The historic Six-Point Day, marking the demand for autonomy of the then East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, will be observed today (Wednesday) across the country in a befitting manner.
On June 7 in 1966, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman launched a massive movement against the misrule of the then Pakistan government on the basis of the 6-point demand, the Magna Carta of the Bengalis, demanding autonomy for the then East Pakistan.
Eleven people, including Manu Mian, Shafique and Shamsul Haque, were gunned down by the police and paramilitary EPR on June 7, 1966 in Dhaka and Narayanganj during a hartal called for the release of Bangabandhu and other leaders detained for launching the Six-Point Movement against the then barbaric ruling clique.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman launched his historic six-point political and economic programme in Lahore on February 5 in 1966, aiming at attaining greater autonomy for the then East Pakistan in the backdrop of exploitation and discrimination by the then Pakistani rulers.
The six-point demands were creating provisions in the constitution for a Federation of Pakistan in its true sense based on the Lahore Resolution that the federal government will deal with only two subjects: Defence and Foreign Affairs, introduction of two separate, but freely convertible currencies for East and West Pakistan, vesting the power of taxation and revenue collection with the federating units, maintaining two separate accounts for the foreign exchange earnings of the two wings and creation a separate militia or paramilitary force for East Pakistan.
President Mohammed Shahabuddin and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages on the eve of the six-point day.
In his message, President Shahabuddin paid rich tributes to the memories of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and all who embraced martyrdom for implementing the six-point demand.
Terming the historic six-point demand as the milestone in the history of the country's liberation and independence struggles, he said the independence of Bangalee nation is an outcome of long struggle.
The President said the movement, which was initiated in 1948 with the demand for recognition of Bangla as a state language, had successfully culminated through the 1952 Language Movement creating the foundation of Bangalee nationalism.
Later, Bangabandhu placed the historic six-point demand in Lahore in 1966 for autonomy of Bangalee nation in continuation of formation of Juktofront in 1954, movement against autocratic rule in 1958 and 1962 Education Commission movement, he added.
Through the six-point demand, Shahabuddin said, Bangabandhu presented political, economic, social and cultural interests, including along with administrative structure, powers of the central government, monetary policy, revenue and tax policy, foreign trade and the formation of regional forces, of East Bengal.
The President said the six-point demand contained the framework of independence and autonomy of Bangalee nation.
After the announcement of six-point demand, he said, the Pakistani rulers tortured Bangabandhu inhumanly and repeatedly arrested him, but could not deter him from the six-point demand.
Under his (Bangabandhu) leadership, the movement of realizing demands gained momentum and spread throughout Bangla within a short time, the President said, adding the ruling clique took strict measures, including arrests and torture, to suppress the six-point movement.
On June 7 in 1966, 11 people embraced martyrdom and many were injured and arrested in Dhaka and Narayanganj as police opened fire while Awami League was observing a province-wide general strike in support of the six-point demand, Shahabuddin said.
The historic six-point is not only the charter for emancipation of Bangalees rather it is the source of inspiration for movement for emancipation of the repressed and persecuted people all over the world, the he added.
"I believe that the young generation will be inspired with patriotism by learning from Bangabandhu's six-point demand," the President said and urged all to fulfill Bangabandhu's dream of building a happy and prosperous 'Sonar Bangla' free from hunger and poverty.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in her message, paid glowing tributes to the memories of all martyrs of the struggle for independence including those of the June 7 and said that this historic day is an unforgettable and significant day in the history of Bangladesh.
"Today is June 7, the Six-Point Day. The important chapter of the historic movement for six-point demand, declared by the greatest Bengali of all time, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, was started on this day in 1966," she said on the eve of the Six-point day.
Noting that the six-point movement declared by the Father of the Nation got a new dimension on June 7 in 1966, the premier said police and the then EPR had opened fire on unarmed people during observing a hartal called by Awami League to realize the six-point demand, the charter of freedom of the Bangalee nation.
Eleven people, including Manu Mian, Abul Hossain, Shafique and Shamsul Haque, had embraced martyrdom in Dhaka and Narayanganj on that day, Sheikh Hasina said.
Under the leadership of Bangabandhu, the undisputed leader of Bangalees, the outline of independence was drawn up with the unwavering support of this country's people for the six-point demand, she said, adding, through the six-point movement, the seeds of freedom sprouted.
In the continuation of the six-point movement, Bangalee's struggle for autonomy turned into a independence movement, the Prime Minister said, adding that in continuation of the 11-point movement based on six-point, the Mass Uprising of 1969 started, the people of Bangla got absolute majority in the general elections of 1970 and finally an independent and sovereign Bangladesh emerged on the world map through the victory in the Great Liberation War of 1971.
Sheikh Hasina said the Awami League (AL) government, being imbued with the spirit of all democratic movements and struggles including the historic June 7, is firmly committed to keep intact the democratic rights of the people.
"We are working to take the country forward with the spirit of the Liberation War and reach the benefits of independence to all people of the country," she added.
In the last 14 and a half year, the premier said, her government has made unprecedented development in the country. Bangladesh has now earned the status of developing country from least developed country (LDC), she added.
"Let's, being imbued with the spirit of the great Liberation War, we unitedly fight against any conspiracy to protect the continuity of the country's development and democracy and build the country as the developed-prosperous and modern-smart Sonar Bangladesh dreamt by the Father of the Nation by 2041," Sheikh Hasina said.
The premier wished an all-out success of the day's all programmes.
Marking the historic Six-Point Day, ruling Awami League (AL), its associate bodies and like-minded socio-cultural organisations have drawn up elaborate programmes.
The AL's programmes include hoisting of the national and party flags atop Bangabandhu Bhaban at Dhanmondi and central office in the capital and all unit offices across the country in the early morning on Wednesday.
Leaders and workers of AL and its front organisations will place wreaths at the portrait of Bangabandhu at Bangabandhu Bhaban in the city's Dhanmondi area at 7 am.
Besides, AL will organize a discussion at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in the city at 3.30pm on Wednesday to mark the day.
AL President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will chair the discussion.
AL General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, in a statement, today urged all district, city, upazila, municipality, union and ward units of the party and its associate and like-minded bodies as well as the people to observe the day across the country in a befitting manner through different programmes keeping similarity with the central ones.
He also advised all to maintain proper health rules while attending the programmes.