Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has written an article marking the historic Six-Point Day today. Following is an abridged version of the article:
We observe June 7 as the Six-Point Day. The year 2020 has appeared as a unique year in the life of the Bangalees. This year is very important for us -- meaning the people of Bangladesh. Massive programmes were taken up to celebrate the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Not only in Bangladesh, the Bangalees around the globe had also taken preparations to this end. The Unesco had decided to observe the day, while the UN member states had taken necessary preparations too. The UN has already released a commemorative postage stamp in this regard.
When such massive preparations were going on, a pandemic emerged across the globe. An infectious disease named novel coronavirus has infected people around the world. The economic, social and cultural operations of almost all the countries have come to a stalemate. Bangladesh, too, is not free from this virus. Under the circumstances, we have suspended all kinds of activities in the areas where there can be mass gathering, considering public interest and thus observing various programmes through radio, television, and digital media.
The Father of the Nation had declared the six-point demand in 1966 which is regarded as the "Charter of Freedom" for the Bangalees. I recall with deep respect Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, show my respect to my mother Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib as she played a unique role in making the June 7 programmes successful. I remember my beloved family members who embraced martyrdom on August 15, 1975. I also pay my profound respect to the four national leaders, all the martyrs of the Liberation War and my oppressed mothers and sisters.
UNVEILING OF SIX-POINT DEMAND
At the residence of Chowdhury Mohammad Ali in Lahore, the conference of the opposition party began on February 5, 1966, with then Muslim League president Syed Mohammad Afzal in the chair. Bangabandhu placed the Six-Point Demand at a subject committee meeting. But the proposal was not adopted.
The six-point demand had proposed to give self-autonomy to every province of Pakistan. The six-point demand was passed at the working committee of Awami League.
WHY SIX-POINT DEMAND?
During the Indo-Pak war in 1965, the people of East Bengal or East Pakistan remained totally unprotected as there was no importance to the central government of Pakistan for protecting this region and East Bengal was left at the mercy of India.
After the Indo-Pak war, an agreement was signed between India and Pakistan which is also known as the Tashkent Treaty. The interest or security of East Bengal was ignored in the deal.
When the six-point demand was placed in the wake of torture and oppression by Ayub Khan, public support started to grow fast in favour of it.
Bangabandhu then started visiting the entire East Bengal. He was arrested for eight times in a span of just two months.
Bangabandhu returned to Dhaka on May 8, 1966 after joining a public rally in Narayanganj. He was arrested from his Dhanmondi residence on the same day. He was sent to jail the following day.
Cases were filed one after another against Bangabandhu, and the party leaders and workers were also arrested during that time.
On May 13 in 1966, Awami League organised a public rally to observe the protest day and the people extended their full support to the Six-Point Demand. A hartal (strike) was called for June 7 across the East Pakistan and all-out efforts were made to make the strike a success.
My mother, Begum Fazilatunnesa, had played a special role in making the strike a success. Holding secret meetings with student leaders, she gave necessary instructions to this end.
Pakistani military junta and then president Ayub Khan bestowed the full responsibility on East Pakistan governor Monem Khan to resist this movement in any way.
But the people of Bangladesh had extended their support to the Six-Point Movement by enforcing the hartal on June 7, ignoring all the oppressions. But it was a matter of regret that police opened fire on the people without any instigation. Labour leader Monu Mian and 10 others were killed.
On June 10-11 in 1966, a meeting of the Awami League executive committee thanked students-workers and general people for lending their support to the Six-Point Demand by observing the hartal.
Different programmes, including meetings, rallies, protest processions and distribution of leaflets, were taken up to spread the autonomy movement across the country. Steps were initiated to mobilise public opinion in support of the demand.
AGARTALA CONSPIRACY CASE
On January 18 in 1968, Bangabandhu was brought to the detention centre at Dhaka Kurmitola Cantonment from Dhaka Central Jail. A sedition case was filed against him, widely known as the Agartala Conspiracy Case. Bangabandhu was made the number one accused in the case.
The proceedings of the case were initiated by setting up a court inside the cantonment. Besides, the Ayub government was unleashing torture and repression on the people.
The general people spontaneously began to build resistance against the torture, oppression, and repression by the Pakistani government. They took to the streets.
On February 21, Ayub Khan was compelled to withdraw the Agartala Conspiracy Case in the face of a severe mass movement.
SUCCESS OF SIX-POINT DEMAND
The Ayub government was overthrown due to the mass movement. Army chief Yahya Khan grabbed the power. Based on the Six-Point Demand, election was held on December 7 in 1970. Awami League, led by Bangabandhu, secured a majority in the election in the entire Pakistan.
On December 5 in 1970, Bangabandhu declared that the name of East Pakistan would be "Bangladesh".
On March 7 in 1971, the Father of the Nation proclaimed, "This time the struggle is for our freedom. This time the struggle is for our independence."
Bangabandhu called for a non-cooperation movement. The people of Bangladesh strictly observed it.
On March 25, the Pakistani military junta launched genocide. In the first hours of March 26, Bangabandhu declared the independence (of Bangladesh) and instructed all to continue the war.
After the nine-month war, Bangalees achieved the final victory. The Bangalees have got the status as a nation in the world, got the nation-state -- independent, sovereign Bangladesh.