Volume 2 Issue 56 | April 25, 2009 |


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Behind the Scene

From Sylhet

The Battles of Abdul Majid

Iqbal Siddiquee

BORN in a simple family in a remote village in Sylhet, Abdul Majid Bir Protik, 54 is one of the brave participants of our Liberation War. He is proud of the role he played in the war.

Majid recalls those days, “along with my friend Abdul Halim and others, I was hanging around the Tengratila Bazar that day. It was about 10 or 11 am. We heard that a contingent of the Pak Army had reached the Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) site, (now the Tengratila gas field) attached to the Tengratila Bazar. As news of the Pak Army's crackdown began to filter down, we got more and more worried. But we really didn't think they would crack down on a small village like this one. When we found out they would, we immediately decided to leave the village because young men like us would never be spared. Some of us took off for the Indian border. It took us a really long time to reach the border.”

“I was to sit for my SSC examination in 1971. But things were troubled after Bangabandhu's speech on March 7 that year. After the crackdown in the capital in the night following 25th March there was a countrywide massacre. In late April, some contingents reached Tengratila. One fine morning we heard gunshots firing at the rural bazaar. We felt the Pak Army men would not spare young people. So we took off for the Indian border. We crossed the border through Bhoglabazar (now Mathgaon) and managed to reach Rengua Bazar in Meghalaya.

“We took refuge at the house of a Garo man before reaching a refugee camp at Chelabazar. Days later, we joined a training camp of an Indian retired army officer, Captain Devdas. There was a group of us 23 young men. Later we were asked to train with another officer, Captain Chatterjee. We were trained on the use of explosives at the Eco-1 camp at Dauki. Later, a good number of Muktibahini men trained at this camp.

“Major Bhatt was looking into things that time. A number of our friends were sent to the war against Pakistan; some of them were killed without making any significant progress. This made us all nervous. We felt that things weren't going well. About 75 of us trainees told the Indian Major that we would not go to conventional war with Pakistan, since we were not adequately prepared for such a thing. Guerilla warfare might be better suited to our cause.”

Major Mir Shaokat Ali was the Sector Commander while Captain Helal was the Sub-sector Commander. Abdur Rouf was the Company Commander. Koyes Chowdhury was the Instructor at the Eco-1 camp.

Majid had launched a number of attacks to destroy bridges to hamper the mobility of the Pakistani troops. The rainy season worked to their advantage. Using high powered explosives they blew up the Dabor Ferry, Jawa Bridge, Rauli Bridge, Jawa and Railway Bridge on Chhatak-Sylhet rail-line. There was nightlong firing during the attack on the Radhanagar Bridge, but the plan worked. One young man named Latif was captured by the Pak Army, he never returned.

“All this really made me stronger. Those are days I will never forget”, Majid says. “I am extremely proud of being a freedom fighter. I have a country of my own.”

He has been suffering from Diabates for the last 19 years. Majid lives in his village of Ajabpur while 2 of his sons are running small businesses at the nearby Tengratila bazaar. Tengratila recently got some national attention after the blow up at the gas field there. Majid is the father of 4 sons and 2 daughters.


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