Q.What do you know about 1970 General Elections and the subsequent events?
A.I have to go back some years before if I have to talk about the 1970
elections. I passed the B.A examinations in 1967.
After I joined student’s politics in 1960 I gradually got involved deeply in active
students’ politics and in 1966-67 I became the General Secretary of the District
Students’ League of Khulna district. I became
directly involved in the Six Point movement of Awami League in Khulna under the leadership of Bangabandhu. The elections of 1970 didn’t happen so
suddenly. In order to achieve this many of us had to sacrifice their lives. We
had to pay for it with a lot of blood.
In the 24 yrs of Pakistan’s
existence as an independent nation, most the time the country was ruled by its
army. The ruling clique of Pakistan
not only showed a step-motherly attitude towards East Pakistan
but also carried out repression and gross injustice throughout out the entire
period. There was partiality and discrimination in all matters.
Awami League’s 6 point movement was
mainly to establish Bangali Nationalism and a separate
State for Bangalis
ensuring full independence. In any country a movement for separate nationality
eventually turns into an independence movement. Bangladesh
was not an exception. In 1966 the 6 point movement led by BangabandhuSh. Mujibur Rahman was for a separate nationality of
the Bangalis. It ended with the independence of Bangladesh.
In the year 1966 here in Khulna in a rally held on April 17
Bangabandhu first started his campaign for
realization of his 6 point demand. I was then the General Secretary of the Khulna District Students’ League. On his arrival at
Khulna in the morning we gave him
a reception at the Dak Bungalow of Khulna. After this reception about 50 or 60 of us took him
in a procession to the residence of the late Imadullah.
It is in this house arrangements were made for Bangabandhu’s
stay in Khulna.
After lunch while he was resting we stayed with him till he left for the public
meeting. At that time I told him that when he would raise
the demand for 6 points there would be a big commotion throughout the country
and the Pakistani rulers would react against this demand. They would try to
find elements of sedition in this demand and Awami Leaguers may face government
repression and they may be arrested, and if this should happen how we would
make our movement successful. He said, he had also thought of this possibility
and had taken into account all the pros and cons before arriving at the
decision to present this option in front of the nation. He said all the Awami
League leaders and workers might face imprisonment,
many of them might be killed. “If all of us were taken to jail, this movement for
6 points will still continue”, he said, “ I have taken
everything into consideration before launching this movement.” We couldn’t
fully appreciate then the inner meaning of his
statement and never could think
then that in course of time the 6 point demand would be so vigorous.
Soon after this declaration a
warrant of arrest was issued against Bangabandhu and
some of us. We managed to send him to Jessore with
great difficulty including changing cars on the way to avoid arrest.
But he was arrested when he reached
Jessore. Somehow he got released next day and held a meeting
in Jessore and then on the way to Dhaka
he was arrested again in Kushtia. In this way in the
next 17 days he was arrested 13 times, the last one was in Naryanganj.
Since then he was not released before Feb
22, 1969. On June 7, 1966a countrywide hartal
was observed for his release. On that day 6 or 7 people were shot and killed in
police firing including Manu Mia (Awami activist). Soon after a fake charge of
sedition was brought by the Pakistan Government against Bangabandhu
which came to be known as the Agartala Conspiracy
Let me describe the incidents that
happened in Khulna
on that day. We had planned to bring out a procession in protest but didn’t get
a single Awami League leader to take part in the procession. Only 10/11 persons
including Ali Taher, Kamruzzaman,
Mohd.Yunus Ali, MonwarHossain, Monranjan, Feroz Noon and I, and few others took out a small procession
from Hadis Park of Khulna.
As soon as the procession reached the crossing near the park, police forces
surrounded us from all sides and arrested almost all of us. We were taken to
(police station) and interrogated throughout the night. However, next day we
were granted bail by the court and were released. This is the reason why people
were scared to participate in processions in those days.
When the whole country was
agitating against the Agartala Conspiracy case
against Bangabandhu the people of Khulna were not far behind. In
those days almost every day there were processions and meetings. In this
situation on Feb 21, 1969
the students gheraoed(laid a siege) around the residence of the sub-divisional
officer (SDO) to hand over to him a memorandum. The
police opened fire on them killing three students, Hadis,
Pradeep and Altaf. As a
consequence two other activists were killed by police firing in Daulatpur of Khulna District. The
shootings triggered a country-wide unrest and the situation went out of control
of the then rulers. We are proud that the events of Khulna and the sacrifice we made here
forced the government to release Bangabandhu, the
accused in the Agartala Conspiracy
Dhaka Jail the very next day.
