Mukti Bahini

Mukti Bahini

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Mukti Bahini also termed as the "Freedom Fighters" or FFs, collectively refers to the armed organizations who fought against the Pakistan Army
Pakistan Army
The Pakistan Army is the branch of the Pakistani Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. The Pakistan Army came into existence after the Partition of India and the resulting independence of Pakistan in 1947. It is currently headed by General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. The Pakistan...

 during the Bangladesh Liberation War
Bangladesh Liberation War
The Bangladesh Liberation War was an armed conflict pitting East Pakistan and India against West Pakistan. The war resulted in the secession of East Pakistan, which became the independent nation of Bangladesh....

. It was dynamically formed by (mostly) Bengali regulars and civilians after the proclamation of Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

's independence on March 26, 1971. Subsequently by mid-April 1971, the Bengali officers and soldiers of East Bengal Regiments formed the "Bangladesh Armed Forces" and M. A. G. Osmani
M. A. G. Osmani
General Muhammad Ataul Ghani Osmany, popularly referred to as Bangabir General M.A.G. Osmany was the Commander-in-Chief of Bangladesh Forces during the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971...

 assumed its command. The civilian groups continued to assist the armed forces during the war. After the war Mukti Bahini became the general term to refer to all forces (military and civilian) of former East Pakistani origin fighting against the Pakistani armed forces during the Bangladesh Liberation War. Often Mukti Bahini operated as an effective guerrilla force to keep their enemies on the run. Inspired in part by revolutionary Che Guevara
Che Guevara
Ernesto "Che" Guevara , commonly known as el Che or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, intellectual, guerrilla leader, diplomat and military theorist...

, they have been compared to the French Maquis
Maquis (World War II)
The Maquis were the predominantly rural guerrilla bands of the French Resistance. Initially they were composed of men who had escaped into the mountains to avoid conscription into Vichy France's Service du travail obligatoire to provide forced labour for Germany...

, Viet Cong, and the guerrillas of Josip Broz Tito in their tactics and effectiveness.

Origins


Although Mukti Bahini was formed to fight off the military crackdown by the Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 army on March 25, 1971 during the climax of the Bangladesh freedom movement, The crisis
Bangladesh Liberation War
The Bangladesh Liberation War was an armed conflict pitting East Pakistan and India against West Pakistan. The war resulted in the secession of East Pakistan, which became the independent nation of Bangladesh....

 had already started taking shape with anti-Ayub uprising in 1969 and precipitated into a political crisis at the height of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was a Bengali nationalist politician and the founder of Bangladesh. He headed the Awami League, served as the first President of Bangladesh and later became its Prime Minister. He headed the Awami League, served as the first President of Bangladesh and later became its...

's Six-point movement
Six point movement
The 6 Point Movement was a Bengali nationalist movement in East Pakistan spearheaded by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, which eventually led to the liberation of Bangladesh. The movement's main agenda was to realize the six demands put forward by a coalition of Bengali nationalist political parties in 1966,...

 beginning in the 1970s. In March 1971, rising political discontent and cultural nationalism in what was then East Pakistan
East Pakistan
East Pakistan was a provincial state of Pakistan established in 14 August 1947. The provincial state existed until its declaration of independence on 26 March 1971 as the independent nation of Bangladesh. Pakistan recognized the new nation on 16 December 1971. East Pakistan was created from Bengal...

 (later, Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

) was met by harsh suppressive force from the ruling elite of the West Pakistan establishment in what came to be termed Operation Searchlight
Operation Searchlight
Operation Searchlight was a planned military operation carried out by the Pakistan Army to curb the Bengali nationalist movement in the erstwhile East Pakistan in March 1971. Ordered by the central government in West Pakistan, this was seen as the sequel to "Operation Blitz" which had been...

. India started actively aiding and re-organising what was by this time already the nucleus of the Mukti Bahini. This led to a crackdown by West Pakistan forces
Pakistan Army
The Pakistan Army is the branch of the Pakistani Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. The Pakistan Army came into existence after the Partition of India and the resulting independence of Pakistan in 1947. It is currently headed by General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. The Pakistan...

 became an important factor in precipitating the civil war as a sea of refugees (estimated at the time to be about 10 million) came flooding to the eastern provinces of India
East India
East India is a region of India consisting of the states of West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Orissa. The states of Orissa and West Bengal share some cultural and linguistic characteristics with Bangladesh and with the state of Assam. Together with Bangladesh, West Bengal formed the...

.

