On the road to freedom (Amir-Ul Islam recalls formation of Mujibnagar government)

[ our beloved country Bangladesh born 1971. to achieved its independent our nation sacrificed a sea of blood, millions of life and huge wealth, those who were contributed to born independent Bangladesh, Barrister Amirul Islam was of the Icon of them. His recalling speech on formation of Mujibnagar government is really informative and represent a glorious history for our nation. i think this article will help us to enriched our knowledge level and stronger our patriotism. some political kids are trying to mislead our nation about our history. I hope this article will guide our nation to keeping on right track of true History]

It was not easy to form a government in exile. Apart from external challenges, there were internal oppositions that had to be overcome.

In a meeting on April 8, 1971 at the Lord Sinha Guest House of Kolkata, most student and youth leaders were in favour of forming a strong revolutionary council, not a government, to counter the Pakistan occupation forces.

“They argued that it was wartime and the leadership would emerge out of that. Participants in the meeting were mostly in favour of forming revolutionary council,” said barrister M Amir-Ul Islam yesterday on the eve of Mujibnagar Day.

Then a young lawyer and politician, Islam accompanied Awami League leader Tajuddin Ahmed to India immediately after the Pakistani army’s crackdown on Dhaka and the arrest of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on March 25, 1971.

They moved to Delhi after holding meetings with Indian officials in West Bengal.

In a meeting with Indira Gandhi, the then Indian prime minister, Tajuddin sought Delhi’s assistance in the campaign to liberate Bangladesh.

In an exclusive interview with The Daily Star, Amir-Ul Islam recalled when most people were favouring forming a revolutionary council on April 8, Tajuddin was embarrassed. He stood up and presented his argument against a revolutionary council.

“One should not forget that Bangladesh is a country of Baro Bhuiyan. Nobody knows whether or not forming of one council would follow forming of more,” Tajuddin said.

Also explaining the danger of unorganised campaign for the independence, he questioned how and to whom the armed forces, police, East Bengal Regiment, Ansar, government and semi-government officials would report if there was a revolutionary council.

“Who will represent Bangladesh while dealing with the Indian government, military, para-military officials?”

Without a government, Amir-Ul Islam said at the meet, Bangladesh’s war of independence could be defined as a separatist movement as was the case of the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, mujahids in Kashmir and so on. No other country would support the war.

“We told the meeting that President Yahya’s government was illegal and unconstitutional, and that ours would be the legal and constitutional government,” he said, recalling the historic events of 1971.

Barrister Amir-Ul Islam, a member of Bangladesh’s constitution drafting committee, explained that forming a government with the people’s representatives was also recognised as human rights by the 1966 UN International Covenant on Civil and Political rights.

The meeting then agreed to his points and approved forming the government with parliament members who had been elected through the 1970 general elections.

The government would provide leadership to the Liberation War and lift the morale of the freedom fighters and create global opinion in favour of the country’s independence.

After the meeting on April 8, when all went to bed, Amir-Ul Islam drafted the Proclamation of Independence, incorporating the principles of “equality, human dignity and social justice”. He also drafted the Laws Continuance and Enforcement Order, which were approved and made effective since March 26.

Later, they held a parliamentary session in a jungle tent somewhere at the source of the river Teesta and approved formation of the government and all its activities. Initially, the government’s launch and oath taking ceremony was scheduled to be held in Chuadanga.

But, due to air attacks by the Pakistani army, Amir-Ul Islam proposed the mango orchard at Baidyanathtala in Meherpur. Surrounded by Indian territories on three sides, it could be protected by anti-aircrafts.

Amir-Ul Islam and Abdul Mannan were given the responsibility of bringing in the foreign journalists from Kolkata on April 17. For the first time, two representatives of Bangladesh government met dozens of foreign journalists when they went to Kolkata Press Club on April 16 and requested them to be present at Meherpur.

On April 17, leaders and journalists gathered in the mango orchard by 11:00pm. Acting President Syed Nazrul Islam was accorded guard of honour. Chief Whip Professor Yusuf Ali read out the Proclamation of Independence.

At the stage were Acting President Syed Nazrul Islam, Prime Minister Tajuddin Ahmed, cabinet members, commander-in-chief of Mukti Bahini, MAG Osmani, Abdul Mannan, chief of the press department of government, and Amir-Ul Islam, chief of the Volunteer Corps.

In responding to a question, Prime Minister Tajuddin declared the venue as Mujibnagar where thousands of people from around the area were present. Bangladesh began a new journey with the formation of the government, which led the liberation war and mobilised world support. Nine months later, the nation was liberated.

Asked if equality, human dignity and social justice — fundamentals of the Proclamation of Independence — were achieved, Amir-Ul Islam said it was not.

But, he said, Bangladesh is moving ahead.

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