Freed from Dhaka
jail on Feb 22, 1969, Bangabandhu participated in the round-table conference. Bangabandhu was adamant about his 6 point demand and the
conference failed and in the face of a mass uprising throughout the country
President Field Marshall Ayub Khan resigned and
handed over power to the Army Chief of Staff Gen.Yahya
Khan. In order to bring back normalcy in the country Yahya
Khan announced that general elections would be held. In Dec 1970 the general
elections were held in Pakistan.
conducted a very intense election campaign throughout the country and he also visited
Personally I accompanied Bangabandhu during his
election tour of Satkhira, Bagerhat,
and some parts of Jessore. During the campaign,
lasting about 3 days, I noticed that when the rest of us were exhausted of the
pressure of work, Bangabandhu was not tired at all. We
have seen that our present leaders lack the farsightedness that a politician
should possess. Bangabandhu had that farsightedness
of a political leader that is rarely seen. He had an election program in
Khulna. According to the program
he was to hold a meeting in Khulna
following day he would proceed to Mongla via Baithaghata and hold a meeting there at After this
meeting he would proceed to Paikgacha via Khulna and address another public meeting
at Paikgacha in Satkhira in
On that day as usual at around Bangabandhu left
Khulna rest house by a launch(small steamer). We accompanied him. But we were late
in reachingMongla; at around 5 in the afternoon we reached the
venue of the meeting because on the way Bangabandhu
had to address several unscheduled public meetings. On the way we noticed that
every half a mile or so there were thousands of people who gathered on both
sides of the river to have a glimpse of Bangabandhu and
greet him. In those days people were crazy to see him or listen to him. Even old
people gathered on the banks of the river. Seeing this sight Bangabandhu stopped many a times
to get down from the launch and met the people and talked to them. At several places
he held unscheduled meetings. This is the reason why we were late in reaching Mongla. After the Mongla meeting
we sailed for Paikgacha and reached our destination
at around . Here the candidate
for National Assembly was the late Abdul Gafoor Sahib
and the candidate for the Provincial Assembly was another politician of Khulna Advocate Mominuddin Ahmed.
When we reached our destination we saw both of them and a few others waiting
for us beside the dais with a lit petromax. When Bangabandhu waded through mud and water of the
to get to the dais it would be around 11 or . People who had gathered to hear Bangabandhu
had left, only about 20 men including the two candidates were still waiting. When
we reached the spot everyone started crying loudly. They said about one lakh people had gathered and they waited till about but they couldn’t be kept waiting any
longer and they left disappointed. Many had come from distant places, 8/9 miles
away. “They thought we are liars”, they said. They even said that it would be
wrong to think that Awami League would do well in the elections here. Bangabandhu coolly replied that he had full confidence in
the people of the country, “You will win” .He explained why he was delayed on
the way and he said, “If I hold any public meeting ever the first one would be
here in Paikgacha”. Bangabandhu
kept his words. He held the next meeting in Paikgacha.
Finally the elections were held and
Awami League won in167 out 169 seats of the National Assembly.
They lost in two seats, one in Chittagong Hill Tracts
taken by Tridiv Roy and in the other constituency of Mymensingh, NurulAmin won. As majority party in the National Assembly, Awami
League requested President Yahya Khan to convene the
opening session. Yahya Khan was vacillating but then
he finally agreed and called the session and fixed the date on Mar 3, 1971 and then on March1, he cancelled the session. And then the whole
country was ablaze creating a serious situation and it became quite clear that Yahya Khan and the West
Pakistani rulers and politicians
didn’t want power to be transferred to the East Pakistan
politicians. The ruling clique of Pakistan
didn’t think that Awami League would get so many seats in the National
Assembly. It was an unbelievable reality to them. So they started a conspiracy which
led again to a movement in the country (the then East Pakistan)
against these actions.
We then realized that without mass
movement or struggle, the Pakistanis under no circumstanceswill allow the Awami League to assume
power. We would have to assume power through movement and struggle. We didn’t
think of a war then.Some of us had
thought about it but the idea didn’t surface so openly. In fact we never could
believe that we would have to fight a war. I recall one of our student leaders AbdurRazzak once called a few of
us in Shahinoor Hotel and while discussing the
overall situation warned us that we might have to fight a war for power and in
that case we would have to be prepared to make sacrifice. He said we should be
prepared for such an eventuality. But he never said that a war was inevitable.