The immediate precursor of the Mukti Bahini was Mukti Fauj ("Fauj" is the Urdu
Urdu
Urdu is a register of the Hindustani language that is identified with Muslims in South Asia. It belongs to the Indo-European family. Urdu is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan. It is also widely spoken in some regions of India, where it is one of the 22 scheduled languages and an...

 originally from Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 borrowed from Arabic for "Brigade" exported into several languages in South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

 including Bengali), which was preceded denominationally by the sangram parishads formed in the cities and villages by the student and youth leaderships in early March 1971. When and how the Mukti Fauj was created is not clear nor is the later adoption of the name Mukti Bahini. It is, however, certain that the names originated generically refer to the people who fought in the Bangladesh liberation war
Bangladesh Liberation War
The Bangladesh Liberation War was an armed conflict pitting East Pakistan and India against West Pakistan. The war resulted in the secession of East Pakistan, which became the independent nation of Bangladesh....

.

Since the anti-Ayub uprising in 1969 and during the height of Mujib's six points movement, there was a growing movement among the Bengalis in East Pakistan to become independent driven by the nationalists, radicals and leftists. After the election of 1970, the subsequent crisis strengthened that feeling within the people. Sheikh Mujib himself was facing immense pressure from most prominent political quarters, especially the ultra-nationalist young student leaders, to declare independence without delay. Armed preparations were going on by some leftist and nationalist groups, and the Bengali army officers and soldiers were prepared to defect. At the call of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman the people of East Pakistan joined in a peaceful movement for non-cooperation from 3 March 1971, and 7th march and onward, which lasted up to midnight of 25 March 1971. On this date the Pakistani Army cracked down upon unarmed civilians to take control of the administration. During the army crackdown on the night of March 25, 1971, there were reports of small scale resistance notably at Iqbal Hall, Dhaka University and at the Rajarbagh Police Headquarter. The latter initially put a strong fight against the Pakistan Army. As political events gathered momentum, the stage was set for a clash between the Pakistan Army and the Bengali people vowing for independence. Bengali members of the Army were also defecting and gathering in various pockets of the country.

All these early fights were disorganized and futile because of the greater military strength of the Pakistani Army. Outside of Dhaka
Dhaka
Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh and the principal city of Dhaka Division. Dhaka is a megacity and one of the major cities of South Asia. Located on the banks of the Buriganga River, Dhaka, along with its metropolitan area, had a population of over 15 million in 2010, making it the largest city...

, resistance was more successful. The earliest move towards forming a liberation army officially came from the declaration of independence made by Major Ziaur Rahman
Ziaur Rahman
President Ziaur Rahman, Bir Uttam, was a Bangladeshi politician and general, who read the declaration of Independence of Bangladesh on March 26, 1971 on behalf of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He later became the seventh President of Bangladesh from 1977 until 1981...

 of East Bengal Regiment
East Bengal Regiment
-History:The East Bengal Regiment was formed in 1948 following Pakistan's creation from the Partition of British Raj in South Asia. As part of the agreement, the Muslim population of what was previously known as British Empire in South Asia were given their own state of Pakistan, made up of West...

 on behalf of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was a Bengali nationalist politician and the founder of Bangladesh. He headed the Awami League, served as the first President of Bangladesh and later became its Prime Minister. He headed the Awami League, served as the first President of Bangladesh and later became its...

. In the declaration made from Kalurghat Betar Kendra (Chittagong
Chittagong
Chittagong ) is a city in southeastern Bangladesh and the capital of an eponymous district and division. Built on the banks of the Karnaphuli River, the city is home to Bangladesh's busiest seaport and has a population of over 4.5 million, making it the second largest city in the country.A trading...

) on March 27, 1971, Zia assumed the title of "provisional commander in chief of the Bangladesh Liberation Army", though his area of operation remained confined to Chittagong and Noakhali areas. Major Ziaur Rahman's declaration on behalf of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman marked a break with Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 by the Bengali units of the army.

Organization during war


Though prolonged Bengali resistance was not anticipated by Pakistani planners of Operation Searchlight, when the Pakistani Army cracked down upon the population, the Mukti Bahini were becoming increasingly visible. Headed by Colonel (later, General) M. A. G. Osmani
M. A. G. Osmani
General Muhammad Ataul Ghani Osmany, popularly referred to as Bangabir General M.A.G. Osmany was the Commander-in-Chief of Bangladesh Forces during the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971...

, a retired Pakistani Army officer, this band was raised as Mujib's action arm and security force before assuming the character of a conventional guerrilla force. After the declaration of independence, the Pakistani military sought to quell them, but increasing numbers of Bengali soldiers defected to the underground "Bangladesh army". These Bengali units slowly merged into the Mukti Bahini and bolstered their weaponry.

