Behind the Scene
The Battles of Abdush Shafique
Abdush Shafique of Kaluma village under Balaganj thana was a member of what was the EPR in 1971. He joined the Liberation War movement and fought in Sector # 1 under Major Ziaur Rahman.
“I was in the EPR and serving at the Akhaura border outpost (BOP) in Comilla. As the Pakistan Army cracked down on Bangalees after 23 March, the BOP at nearby Fakirmuda came under a sudden attack. This left 3 EPR fighters martyred. Later, 12 of us members of the EPR were on our way to Fakirmuda, where we found some other EPR men,” Shafique narrates. “We joined forces and in the meantime, we got a message ordering us to launch an attack on the Akhaura BOP, which had been captured by the Pakistanis. Under the leadership of Subedar Golam Ambia, we mounted the attack at 5 PM that day, leaving one Pak Army man killed while others managed escaping the scene,” Shafique added.
Shafique and his men freed the BOP and captured the arms and ammunitions there before moving on to Manubag through Salda river. Later, the Pak Army men attacked Manubag. In that attack, 8 freedom fighters lost their lives while many others including Moboshwir Ali, Sufi Miah and others sustained wounds. The injured were sent to the Indian hospital. “In the meantime, we had to retreat towards Agartala as the occupation army strengthened its position and made several attacks on our people. However, some guerilla attacks were made from Agartala's Kulaban in those times. One time we attacked the Pakistan Army on the Salda River. We picked up 6 people while 4 of us were killed in that attack.”
Two days after capturing that place, the enemy launched a counterattack. It was a big encounter in which as many as 69 Pakistan Army men were killed while on our side, we did not suffer that much.
After some days, Shafique and others were sent to the Hathajari area in Chittagong. They managed to capture a Pak Army man after a successful operation there one day, he said. They joined several all-out attacks from Hathajari to Kalurghat until the fall of occupation forces.
Two days later, we got the joyous message that the Pakistan
Army had surrendered. The country had been freed after nine months of battle.
“We were then taken to Dhaka. Unfortunately, even after December 16th, we had to face the armed Biharis in Mirpur and Mohammadpur in the capital. As many as six freedom fighters embraced martyrdom. However we captured some Biharis after that encounter.”
Abdush Shafique went on retirement 10 years after the independence of the nation. Shafique believes that although we failed at a lot of things, we've established a good new identity in the world.
(R) thedailystar.net 2008