Dhaka Betar stops transmission just before Bangabandhu’s March 7 speech
Transmission of Dhaka Betar came to a halt suddenly just before Bangabandhu started delivering his historic March 7 speech at the Ramna Race Course Maidan in 1971.
Dhaka Betar kept its operation stopped till mid-night. The Dhaka centre of the television was also closed at night. So, Bangabandhu’s speech could not be directly transmitted though there was decision in this regard. In the March 8 morning, the Bengali nation was able to hear the historic speech of Bangabandhu from Dhaka Betar.
A sharp reaction was created among the people who came to join the meeting at the Race Course Maidan from all corners of the country as and when they came to know that Bangabandhu’s speech was not being transmitted by Dhaka Betar. They became very angry and aggressive. Protesting against the barring of transmission of Bangabandhu’s speech directly, the employees of Dhaka Betar came out of the centre chanting slogans and joined the mammoth meeting at the Race Course Maidan.
This news was published in the Daily Sangbad, the Daily Ittefaq and the Daily Azad on March 8, 1971. It was mentioned in the news that demand was raised earlier for direct transmission of Bangabandhu’s Race Course speech from Dhaka Betar.
The authorities had taken a decision that they would transmit the speech directly because of the demand of Bengali employees working in Dhaka Betar. An announcement was also made in the radio in this regard.
But on March 7 Betar transmitted patriotic songs from 2.10pm to 3.20pm. The last song was ‘Amar Sonar Bangla Ami Tomai Bhalobasi’ and after this song, transmission of Dhaka Betar came to a halt.
In protest against it, the employees of Dhaka Betar refused to return to work. The employees sat for a meeting with the military authorities late at night. They demanded broadcasting Bangabandhu’s speech without any editing and announced to go back to work if their demand is fulfilled.
The authorities accepted this demand of the employees and transmitted the speech of Bangabandhu on the morning of March 8 and the entire Bengali nation heard this historic speech with rapt attention.
Earlier on March 3 Bangabandhu mentioned about the independence while delivering speech at a meeting of Chhatra League but when Bangabandhu mentioned it again in his March 7 speech it got special prominence because the people were able to hear it from the transmission of Dhaka Betar.
In his March 7 speech Bangabandhu made a clarion call for independence of the country as he concluded the speech with “Our struggle, this time, is a struggle for our freedom, our struggle, this time, is struggle for our independence. Joy Bangla.”