Freedom fighters became indomitable after returning from training camps

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Published on December 12, 2021
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The Bengali nation emerged as an independent nation-state with the birth of Bangladesh on December 16, 1971. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman declared independence at the very beginning of the Pakistani military’s brutal aggression on the night of March 25. Earlier, Bangabandhu prepared the whole nation for armed resistance by his directions in different public rallies throughout March. So, Bengalis from all walks of life started resisting the Pakistani forces with the former declaration of independence in the wee hours of March 26. Though it was getting difficult to survive in the direct war against Pakistan’s modern and sophisticated weapons, indomitable freedom fighters started guerrilla operations one after another.

The government and trained forces of neighbouring India were also surprised to see the courage and morale of the freedom fighters against the inhumane repressions of Pakistani occupying forces. Then India opened the border to save millions of lives of the Bengalis.

In addition, the leaders of Bangladesh’s expatriate government, who took refuge in Kolkata, allied with the Indian government. They also urged India for training the freedom fighters to combat against the Pakistani military forces. Initially, young freedom fighters were sent into the country for guerrilla operations with four weeks of basic training. In the first stage, they were trained on how to fire rifles, hurl grenades and carry out the sudden attack. The duration of the training was later extended to eight weeks and they were taught how to operate sophisticated weapons. According to a book written by Pakistani official Major Siddique Salik, India opened at least 30 camps in the border areas in May to train freedom fighters. Later in September, the number of these camps stood at 84. Around 500 to 2,000 freedom fighters were trained in each camp for four to eight weeks.

In the earlier phase of the Liberation War, freedom fighters used to attack the Pakistani forces in 'hit-and-run' style with little training. Within a few days, however, they began attacking Pakistani military convoys on the frontline. Even they sank Pakistani ships. Following their training by the Indian border guards and the army, freedom fighters were handed over light weapons initially. In the meantime, Bangladesh’s expatriate government also bought some weapons by raising funds through various Bangladeshi missions abroad. Even after India's agreement with the Soviet Union, the supply of Indian arms to the freedom fighters increased.

Requested by the Mujibnagar government, the Indian trainers imparted special naval commando training for 365 Bengali naval personnel and swimmers from April 23 to May 6. In the Bhagirathi river of Palashi, more than one and a half hundred naval commandos were trained as suicide squads in two phases. The navy forces began the final blow from August 2.

The Indian government even helped us form an air force following discussions with our expatriate government representatives. They provided warplanes, aircraft and helicopters for the freedom fighters. After the formation of this force on September 28, training for the pilots was arranged in the already liberated areas in Bangladesh. Even in the early days of the airstrikes by the Bangladesh-India joint force from December 4, Bangladeshi pilots led the attack and showed skills.

China was forced to retreat from its decision to directly assist the Pakistan army due to the Indo-Soviet alliance agreement. The United States was also got frightened to send arms and military support to Pakistani forces by sea. India-initiated agreement with the Soviets on August 9 became a defensive weapon for the Bengali nation and the indomitable freedom fighters. As a result, the occupying Pakistanis became confused, and subsequently, they dropped bombs on Indian territory on December 9 for aiding the freedom fighters. As a result, the Indian forces joined the direct battlefield with the freedom fighters. As a result, the Indo-Bangla joint attacks cornered the Pakistanis leading to the unconditional and open surrender of the Pakistani murderers and rapists on December 16.