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Rangpur Cantonment Gherao in 1971: Unprecedented Bangalee heroism

By Mamun Islam

RANGPUR, March 27, 2017 (BSS) - The supreme sacrifice of 600 heroic Bangalees while attempting to capture Rangpur Cantonment on March 28 in 1971, only three days after Pakistani crackdown, remains as an unprecedented example of Bangalee heroism.

"More than 30,000 Bangalees at the call of Father of the Nation
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman attempted to capture the cantonment on that day," said eyewitness freedom fighter Majibar Rahman Master.

According to famous book 'Juddhe Juddhe Swadhinota' written by Major Nasir Uddin, innumerable common people irrespective of caste, creed and religion from many villages rushed toward Nishbetganj.

"The independence-seeker Bangalee Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists, Oraon, Santal and other ethnic communities equipped with lethal and sharp weapons, spears, arrows and bows attempted to capture the cantonment," the book wrote.

"It was about 4 to 5 pm when thousands of independence-seeker
Bangalees had been assembling from the south and southwestern areas to
capture the cantonment at any cost," the book says.

At one stage, CPB leader late Comrade Soyer Uddin and Awami League (AL) leader Majibar Rahman Master addressed a spontaneous gathering at Nishbetganj near the cantonment with AL leader Sheikh Amjad Hossain in the chair.

"The 23rd Brigade Headquarters of Pakistani Army was then stationed at Rangpur cantonment and the 3rd Bengal, 26th Regiment at Syedpur, 23rd Cavalry Regiment and its associate forces and 29th Tank Bahini were under its command," the book wrote.

Brigadier General Abdullah Malik was the then Brigade Commander and the cantonment was equipped with modern automatic heavy arms, artilleries, tanks and ammunitions with huge Pakistani forces and Beharis.

The Pakistani forces and the Beharis soon showered automatic gunfire towards the independence-seeker Bangalees. Over 600 Bangalees were killed by the most heinous genocide there and injuring hundreds more.

"The vast green grass fields on the Ghaghot riverbank turned into a blood-sea. The war criminals Brigadier General Malik, Colonel Sagir and non-Bengali Bihari soldiers and officers, committed the fearful genocide," the book mentioned.

"The happenings were witnessed by Bangalee Officers Major Nasir Uddin, Lieutenant Bodiuzzaman and Lieutenant Hashem and at one stage Colonel Sagir became very angry on them for their silence after the whole genocide was completed," the book quoted.

Talking to BSS, District Muktijoddha Commander Mosaddek Hossain Bablu said after the genocide the students, youths, police and Ansar started fleeing homes to join the Mukti Bahini in neighbouring India with a vow to liberate the nation.

"The unprecedented heroism and supreme sacrifice of the Bangalees sparkled with real heroism in every Bangalee when they started to join the Mukti Bahini en-masse till achieving the full Independence on December 16 in 1971," he said.

Like in the previous years, the district administration and other organisations will place wreaths at Nishbetganj Baddhyabhumi Smriti Soudha 'Rakta Gaurab' tomorrow (March 28) to pay rich tribute to the heroic 600 martyrs for their supreme sacrifice.