We hoped ultimately the power would be transferred to us. Although some of our
political leaders had secret desire in their minds to become independent, they
never talked about it openly. Besides we did not have enough experience in
politics to understand what was really going to happen. I have already said
that when a nationalist movement starts, it ends in independence. I am saying
this to-day from my political maturity that I have achieved now. Immediately
after Yahya Khan cancelled the National Assembly
session, meetings, rallies and
became all too frequent.
From the beginning of Mar 1971,
there were many meetings, processions and demonstrations in and around
and Khalishpur. I had the opportunity of attending
many of them. People in thousands attended these meetings without much
publicity. In many places police, EPR and army opened
fire but the people’s movement continued unabated. They thought the only way to
force the Pakistan Govt to transfer power to the
people’s representatives was to carry on movement. In a situation like this Bangabandhu delivered his historic speech on Mar 7 in the Dhaka
Race Course Maidan(ground) in the presence of almost a million people which
the Banagalis to face the grave situation that was
Q.Did you hear the Mar 7, 1971
speech of Bangabandhu? What did he say in his speech.?
A.I was in Dhaka on that day. I had gone to Dhaka
only to hear his speech. Late Zahidul Islam, a student
leader of Khulna
was also with me. We stayed at the Hasina hotel of Bakshibazar. We had early lunch as the hotel workers, some of
them not older than 12 yrs, had planned to attend the Race Course rally of Bangabandhu. The crowd was so large that we couldn’t go
beyond Roquyea Hall, the girl students’ hostel of the
speech of Mar 7 was incomparable, it will remain as a
rare historic document in the annals of history of this land. “This struggle is
the struggle for independence, this struggle is the struggle for freedom”, he
declared in such clear language.
Two days later we returned to
Khulna. There were hardly any
means of transportation. With great difficulty we returned to Khulna by launch (steamer). Returning
we devoted ourselves wholeheartedly to organize public support in favor of our
movement with the help of such local leaders as Sh.
Abdul Aziz, SalahuddinYusuf, Mominuddin, Enayet Ali and some others. We organized “War Council” in
every locality and on 23 rd Mar we for the first time hoisted the flag of
The same flag was hoisted everywhere in the country as it was donein the entire
Khulnaregion. In front of a huge gathering on the Daulatpur
ground I hoisted the flag of independent Bangladesh.
In some houses and office buildings also the same flag was hoisted. A large
number of people of adjacent areas came to the rally armed with sticks and
batons. We noticed there was a great enthusiasm among the people to see the new
for the first time.
In every area a “SangramParishad” (War Council)
was formed to maintain liaison with the central leadership of Awami League and
to receive instructions from them and act accordingly. In several places of
Khulna volunteer corps were raised who were armed with sticks and simple weapons. The
responsibility of raising these volunteers was given to a student of B.LCollege
named Badsha who later became a police officer.
Similarly in other areas also such corps were raised.
The factory workers of this areaalso raised similar volunteer corps.
In thosedays this area was inhabited by a large
number of Biharis and also quite a few West
Punjabis. These people were against us. We had to maintain a close watch on
Q.Did you hear anything about the attack by the Pakistan Army on Mar 25, 1971, or had any knowledge
A.In the night of Mar 25, at around
a political leader received a telephone call from a man telling him that the
army had come out on the streets of Dhaka in tanks and
armored vehicles. We received this news that very night. It created a kind of
panic amongst us. In the morning we got more news from overseas radio stations.
We heard that the Pakistan
army had attacked student residences of DhakaUniversity, Rajarbagh
Police Lines and the East Pakistan Rifles (EPR) headquarters
at Peelkhana(Dhaka) and many other places. We also
got the news that they had indiscriminately slaughtered hundreds of Bangalis. We immediately realized that the Pakistan Army
may also attack Khulna.
We then tried hard to organize ourselves to meet the threat.
Q.When did the Pakistan Army attack Khulna?
A.Most probably on Mar 28 some army units from Jessore
Cantonment drove to Khulna.
Even before that some army units were guarding the State Bank of Pakistan
and the Khulna Radio Stationstudios. Getting the news of the movement
of the army towards Khulna
the members of the volunteer corps organized earlier tried to stop the army. Ashikur Rahman, a resident of Khulna, was a retired captain of
the Pakistan Army. I knew him. After the army assault on Dhaka
I contacted him. There were some other retired army personnel in Khulna town. We organized them
with the help of Mr. Rahman. Then the police personnel also joined us and so
also the Ansars(A Paramilitary Force). I was in Khulna town when the Pak Army
I went to Daulatpur after sundown. I had no way of
moving around during the day time hours. When I was in Khulna I got the news that the
army was advancing towards Khulna.
