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     Volume 2 Issue 11 | May 26 , 2007 |


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Behind the Scene

From Sylhet

Yet to be Achieved

Iqbal Siddiquee

Bir Protik Sirajul Islam was a college student at the time. He actively took part in different movements during the pre-liberation period. He was the Vice-President of the MC College Students Union. The institution was the highest educational institution in the greater Sylhet region. Siraj fought in the sector #5, which was led by the Sector Commander Mir Shaokat Ali and Major Salah Uddin was the Sub Sector Commander.

Hailing from village Agpara Deokolosh under Biswanath Upazila and son of late Alfu Miah Sikder, Sirajul Islam is now 60. About the pre-liberation days, Siraj says, “I was a member of the Sylhet district chapter of the 11 point movement, launched by the students. Also I was the Vice-President of the then MC college students' union. I was with the students' agitation as well as with the common people of Sylhet in the mass movement of 1969”. He continued, “Along with the others, I also joined the group to organize the common people for a greater resistance just after the great historic declaration by Bangabandhu on 7th March of 1971. I left Sylhet town for our village home at Bishwanath after the crackdown of the Pak Army in the night following 25th March, since it was a safer area. We started organizing the youths with a preparation of resisting the Pak Army men, who had started killing in Sylhet even by that time. But, within days, we realized, things were not going to be as easy as we had thought.”

He continues, “At one point, we numbered about 40. Our members included Abdus Shahid, Chand Miah and Shahid Shamsul. We started crossing the border. We had no vehicle, we had to walk from Dauki where we got MP Habibur Rahman, Kayes Chowdhury and others. From there, about 100 of us were sent to Meghalaya for training. Upon completion, I was sent to Balat camp as a Platoon Commander. There we met Enamul Haque Chowdhury Bir Protik, Sadar Uddin Chowdhury, Nizam Uddin Ahmed Lashkar Moina. and others. We discussed how to launch an operation inside the country. At first we attacked Berigaon. It was a guerilla attack, which gave us a great victory. Ten members of the Pak Army were killed in that attack, which improved our confidence. Then we hit Pagla Ghat before managing to go on the defensive with a small contingent for a larger attack around. The Pak Army men had to retreat in the face of an all out attack by the freedom fighters. Once we had to fight to get into Sunamganj. After a nightlong battle against the Pakistanis, we succeeded. It was a memorable night indeed.”

“When the Pak Army was defeated for good, we were in Sylhet. Our joy was priceless. We returned our arms and ammunition to the headquarters. After all this, I was awarded the title 'Bir Protik'.”



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