Bangladesh is celebrating the golden jubilee of independence this year. On the occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be on his two-day visit to Bangladesh starting today. Bangladesh will be celebrating its independence day and the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

On this day in 1971, Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, Bangladesh’s towering leader and revered as ‘Bangabandhu’, electrified the people with the declaration of independence in Dhaka.

Modi is visiting the country upon Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s request. This will be PM Modi’s first foreign visit since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. 

Apart from taking part in the National Day celebrations, Modi will visit the ancient Jashoreshwari Kali Temple, one of the 51 Shaktipeeths in the Puranic tradition.

PM Narendra Modi said that he was looking forward to interacting with the representatives of the Matua community at Orakandi.

“I am particularly looking forward to my interaction with representatives of the Matua community at Orakandi, from where Sri SriHarichandra Thakur Ji disseminated his pious message,” he said.

Modi also said that he was looking forward to ‘substantive discussions’ with the Bangladeshi PM and meeting with President Abdul Hamid and other dignitaries.

The PM also said that he would express India’s support and solidarity for Bangladesh’s fight against COVID-19.

Operation Searchlight Awami League under the leadership of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman secured a majority in Pakistan’s General Election of 1970. He should have become the Prime Minister of Pakistan. But West Pakistan refused to hand over power to the Awami League.

A meeting between Mujib-Bhutto-Yahya in March 1971 was diversionary tactics as soldiers and arms were flown and shipped to East Pakistan. Soldiers of 22 Baloch Regiment and 13 Frontier Force Regiment were flown into Dhaka in a civilian dress by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

In January 1971, President General Yahya Khan, PPP leader Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and the military brass met in Larkana and decided in favour of military action. Pakistanis gave a name to their plan – ‘Operation Searchlight’.

On March 25, 1971, Yahya khan left Dhaka after it was decided to begin the crackdown at 6 pm. By 10.30 pm, the troops took over the TV and radio stations in Dhaka. An hour later, the indiscriminate killing of Bengalis commenced. EPR headquarter, Police Headquarter, University of Dhaka, EBRC of Chittagong came under attack. In the second phase, the Pakistan army began to kill civilians.

On the black night of March 25, 1971, the Pakistani army launched the infamous ‘Operation Searchlight’, in which there was a sudden brutal assault on the sleeping civilian population of the country.

Bengali Genocide 1971 The Bengali genocide continued for the next nine months till December. After that, the Indian army and Bangladesh Mukti Bahini liberated Dhaka and forced 90,000 Pakistani soldiers to surrender.

The genocide remains the largest and the bloodiest massacre since WW II. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was arrested after midnight, minutes after he declared Bangladesh independent in response to the bloodbath.