On April 12, 1971 Colonel (later General) M. A. G. Osmani
M. A. G. Osmani
General Muhammad Ataul Ghani Osmany, popularly referred to as Bangabir General M.A.G. Osmany was the Commander-in-Chief of Bangladesh Forces during the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971...

 assumed the command of armed forces at Teliapara (Sylhet
Sylhet
Sylhet , is a major city in north-eastern Bangladesh. It is the main city of Sylhet Division and Sylhet District, and was granted metropolitan city status in March 2009. Sylhet is located on the banks of the Surma Valley and is surrounded by the Jaintia, Khasi and Tripura hills...

) headquarters. Osmani was made the commander-in-chief of Bangladesh Armed Forces on April 17, 1971. Serious initiative for organising the Bangladesh liberation army was taken between 11–17 July. In a meeting of the sector commanders in Kolkata
Kolkata
Kolkata , formerly known as Calcutta, is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River, it was the commercial capital of East India...

, four important resolutions were taken in consideration of strategic aspects of the war, existing problems and future course of resistance. These were:
  • Composition and tactics of the combatants would be as follows:
    • Guerrilla teams comprising 5 to 10 trained members would be sent to specific areas of Bangladesh with specific assignments
    • Combat soldiers would carry out frontal attacks against the enemy. Between 50 and 100 per cent would carry arms. Intelligence volunteers would be engaged to collect information about the enemy. 30 percent of these people would be equipped with weapons;
  • The regular forces would be organised into battalions and sectors.
  • The following strategies would be adopted while carrying out military operations against the enemy
    • A large number of guerrillas would be sent out inside Bangladesh to carry out raids and ambushes;
    • Industries would be brought to a standstill and electricity supply would be disrupted;
    • Pakistanis would be obstructed in exporting manufactured goods and raw materials;
    • Communication network would be destroyed in order to obstruct enemy movements;
    • Enemy forces would be forced to disperse and scatter for strategic gains;
  • The whole area of Bangladesh would be divided into 11 sectors.


Other than the organizations of Mukti Bahini who were generally trained and armed by the Indian Army, there were independent guerrilla groups led by individual leaders, either nationalists or leftists, who were successfully controlling some areas.

Regular and irregular forces



The regular forces later called Niomita Bahini (regular force) consisted of the members of the East Bengal Regiment
East Bengal Regiment
-History:The East Bengal Regiment was formed in 1948 following Pakistan's creation from the Partition of British Raj in South Asia. As part of the agreement, the Muslim population of what was previously known as British Empire in South Asia were given their own state of Pakistan, made up of West...

s (EBR), East Pakistan Rifles (EPR, later BDR
Bangladesh Rifles
Border Guard Bangladesh is the oldest uniformed force in Bangladesh. It is a paramilitary force under the Ministry of Home Affairs of Bangladesh...

), police, other paramilitary forces and the general people who were commanded by the army commanders in the 11 sectors all over Bangladesh. Three major forces: Z-Force under the command of Major (later, Major General) Ziaur Rahman
Ziaur Rahman
President Ziaur Rahman, Bir Uttam, was a Bangladeshi politician and general, who read the declaration of Independence of Bangladesh on March 26, 1971 on behalf of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He later became the seventh President of Bangladesh from 1977 until 1981...

, K-Force under Major (later Brigadier ) Khaled Mosharraf
Khaled Mosharraf
Khaled Mosharraf was a Bangladeshi military officer who was a the Sector Commander of BDF Sector 2 and K-Force Brigade Commander during the Bangladesh War of Liberation. He was awarded Bir Uttam for his gallantry actions during the war...

 and S-Force under Major (later Major General) K M Shafiullah
K M Shafiullah
K M Shafiullah was a Major General and 2nd Chief of Staff of Bangladesh Army. During the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971, he was the Second in Command of Second East Bengal Regiment that revolted with six officers on the night of March 25, 1971. He was also the Brigade commander of S-force of...

 were raised afterwards to fight battles in efficient manners. The irregular
Irregular military
Irregular military refers to any non-standard military. Being defined by exclusion, there is significant variance in what comes under the term. It can refer to the type of military organization, or to the type of tactics used....

 forces, generally called Gono Bahini (people's army), were those who were trained more in guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare and refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and...

 than the conventional one.

The irregular forces, which after initial training joined different sectors, consisted of the students, peasants, workers and political activists. Irregular forces were initiated inside Bangladesh province to adopt guerrilla warfare against the enemy. The regular forces were engaged in fighting the usual way.

