Volume 2 Issue 63| August 1, 2009 |


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Behind the Scene

From Sylhet

The Man Known as Azimuddin Master

Iqbal Siddiquee

BORN to a simple family in a remote village of Sylhet- Azimuddin, 54, made his contribution by participating in the Liberation War and later for his role in the controversial Tengratila gas field. Currently he is playing a leading role in his village and is a senior teacher at Tengratila High School

Azimuddin, better known as Azimuddin Master reminisces about the war days. He says, “along with some friends, I joined the Liberation War in May of 1971. The Pak Army had already caused a lot of damage by then.”

“A contingent of the Pak Army had already reached the Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) site, which is now the Tengratila gas field, adjacent to the Tengratila Bazar. As information regarding the Pak Army's crackdown on innocent people by the thousands spread, we were really worried about the situation. But we could never have guessed that the army could crack down onto a small village like ours,” said Azimuddin.

Azimuddin Master continues, “We immediately took the decision to leave the village since the Pak Army would, first of all, look for young men and never spare us. Within hours we reached the Indian border, just a few miles away from my village home. The Indian authorities were sincere in extending support for our cause.”

“In 1971, I was 18 and a student of class ten in Sunamganj Government Jubilee High School. After the crackdown of the Pak Army in the capital the night following 25 March, followed by the countrywide massacre, troops reached Sylhet like the other cities and towns. But we the people of the interior and backward regions of the country could not even comprehend the enormity of the situation until the mass killings actually happened.”

“I underwent training with the Indian Army at the Eco-1 camp in Meghalaya. At one stage of the training, I was made the Base Commander of the camp. I still remember my fellow fighters- Md. Shahjahan, Moslemuddin, Abdul Matin, Abdul Aziz, Chamak Ali and Abdul Motalib.”

“As the brief training ended, I took position at the village Chargaon in Narsingpur Union of Chhatak thana to join the guerillas in that area. I was made Company Commander of 120 men. Some of my comrades were Abdur Rouf of Girishnagar, Army Nayek Moinuddin and farmer Mainul Hossain of Kawagar.”

“The Pak soldiers were in a privileged position on a hillock. We surrounded them from three sides while keeping only the south open. The fight went on for eight hours. We won, the enemy was forced to flee.”

Azimuddin continued, “We had a face to face fight at Baragolla, leaving many casualties on both sides. As both sides exhausted their ammunitions, we beat them with our rifles. It went on till midnight, but next morning we found that the army had left the area and taken shelter at the Chhatak Cement Factory.”

“At about 9 am on 14 December, I was getting ready to buy food. All of a sudden, the army from Lamakazi attacked us. They fired mortar shells which set fire to the haystacks of Radhanagar village. Black smoke spread over the sky. But with the counter attack of our Pioneer Company, the battle took a different turn to our advantage.”

Like many others in the village, Azimuddin had to face another challenge in January 2005 when the Tengratilla Gas field blew up, a site that is walking distance from his home. The second crisis happened in June of the same year. Locals had to leave their homes for months. In order to demand compensation for their losses, locals formed the “Tengratila Dabi Adae Sangram Parishad”. Azimuddin Master was made convener of that body, which he still runs.


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