Pabna Resistance Forces defeated
Troops in '71
March 30, 1971 saw Pabna being freed from the Pakistan occupation army by its own people. The people of the district remember the days between March 26 and March 29 with pride. It was during these few days that the heroism of the masses surfaced as they battled the trained Pakistanis with local weaponry without any training and they succeeding in driving them out. But, the victory was short lived
Ahmed Humayun Kabir Topu
Although, the local resistance forces drove the Pakistani Army out, they were hit back harder, and the occupation forces took hold of Pabna yet again on April 10, 1971. The occupation army had reinforced their stand, and gathered more troops and broke into the district once again. Their mercilessness and cruelty was unparalleled this time, and the district remained under their clutches till December 18, 1971, till two days after independence. The torture endured by the people of Pabna during those nine months is unimaginable.
The residents of Pabna who are still alive since the time of the first phase of the liberation war accounted for the reasons behind their retaliation on that fateful day of March 26, 1971. Mohammed Abdus Shukur, a resident of Krishnapur of the district was killed brutally by the occupation forces, without any apparent cause, on March 25. He was an innocent man who did not even oppose them. The brutality did not stop there. During the prayers of Janazah for the deceased, the Pakistanis barged into the holy function and had gunned down another innocent man, Mohammed Abdus Samad, and injured many others. This could not be taken lightly by the people. Their spirits rose within them and they formed a rebellion. This union of the minds of the local people enabled them to liberate themselves from the grasp of the occupation forces.
Seeing their indomitable spirit and their insatiable thirst to fight back, the incumbent Deputy Commissioner at the time, Nurul Kader Khan, organized the people and provided access to the weapons depot of the Pabna Police line in order to arm the locals. The retaliating mass was so big that the provided weapons were not enough to arm everyone. Even women had taken to the streets with household items such as the dau, boti, etc. The EPR force had also joined in with the cause of ridding Pabna of the plague in human form. A big battle took place in front of the Pabna Telephone Exchange Camp starting on March 27 and ending on March 28.
The two days of the bloody battle claimed 28 to 30 Pakistani lives as revenge to their brutality. On March 29, in a desperate move, the Pakistan force administered an air attack to save the rest of their troops. About 200 soldiers were left behind in Pabna with their fates sealed at the BSCIC Camp. Around five to six people were martyred during the air strike. The troops thought it to be safe to retreat from Pabna using the Pabna-Ishwardi road after the air strike had ended. They could not have been more wrong. They were all hunted down during noon in Dashuria and Gopalpur in Ishwardi Upazila. A bloody battle broke out between the local people of Pabna and the Pakistani soldiers that lasted up to midnight. There were no prisoners and no one was spared, and Pabna was freed!
Freedom fighter Baby Islam recollected the memories of the day, and said “Thousands took to the streets on that fateful day. We had raided the laboratories of the Pabna Zila School along with others in the area for chemicals. Sodium bulbs were used to house the deadly concoctions which we threw at the occupational forces. We produced our own bombs. We had to resort to such methods for lack of proper weapons. We fought to protect the worth of our own lives, and to protect the worth of our motherland.” Islam continued saying, “Many valuable lives and personalities were lost at the price of our success during the first phase of the war. Eminent personalities such as the veteran lawyer Advocate Amin Uddin, Physician Amonendu Dakhhi, business man Sayeed Talukdar and many more were martyred.”
The people of Pabna paid with their lives, and continued taking up the costs from April 10 to two days after Independence was proclaimed all over the nation. When all hopes had seemed to have fleeted away, July 14 brought a new dawn to these heroic people. Other freedom fighters from around the area had come to join their battles to free them of the curse of the Pakistani military. They were freed at last from the grip of the occupation forces on December 18, 1971.
(R) thedailystar.net 2011