RANGPUR: Following stiff resistances created by freedom fighters, the northernmost Tentulia Thana area of Panchagarh remained as an indomitable stronghold and training centre of freedom fighters in 1971.
Talking to freedom fighters and eyewitnesses said the Pakistani occupation army could not even touch sovereignty of the entire 74 square-kilometer Tentulia Thana area during the nine-month of Liberation War.
Former Tentulia Upazila Deputy Muktijoddha Commander valiant freedom fighter Ayub Ali of Tentulia said Tentulia was then known as the ‘Muktanchol’ (free from invasion) across the globe.
Recruitment of freedom fighters, their training, supply of arms and ammunition and planning of attacks were being conducted freely by freedom fighters at Tentulia that remained as a stern threat to the Pakistani army.
“Tentulia, surrounded by Indian territories from three directions, soon became well-known as top organisers of the War of Liberation and political leaders frequently visited the area where freedom fighters mobilised them for national independence,” Ali said.
Former Headmaster of Tentulia Pilot High School Jahirul Haque said Tentulia became an internationally well-known important place in 1971 to reflect the aspirations of the independence- seeker Bangalees.
Prime Minister of the then Bangladesh government in exile Tajuddin Ahmed, Finance Minister Captain Mansur Ali, Home Minister AHM Kamruzzaman, Acting President Syed Nazrul Islam and Colonel MAG Osmani frequently visited Tentulia in 1971.
“Cabinet Secretary to the government in exile HT Imam during his visit to occupation-free Tentulia became overwhelmed and confidently told Circle Officer of Tentulia Matiur Rahman that Bangladesh shall achieve independence,” Jahirul Haque added.
Former Principal of Bhajanpur Degree College in Tentulia upazila Shafikul Islam said he attended a huge rally of Tajuddin Ahmed at Tentulia during the War of Liberation.
“I listened to the speech of Tajuddin Ahmed in the public rally with participation of thousands of independence-seeker Bangalees, freedom fighters, political leaders, activists and foreign journalists,” Islam said recalling his sweet memory.
Tajuddin Ahmed highly cherished bravery of the Tentulia people and urged the Bangalees not to lose courage for continuing the war until the ultimate victory was achieved.
“While commenting on a radio speech of Pakistani junta Yahiya Khan, Tajuddin in the rally said that Yahiya’s speech reflects that moral courage of the Pakistani army has been destroyed and our victory is apparent,” Islam mentioned.
Former Tentulia upazila Muktijoddha Commander Kazi Mahbubur Rahman said all hat and bazaars functioned as usual in Tentulia keeping public life normal and freedom fighters were going to India and coming back freely to liberate the country.
Famous journalists like Mark Tully and William Crowley, visited Tentulia, photographed the War of Liberation in Bhajanpur fronts and interviewed heroic freedom fighters, common people and refugees then for global media coverage.
The Pakistani army started retreating from Panchagarh as their defeat became quite evident in late November in 1971 following intensified attacks of the freedom fighters and allied forces.
“After organising fierce attacks from Tentulia since November 20 in 1971, freedom fighters and allied forces defeated the occupation forces in the battles one after another and liberated Panchagarh town on November 29,” Rahman said.
The ultimate victory in the War of Liberation became evident when freedom fighters defeated the Pakistani army on November 29 in Panchagarh, Thakurgaon on December 3 and so on across the country.