The East Bengal Legislative Assembly was expected to meet for the first time after the creation of Pakistan on March 15, 1948 in Dhaka. On the eve of the session, a large number of students gathered in a demonstration before Burdwan House (today’s Bangla Academy), the official residence of the chief minister of the province, to protest the police action three days earlier on March 11. The Students Action Committee decided to call a general strike on the day the legislative assembly met. The threat led to a softening of stance by the provincial government, given especially the fact that Governor General Mohammad Ali Jinnah, popularly known as Quaid-e-Azam, was scheduled to arrive in Dhaka on March 19.
The leading figures of the Action Committee met Chief Minister Khwaja Nazimuddin on the morning of March 15 just before the legislative assembly session commenced. Among those on the Action Committee were Professor Abul Kashem, Kamruddin Ahmed, Mohammad Toaha, Naimuddin Ahmed, Syed Nazrul Islam and Abdur Rahman Chowdhury. Anxious about preventing any unpleasant incidents during Jinnah’s visit, Nazimuddin swiftly reached an eight-point agreement with the students, the salient features of which were that those arrested over the previous few days would be released and the legislative assembly would adopt a resolution in early April calling for Bangla to be adopted as one of the two state languages (the other being Urdu) of Pakistan.
On March 16, all those who had earlier been arrested by the government were freed. However, as events were to show subsequently, Nazimuddin would renege on his promise of having the demand for Bangla passed in a resolution by the provincial legislature. On March 19, the governor general arrived in Dhaka for what was to be his first and last visit to the eastern province of the country he and the Muslim League had created months earlier. On March 21, he addressed a public rally at the Race Course (today’s Suhrawardy Udyan), asking people to be on alert against what he called forces of subversion and conspiracy bent on destroying the unity of Pakistan.