Wednesday, 26 January, 2022
E-paper

December 5, 1971

Bangladesh’s sky freed

The sky of Bangladesh was freed on December 5 as the Pakistan occupation forces suffered a humiliating defeat in the battle with the allied forces.

The last hope of the Pakistanis faded away on the day as our valiant freedom fighters fought the battle with utmost efforts while Indian Air Force (IAF) heavily pounded the airbases at Tejgaon and Kurmitola in Dhaka.

The IAF launched 232 strikes and dropped at least 50 tonne of bombs there within 12 hours, destroying almost all the aircrafts of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF).

In the face of continuous bombardment, the PAF stopped their activities at the airbases.  Movement of the Pakistani troops on the highways also came to a halt. An airborne attack on the day damaged a Pakistan army convoy of 90 vehicles. The attack also destroyed some steamers and launches carrying Pakistani soldiers in Jamalpur and Jhenaidah.

Besides, Pakistan Navy’s pride, ‘PNS Ghazi’, a submarine that US lent to them, was destroyed in Bay of Bengal in an attack carried out by the joint naval force.

On December 5, the joint naval force advised the vessels of neutral states to leave Chattogram port. The joint command refused them any security. The Pakistan force turned out weak to defend the port.

The Allied Force began marching towards Dhaka. They deployed more soldiers and heavy arms and ammunitions on the highways and other land routes and cut off connections of Dhaka with other districts including Cumilla, Chattogram, Sylhet, Natore, Rangpur and Jashore.

The 57th Mountain Division of Indian Army joined the Muktibahini (freedom fighters) at Akhaura war field. They put up resistance on the south and western part of the area. Facing the heavy resistance, Pakistan army eventually surrendered.

Akhaura was freed on the day while many valiant freedom fighters including Subadar Ashraf Ali Khan, Sipahi Amir Hossain, Lieutenant Badiuzzaman, Sipahi Ruhul Amin, Sipahi Sahab Uddin and Sipahi Mustafizur Rahman were martyred for Bangladesh in the battle.

A number of Pakistani military men escaped to Brahmanbaria after this battle. A total of 160 of them were killed by the Allied Force.

On this day in 1971, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi wrote a letter to the US president Richard Nixon to persuade Pakistan to desist forthwith from the policy of wanton aggression and military adventurism which it had unfortunately embarked upon.

“May I request Your Excellency to exercise your undoubted influence with the Government of Pakistan to stop their aggressive activities against India and to deal immediately with the genesis of the problem of East Bengal which has caused so much trial and tribulations to the people not only of Pakistan but of the entire sub-continent,” the letter said.

Explaining the consequence of the brutal and colonial policy followed by the Government of Pakistan, Indian Prime Minister further wrote, “This, as you know, has resulted in an exodus of 10 million East Bengali nationals into India whose number is still increasing.”