25th March. 48 years ago on this fateful night, the sky of major cities in Bangladesh lit up in fires, muzzle flashes and explosion flames. As the invading Pakistani army barged into the peaceful night of the city dwellers, the nation witnessed one of the blackest nights in its history.
“Operation Searchlight” as it was called by the invading army, took the lives of 7000 people that night, according to American journalist Robert Payne.
Citizens were trapped into a deadly trap of fire and gunshots and killed mercilessly on the streets and even from their homes.
Following the invasion, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman declared independence and the country plunged into a bloody nine month long war.
On 25th March, the blanket of the night was torn apart by screams, gunshots and explosions. It was one of the worst genocides ever recorded in world history. The next morning, the streets were flooded with blood, corpses and debris.
“In Dhaka, where soldiers set sections of the Old City ablaze with flamethrowers and then machine-gunned thousands as they tried to escape the cordon of fire, nearly 25 blocks have been bulldozed clear, leaving open areas set incongruously amid jam-packed slums.”-said a Time magazine report a few months later.
48 years later, we now observe this day as genocide remembrance day. Tonight, the nation will observe a voluntary blackout for one minute from 9:00 PM to 9:01 PM, in memory of all the lives we lost in that fateful night.