The Mukti Bahini obtained strength from the two main streams of fighting elements: members of armed forces of erstwhile East Pakistan
East Pakistan
East Pakistan was a provincial state of Pakistan established in 14 August 1947. The provincial state existed until its declaration of independence on 26 March 1971 as the independent nation of Bangladesh. Pakistan recognized the new nation on 16 December 1971. East Pakistan was created from Bengal...

 and members of the urban and rural youths many of whome were volunteers. Other groups included members of sangram parishads, youth and student wings of Awami League, NAP, Leftist-Communist Parties and radical groups. The Mukti Bahini had several factions. The foremost one was organized by the members of the regular armed force, who were generally known as Freedom Fighters (FF). Then there was Bangladesh Liberation Forces (BLF) led by four youth leaders of the political wing of Sheikh Mujib's Awami League and the third one generally known as Special Guerrilla Forces (SGF) led by the Communist Party of Bangladesh, National Awami Party, and Bangladesh Students Union. They then jointly launched guerrilla operations against the Pakistani Army causing heavy damages and casualties. This setback prompted the Pakistani Army to induct Razakar
Razakars (Pakistan)
The Razakar was the paramilitary force organized by the Pakistan Army during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.The Urdu word razakar literally means "volunteer". The Razakar force was composed of mostly pro-Pakistani Bengalis and Urdu-speaking migrants living in erstwhile East Pakistan...

s, Al-Badr
Al-Badr (East Pakistan)
The Al-Badr was the paramilitary wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami in Bangladesh that collaborated with the Pakistan Army against the Bengali nationalist movement in the Bangladesh Liberation War. The present chief of the Jamaat, Maulana Motiur Rahman Nizami headed the Al-Badr organisation as the...

s and Al-Shams (mostly members of Jamaat-e-Islami
Jamaat-e-Islami
This article is about Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan. For other organizations of similar name see Jamaat-e-Islami The Jamaat-e-Islami , is a Pro-Muslim political party in Pakistan...

 and other Islamist groups), as well as other Bengalis who opposed independence, and Bihar
Bihar
Bihar is a state in eastern India. It is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size at and 3rd largest by population. Almost 58% of Biharis are below the age of 25, which is the highest proportion in India....

is who had settled during the time of partition
Partition of India
The Partition of India was the partition of British India on the basis of religious demographics that led to the creation of the sovereign states of the Dominion of Pakistan and the Union of India on 14 and 15...

. This helped Pakistan stem the tide somewhat as the monsoon
Monsoon
Monsoon is traditionally defined as a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation, but is now used to describe seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with the asymmetric heating of land and sea...

 approached in the months of June and July.

Bangladesh Navy


Bangladesh Navy
Bangladesh Navy
The Bangladesh Navy is the naval arm of the Bangladesh Armed Forces. At present the navy is mostly limited to coastal patrolling, however it is implementing an ambitious procurement and expansion program to ensure the security of Bangladesh's maritime boundary...

 was constituted in August 1971. Initially, there were two ships and 45 navy personnel. These ships carried out many successful raids on the Pakistani fleet. But both of these ships were mistakenly hit and destroyed by Indian fighter planes on 10 December 1971, when they were about to launch a major attack on Mongla seaport.

Bangladesh Air Force


Bangladesh Air Force
Bangladesh Air Force
The Bangladesh Air Force , is the air arm of the Bangladesh Armed Forces. Bangladesh Air Force currently employs more than 22,000 personnel including 600+ Pilots.-History:...

 started functioning on 28 September at Dimapur in Nagaland
Nagaland
Nagaland is a state in the far north-eastern part of India. It borders the state of Assam to the west, Arunachal Pradesh and part of Assam to the north, Burma to the east and Manipur to the south. The state capital is Kohima, and the largest city is Dimapur...

, under the command of Air Commodore
Air Commodore
Air commodore is an air-officer rank which originated in and continues to be used by the Royal Air Force...

 AK Khondakar. Initially, it consisted of 17 officers, 50 technicians, 2 planes and 1 helicopter. The Air Force carried out more than twelve sorties against Pakistani targets and was quite successful during the initial stages of the Indian attack in early December.

Independent forces


In addition, there were also some independent forces that fought in various regions of Bangladesh and liberated many areas. These included Mujib Bahini
Mujib Bahini
Mujib Bahini or the Bangladesh Liberation Force was part of the Bangladesh Mukti Bahini, a guerrilla force fighting against Pakistan in the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971....

 which was organized in India. Major General Oban of the Indian Army
Indian Army
The Indian Army is the land based branch and the largest component of the Indian Armed Forces. With about 1,100,000 soldiers in active service and about 1,150,000 reserve troops, the Indian Army is the world's largest standing volunteer army...

 and Student League leaders Serajul Alam Khan, Sheikh Fazlul Haque Mani
Sheikh Fazlul Haque Mani
Sheikh Fazlul Haque Mani was a Bangladeshi politician. He was the nephew of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and the founder of Mujib Bahini one of the major guerilla forces of the Bangladesh Liberation War.-Early life:...