They had not reached Daulatpur then. Daulatpur was on the way to Khulna. They received resistance
for the first time at Fultala on the way to Khulna. Next day they again met
resistance at Daulatpur. Four or five convoys reached
Daulatpur. As soon as they reached Daulatpur they entered several areas of the town. We then
tried to resist them at several points. We had collected all the firearms which
the local people of the area in and around Daulatpur
had possessed. We had distributed these arms to those members of the Ansar command who knew how to use firearms. A man named Hadi was the first person to open fire on the Pak Army when
they entered Daulatpur town. Hadi
was a student of the B.L.College. Hadi
took position in a lane and opened fire when the Pak Army convoy was moving on
the main road. A Pakistani soldier was hit by the bullet and fell down. We
thought he died but later on we came to know that he was wounded. As soon as Hadi fired his first shot, the army jwans
jumped down from the vehicles and started firing in all directions. At one
stage they picked up their wounded comrade and started to flee when we chased
them. Suddenly one of our comrades whose name was Shyamapada
received a bullet wound and died. His death unnerved the others and they
started to flee in all directions when the Pak soldiers opened indiscriminate
fire in all directions and entered Khulna
town. Once they occupied Khulna
town they set up camps in different areas and launched attacks on other areas from
these camps. They attacked one SiddiqMunshi’s house and killed 16-17 people.
When Pakistan Army’s activities
increased in Khulna
we crossed the river and camped in a school building. Once we reached there we
planned to attack the Khulna Radio Station. We had the
chief ofKhulna voluntary
corps KamruzzamanTuku with
us. On the instructions of the then M.P.A(Member Parliamentary Assembly) Sheikh Abdur
Rahman another local resistance group joined us. This group was mainly composed
of former members of the EPR, ex-soldiers and Ansars. Major Jalil took the
responsibility of invading the Radio Station. He was then camped at Fakirhat. When we came to know that a Bangali
army major had arrived there, we as leaders of the students and youth fronts
contacted him. Thousands of students and young men had already arrived and
joined hands with us to fight against the Pakistanis. But there were few
amongst them with training of some kind. Major Jalil’s
contingent had some men with previous experience. Some of them were from the
army and others from police corps and AnsarsWe had also collected
some trained men. For the invasion of the Radio Station we managed to gather
about 2-3 hundred trained men I was also with them as a volunteer.
According to the battle plans those
of us without training would be responsible for supplying food,
equipment etc and those with training would do the fighting. In the first week
of April we attacked the Khulna Radio Station but we
lost the battle. In this operation several soldiers including subedarZainalAbedin died and quite a few were wounded. We realized that
with our limited strength and training it was not possible to fight with the Pakistan
army and we wouldn’t survive too long. We therefore decided to go to India,
our only neighbor for help. With this possibility in mind we crossed over to India
on April 9 through the Hakimpur border. Late Gafur
bhai, MNA from Paikgachaha had already gone to India
and with the help of his friend NandaBabu and some others had opened a camp near the Bhomra border. He had with him some student leaders of Satkhira, 13 EPRjawans and several ex-Pakistan navy men. When I came to know
about it, I went to Ghafurbhai’s
camp. One Ayub of Patjohra
was the commander of the EPR force. He was with the
Signal Corps of the EPR.
At the time there were several like
me in this camp without training. It was Ayub who
gave us some rudimentary training. During the training period we carried out
some minor military operations on the enemy. We used to come from our training
camp and carry out those operations.
Till then Satkhira
was free and the SDO (Sub-divisional Officer) of Satkhira was a non-Bengali officer. If I remember correctly,
we went to Satkhira via Mahmoodpur
on April 13, arrested the SDO and brought him to India.
Later on we handed him over to BSF and the BSF kept him in Bashirhat jail. Next
day April 14 we looted the Satkhira treasury and took
away 76 rifles and the very next day looted the National Bank and took away
17.2 million taka and quite a bit of gold and then returned to India. All the
13 EPR men were with us. I only remember the name of Ayub. I do remember some of the names of others who were
with us on this expedition. S.M.Babar Ali, Abduls SalamMondol, and Moyna took part in this action. Moyna
is currently the organizing secretary of Satkhira
Awami Leaue. One Kamrul was
also there; I think he is now with BNP. There was
also one Mustafiz who is now with JSD(JatiyaSamajtrantikDal). I think
there was another fellow named Kamrul who is working
in Janakantha (a National Daily News Paper of Bangladesh).
