Today is the historic `day of resistance against autocracy`. The day in 1983 witnessed a number of killings that included students mostly while protesting against Majid Khan`s education policy. Ershad`s military government was forced to abolish the education policy in the face of intense agitation.
In 1982, Lieutenant General (retd) Hussein Muhammad Ershad faced the resistance of the students after taking power through a military coup. At the same time, the military government also tried to control the students brutally.
On March 24 that year, some students were arrested for postering against military rule in Kalabhavan of Dhaka University. Two days after the students were brutally tortured while they made slogans against the military dictatorship in Savar memorial monument. Later 14 student organizations formed the All Party Students Union after the police force conducted an arbitrary baton charge on the students of Dhaka University protesting against the autocratic government on 8 November.
The government enacted the education policy bringing a comprehensive reform in the education system in order to strengthen power. Its aim was to regulate the universities and commercialize education. To abolish the autonomy of the university, it recommended abolishing the Ordinance of the autonomy of the Bangabandhu government. At the same time, those who are able to spend 50 percent of the education are given the opportunity for higher education despite bad results.
In protest, on September 17, 1982, students` organizations reached agreement on the education day to demand the cancellation of the education policy. In its continuation on February 14, 1983, students of all-party call a student rally in front of the Kala Bhavan demanding the withdrawal of Majid Khan Education policy, release of prisoners and a mass-oriented, scientific and non-communal education policy. At the end of the rally, a procession joined by thousands of students came out to give a memorandum to the Secretariat and faced police barricades in front of the High Court gate. At the time, 11 people including Joynal, Jafor, Dipali were killed in reckless firing and baton charge by police. 1,331 were arrested that time.
In response to the incident, while students of Chittagong brought out a procession, Kanchan was killed by police firing. After that, the movement spread all over the country and Ershad government had to abolish the proposed education policy on February 18.
This was a significant number of student protests and persecution after the 21st February of 1952. Even then, we are forgetting this historic day. With the rehabilitation of the dictator Ershad in politics, his misdeeds were being covered.
According to historians, `the nation that forgets its history, history will never forgive them.’ Therefore, February 14 deserves to be observed with the appropriate dignity.