Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Controversy about taking Dhaka

There is an unseemly controversy about the taking of Dhaka in 1971 by the Indian Army. Let’s know some details about it; it’s interesting.

Some important personalities associated with the 1971 liberation of Bangladesh:

Field Marshal Sam ‘Bahadur’ Manekshaw, Indian Army Chief

Major-General J.F.R. Jacob, Chief of Staff of the Eastern Command

Major-General Gandharv Nagra, India’s General who captured Dhaka

General Tikka Khan, the Pakistani General who oversaw the pogrom against the Mukti Bahini guerillas of Bangladesh

Abdullah Niazi, Pakistan’s Eastern Command Chief in Dhaka

Abdul Kader ‘Tiger’ Siddiqui, the leader of the Bangladesh guerillas

General Jacob asserted that the capture of Dhaka did not figure in the Field Marshal’s offensive plans and that it was in fact the result of the initiative of mid-ranking officers – notably himself.

In March 1971, Pakistan initiated a massive pogrom directed at pro-Bangladesh nationalists. General Tikka Khan estimated that the Pakistani forces killed at least 30,000 people. Mukti Bahini (Liberation Army) guerillas responded by staging strikes against Pakistani forces from bases inside Indian soil.

India entered the war on 3 December 1971. In fact, the Indian soldiers were already participating in the war in different guises since November when the freedom fighters had launched the Belonia battle. The war with Pakistan was officially declared through Operational Instruction 53 of the Indian Army Headquarters. It ended with the liberation of Bangladesh from Pakistani rule. On 16 December 1971, commander of the 14 division of Pakistan army Major General Jamshed surrendered to Indian General Nagra near Mirpur bridge in Dhaka. At 10.40 am, the Indian allied force and Kader Siddiqui entered Dhaka city. That signaled the end of 9-month long War of Liberation of Bangladesh.