On April 15 we made six trips on a Jeep to transfer the money. We didn’t take
less than Tk10/ denomination and the total amount was
Tk.17.2 million. The left amount comprisingof 5 Tk
notes and coins were looted by some unknown people. In a situation like this
the Pak bahini entered Satkhira.
As soon as they arrived they opened fire on the looters. A large number of
people died on the spot. On reaching Satkhira the Pakistan
army set up their camp near the Mahmoodpurbridge four miles away from Bhomra.
We were at Bhomra when the Pak bahini
set up their camp at Mahmoodpur.
We stayed in the EPR camp and the EPR skillfully
used to send us on various types of night duty across the border inside Bangladesh
and they themselves used to stay in full security within the Indian border.
There was a road near the camp which was very important for various reasons.The Pak army hadn’t yet set up their camp
near this road. They used to come on routine patrol duty once or twice a day
and then go back. The EPR men used to send us on duty
around this road at night We were told that the Pak
army usually didn’t come out at night on this road. If they came they would
come during the day, not at night. And even if they came, the BSF and the EPR were behind us.
We had nothing to fear. We took their words in good faith and did our assigned
duty. One day at around 8.00 in the morning ASMBabar Ali, I and some others were taking a dip into a pond
by the side this road close to the border when suddenly some Pak soldiers
attacked us from all three sides. I just cannot describe how we managed to save
our lives. When this happened thousands of people ran for life in any direction
they could. They were rushing across a small canal the other side of which was Indian
territory. In this terribly frighteningmoment
babies fell down from their mothers’ hold, no one looked at any one, they
running for their own lives. After running for 3 or 4 miles non-stop Babar Ali and I reached the Indian border and saved our
lives. Then we went to Bhomra and found 2 EPR men dead. Those of us with rifles,
left their weapons behind. A lot of people were killed in that action. Next day
we were told that our camp had to be wound up. Then Mr. Gafur
rented a house in Bashirhat (India)
on his own. Some of us and the EPR members took
shelter in that house. We also found shelter in the same area not far from one
another. We maintained our contact with Mr.Gafur. A
few days later all of a sudden Maj. Abu OsmanChowdhury came with Capt. Salahuddin
and Capt Mahbub and took away the EPR
men with them. A little later they also took us to a camp at Taki. After staying there for a couple of days we took
shelter in the residence of MoulanaAkram Khan at Hakimpur. The day
after we went to the residence of the station master and later the two of us
went to Calcutta. On reaching
we tried to locate our leaders and find out what they were doing and what was
going on about our mission. One day suddenly we came across ShahjahanSiraj who was the general secretary of the Central
Students’ League. Although he was older than me he treated me with respect and
gave me an address and asked me to go there . If I
remember correctly, I went to this place the very next day along with Babar Ali. We found quite a few known face.
Before this happened I had been to the MP’s hostel and the Bangladesh Embassy
but didn’t find anyone I knew. From some inmates of this house we came to know
that Sh. Moni, AbdurRazzak, SirajulAlam Khan, Tofael Ahmed and
some senior student and youth leaders were residing in that house. They had
also set up a centre for temporary shelter in that house. It was a five storied
building which, we later on came to know, belonged to Dr. Bidhan
Chandra Roy (a former chief minister of West Bengal and
a very eminent physician). In the beginning of the month of May both of us
shifted ourselves to this camp. Later on a few others
fromKhulna joined us.
A few days later something
happened. One day Razzakbhai took all of us from
Khulna to a place about which he
didn’t tell us anything before we left the house. Westarted moving towards north and
reached the railway station. We still did not know where we were heading for.
When we reached the station a few unknown persons accompanied us a to a train boggy and made seating arrangements for us. A
little later the train steamed off and we got down at a station named “Bishra”. All the passengers left the train and so also the
train. Even then Razzakbhai didn’t tell us where we
were going. He simply said that he would show us something(interesting).