, Kazi Arif Ahmed, Abdur Razzak, Tofael Ahmed
Tofael Ahmed
MP Tofael Ahmed born in an eminent Muslim family of Bhola, a district of northern Bangladesh. He served as Minister of Industries of Sheikh Hasina's cabinet during 1996-2001. Presently he is the Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Industries Ministry. Ahmed is also the member of...

, A. S. M. Abdur Rab, Shahjahan Siraj, Nur E Alam Siddiqi, and Abdul Quddus Makhon  were organisers of this Bahini. There was the Kaderia Bahini under Kader Siddique
Kader Siddique
Kader Siddique is one of the most famous fighters and organizers of the Bangladesh Liberation War. Often hailed as Bagha Kader or Bongo Bir , Siddique is to be decorated as Bir Uttom by the government of Bangladesh...

 of Tangail, Afsar Bahini
Afsar Bahini
Afsar Bahini was a sub group within Mukti Bahini during Bangladesh Liberation War. Major Afsaruddin Ahmed organized independence fighters in Mymensingh to form this battalion. This battalion collected arms from Pakistan occupation army and developed liberated area in the region. Major Afsaruddin...

 and Aftab Bahini of Mymensingh,Tiger Bahini under Abu Siddique Ahmed of Netrakona Latif Mirza Bahini of Sirajganj, Akbar Hossain Bahini of Jhinaidah, Quddus Molla and Gafur Bahini of Barisal, Hemayet Bahini
Hemayet Bahini
Hemayet Bahini was a guerilla militia force of Bangladesh in the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971. This small force was known by the name of its leader and organizer Mohammad Hemayet Uddin Bir Bikrom....

 under Hemayet Uddin of Faridpur..There were also several communist/leftist groups who clashed with the Pakistan Army, and controlled some areas independently.

Leftist factions


In addition,there were some other groups of freedom fighters which were controlled by the Leftist parties and groups including the NAP and Communist Parties. Among others, Siraj Sikder
Siraj Sikder
-Early life:Siraj Sikder was born on 27 October 1944 at Bhedarganj in Shariatpur District. After passing the matriculation examination from Barisal Zilla School in 1959, he was admitted into Barisal Braja Mohan College in 1961 for I.Sc...

 raised a strong guerrilla force which fought several battles with the Pakistani soldiers in Payarabagan, Barisal. Although there were ideological conflicts among the communist parties (most notably, split into pro-soviet and pro-Chinese factions and widespread split within the pro-Chinese faction) on deciding a common action in the context of Bangladesh Liberation, many of the individuals and leaders of Mukti Bahini were deeply influenced by the leftist ideology in general. There were strong concerns among the Indian authority and members of the Awami League led provisional government not to lose the control of the liberation war to the leftists. Nevertheless many leftists overcame these internal and external difficulties and actively participated in the Liberation war with the main nucleus of the Mukti Bahini.

Sectors of Liberation War



Immediately after formation, the new government of Bangladesh shifted its focus on organizing the war against Pakistan Army. A Cabinet meeting of Bangladesh government on July 11, 1971 appointed Col. M. A. Goni Osmani as Commander in Chief, Lt. Col. Abdur Rab as Chief of Army Staff and Group Captain A K Khandker as Deputy Chief of Army Staff and Chief of Air Force.

In this meeting Bangladesh was divided into Eleven Sectors and each Sector was assigned a Sector Commander. The 10th Sector was directly placed under the Commander in Chief (C-in-C) and included the Naval Commandos and C-in-C’s special force.

The Sector Commanders were chosen from defected officers of Pakistan army who joined the Mukti Bahini. These trained officers directed the guerrilla warfare as well as trained the independence militia who lacked formal training on military operations. Most of these training camps were situated near the border area and were operated with direct assistance from India.

For better efficiency in combat operations, each of the sectors were divided into a number of sub-sectors. The table below provides a list of the sectors along with the name of the sector commanders.
Sectors of Bangladesh Liberation War
Bangladesh Liberation War
The Bangladesh Liberation War was an armed conflict pitting East Pakistan and India against West Pakistan. The war resulted in the secession of East Pakistan, which became the independent nation of Bangladesh....

Sector Area Sector Commander
1 Chittagong District
Chittagong District
Chittagong District is a district located in the south-eastern region of Bangladesh. It is a part of the Chittagong Division. The port city of Chittagong, second largest city in Bangladesh, is located in this district.-History:...

