Today is December 1. Every December is a month of our victory, joy and pride. As we look back, we can’t but bow down in respect for our valiant heroes who made supreme sacrifices to liberate the country.
This year Bangladesh is celebrating the golden jubilee of its independence and this December 16 will be the 50th Victory Day. Ahead of this great occasion, we can revisit the pages of history to recall those significant incidents and eventful days of December in 1971, which determined the fate of the nation.
Consequently, valiant freedom fighters declared Tengratila and Duarabazar areas of Sylhet independent. Their continuous operations forced the Pakistan army to run away from several other parts of the district, including Gara, Alirgaon and Pirijpur.
At the battle of Kanaighat in Sylhet, 30 Pakistani soldiers and razakars were killed by the freedom fighters on December 1. The Pakistan army suffered heavy losses at the hands of the freedom fighters.
On this day, the freedom fighters attacked Darshana in Kushtia. They detonated a mine between Munshiganj and Alamdanga railway stations near Kushtia, destroying a train carrying Pakistani soldiers.
Against this backdrop, a spokesperson of the Pakistan government in Rawalpindi said trial proceedings against Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, president of then ‘extinct’ Awami League, are yet to be finished. The aggressive pressure mounted by the Pakistan Army at four war zones in ‘East Pakistan’ continued, he added.
However, then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was still trying to find a peaceful solution to the crisis. While addressing the upper house of the parliament (Rajya Sabha), she urged Pakistan president Yahya Khan to withdraw soldiers from Bangladesh for restoring peace in the subcontinent.
According to a report published in Jagroto Bangla, a pro-Liberation War newspaper, on the day, five Pakistan army men died from snake bite during a battle while they tried to take shelter at a bunker at Kaliakoir in Gazipur.
Another report of the newspaper said freedom fighters killed two Muslim League supporters during an operation in Dhaka and wounded two others. International news agency AFP on the day reported that Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) Dhaka office was damaged in a bomb explosion.
The office was inaugurated by PPP chairman Zulfikar Ali Bhutto a few months earlier.
As freedom fighters increased their guerrilla activities, West Pakistani armed forces intensified killing of people and burning villages following a junta order, a report of New York Times stated on the day. At least 87 guerrilla fighters were killed at Jinjira in Dhaka.
Pakistan military attacked Rangamati Baptist Mission and killed priest Charles R Houser and many Bengali monks there.
Freedom fighters have long been demanding declaration of December 1 as the National Freedom Fighter’s Day to commemorate their bravery and sacrifice.
Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Huq, on several occasions, said December 1 will be declared as the National Freedom Fighter’s Day to spread the spirit of the Liberation War among the new generation.
On November 18 this year, the parliamentary standing committee on the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs recommended that the ministry take necessary steps to declare December 1 as the “National Freedom Fighter’s Day”.