We were sipping tea when two unknown persons approached us and said,” let’s go” We had no clew how these contacts were made. It
was a bit of a mystery to us. Then they took all of us across the rail track to
an “Asram” (hermitage), named “BishraShivasram” , built over a
few acres of land. A few
gathered there to welcome us. They extended a very cordial welcome to us and
guided us inside and then we were entertained with a very delicious lunch. A
few minutes of rest and then in the after
a man came to accompany us to meet one of their leaders and have tea with him. He
did not disclose the name of the leader. Then we saw an old lady about 85 or 86
years old helped by a few nurses came to greet us. She raised her hands and
greeted us and said, “My name
isAnantaSen, I was an associate of
MasterdaShurjaSen in the Chittagong Armory raid
case (during the British period). Later on I was caught and sentenced to imprisonmentfor life
on an island (and sent to Andaman)”.When we heard her name we were extremely excited
and thrilled. “ I heard your name, to-day I am lucky
to see you”, I spoke to myself.
She spoke to us. She said that they
had failed in the battle against the British. “We couldn’t win because of the
agents of the British in this country. We had also made mistakes. Many of us
had little experience but you do not have that problem. But you have to be
careful about the agents of the enemy and traitors. If some of us can see an
before we die, it will be a great consolation to us. I wish you all success.”
She gave us encouragement. With great pains at heart I am talking about this
did not earn independence through armed struggle. Even then an armed
revolutionary group was formed who were active to expel the BritishRaj from the
soil of India.
They were only a few in number. Even then they were
called “Suryasantan”, (Children of Sun) or the
revolutionaries. After India
became independent they were taken care of in Asrams
where nurses looked after them. And yet in Bangladesh
those who fought and laid down
lives didn’t even get recognition for their sacrifice. This is what pains me
and that is why I recall this incident.
Returning from Bishra
we spent a few days in Dr.Bidhanchandra Roy’s house
in Calcutta. The Head Office of the
BSF was in Bhawanipore of
Calcutta. It was a seven storied building .In this office building Tofael Ahmed, Sheikh FazlulHuqMoni, ShirajulAlam Khan, AbdurRazzak and such others had a meeting place. We used to be
in touch with them at this address. One day our respective duties were
distributed from this office. Myself and Kamruzzaman Tutu were given the duty to recruit boys from
Khulna and send them for training.
Those who were recruited into the BLF (Bengal
Liberation Front) or Mujib Bahiniwere
sent to some place in Jalpaiguri for training. I had
to take the recruits from Khulna
to that place. From this place later on they were sent to two different places.
Those who were comparatively senior were sent to Dehradun
in the Andhra province for leadership andmilitary training. The others were
sent to Chakulia in Bihar
training. This decision to separate the trainees was taken in the Jalpaiguri transit camp. After we sent all the recruits from
district for training, Kamruzzaman and I also left
for training. Ali Hossain, Moni
from Jessore, Amir from Kushtia and few recruits from 2/3 other districts were with
us. We went to Dehradun under the leadership of Razzakbhai. We received training at Dehradun.
Q.In which month did you go to Dehradun?
A.In the middle of June. We had a 45 days training there. My training and so also of Kamruzzaman’swas shorter by ten days. We were
delayed because we had to select Khulna
boys for BSF training and it took us some time. Some
others also had a 10 days shorter training. They were from other districts. Our
training was on guerilla warfare. In the beginning the name of this force was “BLF”. But later on it was changed to “Mujibbahini”..
Q.When did you return from training?
A.We finished our training by the end of July. In the first week of August
we were shifted to BarakpurCantonment and then
onto a camp close to the border. On August 11, KamruzzamanTuku and I entered inside Bangladesh
territory leading 22 freedom fighters. We had with us a couple of freedom
fighters from Barisal.
We entered Bangladesh
territory through Hakimpur border. I was given the
responsibility of Talathana
(police station) of Satkhira and KamruzzamanTuku got the charge of Paikgachathana. We
territory together. We had to cover 21 miles from the border to reach our
respective duty area in one night. It was rainy season. The road was terrible,
damaged all over and full of mud. We had to carry our rifles, ammunition and
all our staff by ourselves. I was told to report to the residence of B.A. Karim of village Srimantakati
under Tala police station. B.A. Karim
was a candidate for the post of V.P of the Chhatra League of the B.L.College
in 1962 but he lost the election. He was a man supported by Awami Leagus. So we were told to make our centre in his house. KamruzzamanTuka trekked with me
up to Baliadaha of Tala
P.S. and then turned towards Morokgacha on his way to
We left for Srimantakati from Baliadaha. On reaching the house of B.A.Karim
we found no trace of his house. It was totally burnt down. There was no one in
the area. Most of the houses around were burnt down. I had never been to this
village before and I didn’t know any one. Finding no one I along with my
associates entered a big sugarcane field. We spent the whole day in that field
drinking cane juice. At night we headed for a village 2/3 miles away named Chamakati near Magura market and
took shelter in an abandoned house of a Hindu family. We were given two guides
with us from India.