, Chittagong Hill Tracts
Chittagong Hill Tracts
The Chittagong Hill Tracts comprise an area of 13,295 km2 in south-eastern Bangladesh, and borders India and Myanmar . It was a single district of Bangladesh until 1984. In that year it was divided into three separate districts: Khagrachari, Rangamati and Bandarban. Topographically, this is the...

, and the entire eastern area of the Noakhali District
Noakhali District
Noakhali is a district in South-eastern Bangladesh. It is located in the Chittagong Division.-Geography:Noakhali District located in Chittagong Division, Bangladesh...

 on the banks of the river Muhuri
Muhuri River
Muhuri River one of the trans-boundary rivers of Bangladesh. The river takes its rise on the Lushai hills of Tripura in India and enters Bangladesh through Parshuram upazila of Feni district after flowing over the hilly regions of India. As such the river is wild in nature and often causes flash...

.
Major Ziaur Rahman
Ziaur Rahman
President Ziaur Rahman, Bir Uttam, was a Bangladeshi politician and general, who read the declaration of Independence of Bangladesh on March 26, 1971 on behalf of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He later became the seventh President of Bangladesh from 1977 until 1981...

, later replaced by Major Rafiqul Islam
2 Districts of Dhaka
Dhaka District
Dhaka District is a district located in central Bangladesh, and is the densest district in the nation. It is a part of the Dhaka Division. Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, rests on the eastern banks of the Buriganga River which flows from the Turag to the south of the district...

, Comilla
Comilla District
The district of Comilla consists 4543 mosques, 379 temples, 98 churches, 34 Buddhist temples and six tombs.-Places of interest:Important landmarks include Kotbari, a cantonment, or military installation and Kandirpar, considered the heart of the Comilla district...

, Faridpur
Faridpur District
Faridpur is a district in central Bangladesh. It is a part of the Dhaka Division. Faridpur District has a population of over 1.7 million people and is situated on the banks of the Padma river . It is bordered by Madaripur, Narail, Rajbari, Magura, Shariatpur, Gopalgonj, Dhaka and Manikganj...

, and part of Noakhali District
Noakhali District
Noakhali is a district in South-eastern Bangladesh. It is located in the Chittagong Division.-Geography:Noakhali District located in Chittagong Division, Bangladesh...

.
Major Khaled Mosharraf
Khaled Mosharraf
Khaled Mosharraf was a Bangladeshi military officer who was a the Sector Commander of BDF Sector 2 and K-Force Brigade Commander during the Bangladesh War of Liberation. He was awarded Bir Uttam for his gallantry actions during the war...

, later replaced by Major ATM Haider
3 Area between Churaman Kathi (near Sreemangal) and Sylhet
Sylhet District
The district of Sylhet consists 6754 mosques, 453 temples, 96 churches and four Buddhist temples.-Places of Interests:-Historical:#The Shrine of Hazrat Shah Jalal#The Shrine of Hazrat Shah Paran#Shahi Eidgah#Gour Govinda Fort#Kean Bridge...

 in the north and Singerbil of Brahmanbaria
Brahmanbaria District
Brahmanbaria is a district in east-central Bangladesh. It is a part of the Chittagong Division. It was part of greater Comilla District until 1984. Before 1830 the Sarail Pargana was a part of Mymensingh district...

 in the south.
Major KM Shafiullah, later replaced by Major ANM Nuruzzaman.
4 Area from Habiganj District
Habiganj District
Habiganj is a district in the north-eastern part of Bangladesh. It is under Sylhet Division.Habiganj is the historical place where the Mukti Bahini started their first guerrilla movement against aggressor Pakistani Army. It is also the place full of memory of Syed Nasir Uddin, an associate of...

 on the north to Kanaighat Police Station on the south along the 100 mile long border with India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

.
Major Chittarajan Datta, later replaced by Captain A Rab.
5 Area from Durgapur to Danki (Tamabil) of Sylhet District
Sylhet District
The district of Sylhet consists 6754 mosques, 453 temples, 96 churches and four Buddhist temples.-Places of Interests:-Historical:#The Shrine of Hazrat Shah Jalal#The Shrine of Hazrat Shah Paran#Shahi Eidgah#Gour Govinda Fort#Kean Bridge...

 and the entire area up to the eastern borders of the district
Sylhet District
The district of Sylhet consists 6754 mosques, 453 temples, 96 churches and four Buddhist temples.-Places of Interests:-Historical:#The Shrine of Hazrat Shah Jalal#The Shrine of Hazrat Shah Paran#Shahi Eidgah#Gour Govinda Fort#Kean Bridge...

