freedom-loving Bengalis that night alone.

Three million people in the subsequent nine-month liberation war were savagely and systematically killed with help of local collaborators.

As part of the crackdown, tanks rolled out of Dhaka cantonment and a sleeping city woke up to the rattles of heavy weapon fires as Pakistani troops attacked Dhaka University halls, the then East Pakistan Rifles (now Border Guard Bangladesh) headquarters, Rajarbagh Police Lines and the Old Town of Dhaka killing several thousand unarmed Bengalis.

People tried to resist the occupation army barricading streets felling trees and other things while members of East Pakistan Rifles and police put up a brave fight with outmoded 303 rifles against heavily armed Pakistani troops.

At midnight, the occupation troops raided the residential quarters of Dhaka University teachers and the halls and butchered many teachers and students.

Newspaper offices in Dhaka, notably Dainik Ittefaq, Sangbad and the People, were set ablaze for espousing the cause of the Bengalis.

In simultaneous attacks that night many people were killed and injured in the port city of Chattogram and at places across the country.

The crackdown set off the nine-month Liberation War led by the Mujibnagar government in exile which ended with the emergence of independent Bangladesh on December 16, 1971.

During the war, Pakistani occupation army and their local collaborators also violated more than two lakh women and about one crore people were forced to leave the country.

The government on March 21, 2017 declared March 25 as the Genocide Day following a parliamentary resolution adopted on March 11, 2017.

In his message, president Abdul Hamid said that the brutal genocide ‘Operation Searchlight’ carried out by Pakistani occupation forces on March 25 is a barbaric and tragic incident in the history of the Bengali nation.

He recalled with profound respect the martyrs of 1971 Liberation War.

He said that Pakistani occupation forces unleashed the brutal genocide simultaneously in Dhaka and all over the country including Dhaka University campus, Rajarbagh Police Lines, Pilkhana EPR (Now BGB), Jashore, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Saidpur, Cumilla, Sylhet and Chattogram.

In her message, prime minister Sheikh Hasina said that March 25 was the most dreadful day in the life of the Bengali Nation.

On this day in 1971, she said, one of the most horrific and brutal genocide of the world history took place in Bangladesh.

She extended her sympathy to the wounded freedom fighters and the members of martyr’s families.

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