Their names were Makbul and Shamsu
master. The two of them collected some rice and dal
from a neighboring house and cooked for us on day one. We then set up our camp
in that abandoned house. Those who received training later on, some of them
came and joined us. KamruzzamanTuku
had the responsibility of placing Mujibbahini members
to different camps. Most of the responsibility of military operations had to be
handled by me and ASMBabar
Ali while the naval actions were organized by RahmatullahDaruShahib. Afer we settled there we carried out some small operations.
Later on in December we attacked Kapilmuni. In
Kapilmuni had the biggest concentration of Razakars. Before launching this attack I reconnoitered the
whole area aroundalong with 4/5 others. Some how or the other the Pak troops came
to know about the rekki and they attackedMagura
village. Failing to capture me the Pak soldiers killed 35 villagers of Magura. When we received this news we attacked Kapilmuni village. The battle plan was drawn up jointly by S.M. Babar Ali, RahmatullahDaru, Lt. Arefin and myself. According to
this plan it was my responsibility to attack the area starting from Madra village to the northern and eastern parts of Kapilmuni, the southern and western parts was the
responsibility of S.M.Babar Ali, RahmatullahDaru and Lt. Arefin. Acordingly they attacked the area through Baruli, Kathpara and Khesra villages. I launched the attack through the northern
part of Madra. After a long battle lasting over 62
hours, the KapilmuniRazakar
centre finally fell. We arrested 177 Razakars alive.
Of these 3 of them were less than 11/12 years of age and were released. Tried
by a peoples people’s court the rest 174 of them were
executed by a firing squad at the spot.
Q.What was the loss on your side in this battle?
A.Two of our fighters became Shaheed (Martyr).
One of them was a student of B.Com class of the KhulnaCollege.
His name was Anwar and his home was on the other side
of the river near Khulna Jail ferry. The other
comrade was also from this area, from the village Khesra.
His name was Shahbuddin. The Razakars
surrendered after 72 hours of fighting. 3or 4 of them
were killed. We had also captured several Moulanas.
We couldn’t arrest two of them. One of them, named Motiur
Rahman. was the president of the Khulna
Probably he is now a teacher in some university
of Saudi Arabia. The other fellow’s
name is Sh. Ansar Ali.
Later on he became a Parliament Member on Jamat
ticket. Of the 177 we captured 13 were QariMowlanas(those
who are good at reciting from the holy QuranSahreef). Most likely they belonged to the Al-BadrBahini. Beside the Kapilmuni operation there were other memorable battles at Paikgacha,Khardah
Baliadah and Magura.
Members of our group carried out quite a few operations at Dakop
of Satkhira, Paikgacha, Ashashuni, Tala and Dumuriathanas of Khulna.
Q.Do you know anything about the activities of Commander Nannu of Daulatpur?
A.We had no direct contact with him. I have to explain something in this
Bachhu, Khalid, Rashid
be freedom fighters. Khalid died later on. We have
never met them. They did not take the same training as we had taken. They did
not take any training arranged by the Bangladesh Government. The organization
with which they were linked was based in West Bengal.
They might have taken training separately in West Bengal
of that organization. They had fought in different areas of Bangladesh
as individuals like those belonging to the China
faction consisting of Huq-Toaha, Alauddin,
Motin, DevenSikdar, PurnenduDastidar and others belonging to the East Pakistan ML
(Marxist and Leninist faction of the Communist Party, also known as Maoist).
These people were also active in our operation areas. They also claim that they
are freedom fighters. But their outlook, ideas and concepts were different
They were known as ‘Nakshals’. They used to think
that we were their enemies. Once I was also attacked by them during an armed
engagement (with the enemy). Once one of them DidarBuksh caught and took me away(to
their camp). Later on DidarBuksh
became a minister. His brother was KamelBuksh. He was a very influential leader of the Nakshals in Satkhira. Later on
me. Their concept and thinking process was completely different from ours. Theywere more interested
in eliminating “class’”enemies like us than fighting
army. They did not owe their allegiance to the Bangladesh Government; they
fought on their own. Even after independence, for a long time, they did not recognize
the independence of Bangladesh.