.
Major Mir Shawkat Ali
6 Rangpur District
Rangpur District
The district of Rangpur have 4924 mosques, 480 temples, 43 churches and six tombs.In an anthropologic view most people of Rangpur are having Rajbagshi blood in their veins...

 and part of Dinajpur District
Dinajpur District, Bangladesh
Dinajpur is a district in Northern Bangladesh. It is a part of the Rangpur Division.- Geography :Dinajpur is bounded by Thakurgaon and Panchagarh districts in the north, Gaibandha and Joypurhat districts in the south, Nilphamari and Rangpurdistricts in the east, and the state of West Bengal, India...

.
Wing Commander M Khademul Bashar
7 Rajshahi
Rajshahi District
Rajshahi District is a district in north-western Bangladesh. It is a part of the Rajshahi Division. The metropolitan city of Rajshahi is in Rajshahi District.-Geography:...

, Pabna
Pabna District
Pabna District is a district in north-western Bangladesh. It is the southern most district of Rajshahi Division. Its administrative capital is eponymous Pabna town.-Geography:Pabna forms the south-east boundary of Rajshahi Division...

, Bogra
Bogra District
Bogra is a northern district of Bangladesh, in the Rajshahi Division. It is called the gateway to the north Bengal. It is an industrial city where many small and mid sized industries are housed. Bogra district was a part of the ancient Pundravardhana territory and Bogra was the capital of...

 and part of Dinajpur District
Dinajpur District, Bangladesh
Dinajpur is a district in Northern Bangladesh. It is a part of the Rangpur Division.- Geography :Dinajpur is bounded by Thakurgaon and Panchagarh districts in the north, Gaibandha and Joypurhat districts in the south, Nilphamari and Rangpurdistricts in the east, and the state of West Bengal, India...

.
Major Nazmul Huq, later replaced by Subedar Major A Rab and Kazi Nuruzzaman.
8 In April 1971, the operational area of the sector comprised the districts of Kushtia
Kushtia District
Kushtia, Kushtia district or Kushtia Zila is a district in the Khulna administrative division of western Bangladesh. Kushtia has existed as a separate district since the partition of India. Prior to that, Kushtia was a part of Nadia District under Bengal Province of British India. Kushtia was home...

, Jessore
Jessore District
Jessore is a district located in the Khulna Division of southwestern Bangladesh. It is bordered by India to the west.The district produces a variety of crops year-round. Date-sugar called patali is made from the sap of locally grown date trees that is cooked, thickened and crystallised using a...

, Khulna
Khulna District
The district of Khulna consists 10859 mosques, 680 temples, 81 churches, 15 Buddhist temples and 9 tombs.-Places of interest:*The Sundarbans is the largest mangrove forest in the world. The royal Bengal tiger inhabits the area; it is said that seeing the tiger enables a person to understand what a...

, Barisal
Barisal District
Barisal is a district in southern Bangladesh. It is also the headquarters of Barisal Division.-Geography and climate:Latitude: 22.75, Longitude: 90.36, Altitude: 4....

, Faridpur
Faridpur District
Faridpur is a district in central Bangladesh. It is a part of the Dhaka Division. Faridpur District has a population of over 1.7 million people and is situated on the banks of the Padma river . It is bordered by Madaripur, Narail, Rajbari, Magura, Shariatpur, Gopalgonj, Dhaka and Manikganj...

 and Patuakhali
Patuakhali District
Patuakhali is a district in South-western Bangladesh. It is a part of the Barisal Division.This is the main entrance for the beach of Kuakata. Famous for watching both the sun rise and sun set. It is called "The Daughter of Sea".-Geography:...

. At the end of May the sector was reconstituted and comprised the districts of Kuhstia, Jessore, Khulna, Satkhira
Satkhira District
The district of Satkhira consists 3296 mosques, 1305 temples, 59 churches, 35 Buddhist temples, 8 tombs and 45 shrines.-Subdivisions:Satkhira subdivision was established in 1861 under Jessore district. It was included into Khulna district in 1882. The subdivision was upgraded into a district in...

 and the northern part of Faridpur district.
Major Abu Osman Chowdhury, later replaced by Major MA Manzur.
9 Barisal
Barisal District
Barisal is a district in southern Bangladesh. It is also the headquarters of Barisal Division.-Geography and climate:Latitude: 22.75, Longitude: 90.36, Altitude: 4....

, Patuakhali
Patuakhali District
Patuakhali is a district in South-western Bangladesh. It is a part of the Barisal Division.This is the main entrance for the beach of Kuakata. Famous for watching both the sun rise and sun set. It is called "The Daughter of Sea".-Geography:...

