The historic Six-Point Day was observed in Bangladesh on Tuesday, commemorating the placing of the demand for autonomy for the erstwhile East Pakistan.
The people of then East Pakistan had joined the Awami League’s call for a daylong shutdown on this day in 1966 to press for specific demands including autonomy.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had placed the demands several months earlier to end the exploitation, deprivation, subjugation and tyranny of the then Pakistani government on the people of the eastern province.
At the call of Awami League, the people of then East Pakistan joined the Six-Point Movement spontaneously and observed the dawn-to-dusk hartal across the province.
The law enforcers opened fire on demonstrators at various places in Dhaka and Narayanganj, killing at least 10 people. The killings intensified the movement.
The six points included having a federal structure of government based on the spirit of the Lahore Resolution of 1940, with a parliament elected on the basis of universal adult franchise.
It also asked for the central government’s authority only in defence and foreign affairs and vesting all other subjects in the federating units of the state of Pakistan.
It proposed two freely convertible currencies for the two wings of Pakistan or two separate reserve banks for the two regions of the country; vesting power of taxation and revenue collection in the federating units; and two separate accounts for foreign exchange reserves for the two wings of Pakistan.
It also demanded a separate militia or paramilitary force for East Pakistan as a measure of its security.
The ruling AL, its associate bodies, other political parties and socio-cultural organisations observed the day with various programmes.
Meanwhile, President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages recalling the sacrifices of the heroic Bangalis in the six-point movement.
About the historic six-point programme, Hasina said it was presented by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as the “Magna Carta” of Bangalis as it had prepared the people for the independence.
“The Six-Point Demand was to prepare the people fully with the spirit of liberation, and prepare them to participate in the Liberation War,” she said while addressing a discussion through a virtual platform from her official residence Ganobhaban.
Bangladesh Awami League arranged the discussion at its central office in the city’s Bangabandhu Avenue marking the historic Six-Point Day.
She said Bangabandhu himself formulated the Six-Point Demand. After Bangabandhu got released from jail on 17 December, 1959 and then joined Alfa insurance company due to ban on politics at that time, his personal assistant Mohammad Hanif wrote it on typewriter taking dictation from Bangabandhu.
“I think no other demand got so much popularity in a very short time in world history,” said Hasina, the eldest daughter of Bangabandhu.
She said the country had achieved independence due to firm belief and confidence, courage, honesty and foresight of Bangabandhu.