Q.Were you attacked during those days by Pakistan
A.After the incident at Bhomra I was not
Q.Did any one of your family become Shaheed?
A.I was then out of the country. I am the only child of my family. I had
no one except my old parents. My relatives went into hiding. So no one of my
family became Shaheed.
Q.When did Muktibahini activities start in your
A.Our area is an urban area. Till December no one could enter
the town for operation. After the fall of Kapilamoni on
Dec 7, we started moving towards the town. We first set up camp at Barwari. At Barwari we joined the
forces of Maj. ZainalAbedin.
Then we jointly marched towards Khulna
town. The Indian army had not yet reached the area around Khulna. After of Dec 16, a big group of Maj. ZainalAbedin and S.M. Babar Ali took position at Tutpara. We took position around Lion’s School and Khulna Radio Station and areas close to the river bank.
Next day we ceremonially raised the Bangladesh Flag on the Khulna
Circuit House building. Around
time the joint forces under the leadership of Maj. Jalil
arrived at the Circuit House.
Q.Who were the Razakars in your area?
A.There were many Razakars then. Many of them
are still alive, many are dead. Many of them are now well placed in the
society. HabibulHuq of Fultala was a prominent Razakar leader
in greater Khulna.
Even Ayub Khan (former President of Pakistan) andMusa
Khan(former Chief of Staff of Pak Army) visited him at his residence. This
happened long before the liberation war. He was chairman of Fultala
(Union Council). Manu Sheikh was the Razakar chief of
Rajab Ali was his counterpart at Bagerhat. Every village in Khulna (District) had 4/5 Razakars, without any exception. In our area most Razakars were concentrated in Raimahal
of the then chairman Wahab was the mini-Razakar camp. Wahab’s brother Ashraf was a Razakar so also Shujat, another brother of Wahab.
Several others Ghafur, AftabDhali, Yunusand Rasul
were also Razakars.
Q.Who were the members of the Peace Committee?
A.Those who did Muslim League politics were the members of the Peace
Committee. I heard Bhuya, MontuMolla, Wahab chairman were
members of the Peace Committee. Ashraf and Nisar were also in the Peace Committee. They brought Sabur Sahib ( a former Minister in
F.M. Ayub Khan’s government)
and organized several meetings in Khulna.
Q.Were those connected with RazakarBahini or Peace Committee arrested?
A.We had identified the members of these committees. Most of them were
caught. Biharis were the largest single group in the Razakar and Al-Badr bahini. Personally I held a meeting at Khalishpur on Dec 23, and called the Biharis
and asked them to hand over all those of them who were criminals and those who
were connected with crime missions to the authorities. I assured them that if
they would respond no harm would be done to them. They had handed over to us
some Biharis. Several others came to me and
apologized and I had forgiven them. I told them to leave the area if they wanted
to survive. If they remained in the area they would be killed. If we didn’t
kill them, some others will.
Noon, presently a BNP’s central committee leader was
a friend of mine. Once we were members of the Students’ League. He cooperated
with the Pakistanis during the Liberation War. He read news from the Khulna Radio Station. He was arrested by the freedom
fighters in Kushtia. I had also released him (on my
own responsibility). Then they went on hiding. Later on many of them returned
to normal life.
Q.What did you do after Khulna
came under your control?
A.After entering Khulnawe distributed ourselves all over the
town. We had 21 camps all together. Our headquarter
was set up on the campus of the CommerceCollege. Maj. Dutta
and Maj. Jalil of the combined forces had set up their
residences in the circuit house and the Khulna port. Lt. M. R. Chowdhury of my area stayed on the campus of DyanSchool
and Lt. Khurshid on the poultry farm. We tried to run
an efficient administration.
Q.What did you do with your weapons at the end of the war?
A.Bangabandhu returned on Jan 10 (1972) after
the country was liberated. And then he sent out a call to return our weapons.
We ceremoniously deposited our weapons at the Dhaka PaltanMaidan. We had traveled to Dhaka
with our weapons loaded on a ship.
Q.What was the condition of your area at the end of the war, schools,
colleges, roads, mosques, temples, markets etc?
A.Khulna was very badly affected. The town
suffered extensive damage. Towards the end of the war the Pakistan
army had destroyed the State Bank and burnt down currency notes worth Tk. 21 crore. They had destroyed
almost everything; schools, colleges, roads, culverts and everything else. Pakistani
soldiers burnt down our own family home twice.