, and parts of the district of Khulna
Khulna District
The district of Khulna consists 10859 mosques, 680 temples, 81 churches, 15 Buddhist temples and 9 tombs.-Places of interest:*The Sundarbans is the largest mangrove forest in the world. The royal Bengal tiger inhabits the area; it is said that seeing the tiger enables a person to understand what a...

 and Faridpur
Faridpur District
Faridpur is a district in central Bangladesh. It is a part of the Dhaka Division. Faridpur District has a population of over 1.7 million people and is situated on the banks of the Padma river . It is bordered by Madaripur, Narail, Rajbari, Magura, Shariatpur, Gopalgonj, Dhaka and Manikganj...

.
Major M A Jalil later replaced by Major MA Manzur and Major Joynal Abedin.
10 This sector was constituted with the naval commandos. Indian commander MN Sumanta.
11 Mymensingh
Mymensingh District
Mymensingh is one of the districts of Dhaka division, Bangladesh, and is bordered on the north by Meghalaya state of India and Garo Hills, on the south by Gazipur district, on the east by districts of Netrokona and Kishoreganj, and on the west by districts of Sherpur, Jamalpur and Tangail...

 and Tangail
Tangail District
Tangail is a district in central region of Bangladesh. It is a part of the Dhaka division. The population of Tangail zilla is about 3.2 million and its surface area is 3,414.39 km². The main town of Tangail District is the district town Tangail...

.
Major M Abu Taher
Abu Taher
Lieutenant Colonel Abu Taher a communist and a left-leaning radical activist of the Jatiyo Samajtantrik Dal, responsible for the Soldiers Uprising and the radical breakout that occurred in Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh on Nov 7th 1975...

, later replaced by Squadron Leader Hamidullah.
Source: Sectors of the War of Liberation; Shirin, S. M.; Banglapedia
Banglapedia
Banglapedia, or the National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh, is the first Bangladeshi encyclopedia. It is available in print, CD-ROM format and online, in both Bangla and English. The print version comprises ten 500-page volumes...

.

Mukti Bahini in the final phase


The liberation forces started carrying out massive raids into enemy fronts from October 1971. After the signing of the Indo-Soviet Treaty in August 1971, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 began to demonstrate more interest in the Bangladesh war. Eventually India legally entered the war on 3 December 1971 (Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 was a military conflict between India and Pakistan. Indian, Bangladeshi and international sources consider the beginning of the war to be Operation Chengiz Khan, Pakistan's December 3, 1971 pre-emptive strike on 11 Indian airbases...

) after Pakistan's preemptive air raids on some Indian cities in the western border. In fact, the Indian soldiers were already participating in the war in different guises since November when the independence fighters had launched the Belonia battle. When the Indian Army planned to avoid battles and seize the capital Dhaka in the shortest campaign possible, the Mukti Bahini made the task much easier by confining the Pakistani army and holding them back from moving towards to capital.

Despite the difficult terrain of Bangladesh, the war was won rapidly. Dhaka was liberated in a matter of two weeks. The Mukti Bahini were a major contributing factor in the Indian Victory fighting both as irregulars, and as conventional forces alongside the Indians. Several actions in the heart of the capital and the killing of Monaem Khan, a loyalist, anti-Bengali and ex-governor of East Pakistan, proved the effectiveness and capability of the guerrillas.

On 16 December 1971, commander of the 14 division of Pakistan army Major General Jamshed surrendered to Indian General Nagra near Mirpur bridge in Dhaka. At 10.40 am, the Indian allied force and Kader Siddique
Kader Siddique
Kader Siddique is one of the most famous fighters and organizers of the Bangladesh Liberation War. Often hailed as Bagha Kader or Bongo Bir , Siddique is to be decorated as Bir Uttom by the government of Bangladesh...

 entered Dhaka city. That signaled the end of the 9-month long War of Liberation of Bangladesh. Scattered battles were still waged at various places of the country.

The Commander of Eastern Command of the Pakistan Army, Lt. General A. A. K. Niazi
A. A. K. Niazi
Lieutenant-General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi HJ, MC,; c. 1915 - 2 February 2004), was a former three-star general in the Pakistan Army who was the last unified commander of Pakistan Armed Forces's Eastern Military High Command in East-Pakistan...

 surrendered to the commander of the joint Indo-Bangladesh force and the chief of Indian eastern command Lt. General Jagjit Singh Arora. The Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

 Forces were represented at the ceremony by Group Captain A. K. Khandker
A. K. Khandker
Air Vice Marshal A K Khandker, Bir Uttom, MP is the current Planning Minister of Government of Bangladesh. He is a retired diplomat and was the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Bangladesh Armed Forces during the Bangladesh Liberation War.-Early life:...

.

Further reading

  • Muhammad Ayub, An Army Its Role and Rule (A history of the Pakistan Army from Independence to Kargil 1947-1999), ISBN 0-8059-9594-3.

External links