Bangladesh's Prime Minister, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, addressed a mass rally of one-hundred thousand freedom fighters - men who fought in the war of independence with Pakistan - who gathered in Dacca on Sunday (21 January) for a two-day conference.
GV Crowds arriving at open-air rally
SV Bank playing; crowds entering stadium; PAN TO Banners & posters (2 shots)
CU & SV Bangladesh Mukti Bahini commandos on parade
SV PAN ALONG Giant painting of commandos
SV Rahman addressing rally from platform (2 shots)
SV Foreign ambassadors seated watching
SV PAN FROM Sheikh Mujib speaking to crowd
Initials ESP/2135 ESP/2201
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Background: Bangladesh's Prime Minister, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, addressed a mass rally of one-hundred thousand freedom fighters - men who fought in the war of independence with Pakistan - who gathered in Dacca on Sunday (21 January) for a two-day conference.
The Prime Minister told the huge crowd that "Bangladesh will not be in the pocket of any foreign power." He recalled with gratitude aid given to India by the Soviet Union, but said he regretted the policy of The People's Republic of China of assisting the Pakistani military regime during the struggle of Bangladesh to achieve its liberation. But, he went on to say: "We have no malice against the Chinese people" - despite the recent veto, by China, of Bangladesh's admission to the United Nations.
The Prime Minister called on the freedom fighters to foil what he called a conspiracy against him and the independence of Bangladesh. He said these forces had "joined hands with foreign forces" to frustrate the Government's aim of holding national elections on March 7.
SYNOPSIS: A crowd estimated at 100,000 gathered at Dacca on Sunday. They were all freedom fighters, men who'd fought in the war which gained Bangladesh its independence from Pakistan.
The veterans were attending a two-day rally of the Mukti Joddha Sangshad, an organisation of freedom fighters.
Some of the commandos have kept their uniforms and their discipline, and displayed both with a demonstration which delighted their former comrades-in-arms. But not all the fighters have kept their patriotic spirit, and there have been warnings in Bangladesh about men, looters and robbers, who've been described by Prime Minister Mujibur Rahman as "scars on the good name of the freedom fighters."
The Prime Minister attended the rally - and told his supporters that now they'd won independence, Bangladesh would maintain an independent foreign policy of non-alignment. He said he regretted the way The People's Republic of China had helped Pakistan during the struggle for liberation. He also regretted that China had vetoed the Bangladesh application to join the United Nations. But he stressed that Bangladesh bore no malice towards the Chinese people. The Prime Minister said the government had found jobs for 100,000 freedom fighters, and he appealed for their support in frustrating a conspiracy which was in force to prevent free elections in March.