What happened on Sunday, July 11, 1971
The first conference of the commanders of different teams of the freedom fighters (July 11-17) began under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Tajuddin Ahmed at his office building at 8 Theater Road, Kolkata. To conduct the war of liberation in an organized manner, the whole country was divided into 11 sectors and one sector commander was appointed to each sector. During the session, various problems and issues faced by the freedom fighters and a concerted future course of action were discussed.
The Sector and Sector Commanders were:
Comprised of Chittagong and the Chittagong Hill Tracts and the whole of the eastern part of the Muhuri river in Noakhali district. The headquarters of this sector was in Harina. The Sector Commander was at first Major Ziaur Rahman and later Major Rafiqul Islam.
Comprised of parts of Dhaka, Comilla, Faridpur and Noakhali districts. The forces in this sector were made up of 4- EPR forces of East Bengal and EPR forces from Comilla and Noakhali. The headquarters of this sector was at Melaghar, 20 miles south of Agartala. The Sector Commander was at first Major Khaled Musharraf and later Major A T M Haider.
Comprised of the area from Churamankathi (near Srimangal) to Sylhet to the north, and Singarbil in Brahmanbaria to the south. The Sector Commander was at first Major K M Shafiullah and later Major A N M Nuruzzaman.
Comprised of a 100-mile boundary area from Habiganj subdivision of Sylhet district in the north to Kanaighat thana in the south. The sector was formed with the help of EPR troops of Sylhet and student freedom fighters. The Sector Commander was Major Chitta Ranjan Dutta at first and later Captain A Rob. The headquarters was first at Karimganj and later at Masimpur in Assam.
Covered a wide area from Durgapur in Sylhet district to Dawki (Tamabil) and the eastern boundary of the Sylhet district. The Sector Commander was Major Mir Shawkat Ali. The headquarters was in Banshtala.
Comprised of the whole of Rangpur district and the Thakurgaon subdivision of Dinajpur district. This sector was mainly composed of EPR (East Pakistan Rifles) forces of Rangpur and Dinajpur. The Sector Commander was Wing Commander M Khademul Bashar. The headquarters of the sector was at Burimari near Patgram. This was the only sector headquartered inside Bangladesh.
Comprised of Rajshahi, Pabna, Bogra districts and the southern part of Dinajpur district. This sector was made up of EPR troops. These forces, led by Captain Gias and Captain Rashid, conducted the initial operations in Rajshahi. The Sector Commander was Major Nazmul Haque at first and later Subedar Major A Rob and Major Kazi Nuruzzaman. The headquarters of this sector was at Tarangpur near Balurghat.
Kushtia, Jessore, Khulna, Barisal, Faridpur and Patuakhali districts were the operational areas of this sector in April. At the end of May, the operation area was reduced to Kushtia, Jessore and Khulna districts, Satkhira subdivision and the northern regions of Faridpur. The Sector Commander was Major Abu Osman Chowdhury and later Major M A Manzur. The headquarters of this sector was at Kalyani.
Comprised of Barisal and Patuakhali districts and parts of the Khulna and Faridpur districts. The headquarters of this sector was at Taki near Bashirhat. The Sector Commander was first Major M A Jalil and later Major M A Manzur and Major Joynal Abedin.
This sector was made up of naval commandos. The formation of this force was initiated by eight Bengali naval officers of the Pakistan Navy who had trained in France.
Comprised of the whole of Mymensingh district except Tangail district and Kishoreganj subdivision. The Sector Commander was Major M Abu Taher. When Major Taher was seriously wounded in the battle, Squadron Leader Hamidullah was given charge of the sector. Mahendraganj was the headquarters of the sector.
At 11 am, the Mukti Bahini ambush team ambushed a Pak army company as it was advancing towards Miyabazar. This led to a fierce clash between the two sides. 10/15 Pak soldiers were killed in the 4-hour long battle. The Pak invaders retreated from the battlefield in the aftermath.
The freedom fighters led by Lt. Shamsul Arefin attacked the Razakar base of Kapilmuni of Paikgachha police station. After a tumultuous battle, the freedom fighters returned safely to their base.
At 8 am the Pak army launched a surprise attack on the Shalda river position of the freedom fighters with the help of heavy artillery and mortars. All day long shelling caused considerable damage to the position of the freedom fighters. Havildar Tajul Mia of 4th Bengal and Sepoy Abdur Razzak was seriously injured in the firing. In addition, 2 civilians were killed and 8 civilians were injured.
At 6:30 pm, two guerrillas of the Mukti Bahini hurled grenades at two Pak soldiers and two Pak policemen guarding the Chandpur power station. All of them were killed.
East Pakistan Red Cross Chairman Justice A K M Nurul Islam returned to Dhaka after he visited Geneva.
US National Security Assistant Dr. Henry Kissinger secretly returned to Pakistan after a visit to China and had a private meeting with President Yahya Khan. He later left for Paris via Tehran.
West Pakistan PDP president Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan said in a statement in Lahore that, “It is unfortunate that in an interview with an Iranian daily, People’s Party Chairman Zulfikar Ali Bhutto suggested that talks should be held with the outlawed Awami League and its leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on a settlement formula of the current government.” Mr. Khan said, “Whoever from Pakistan goes to negotiate with the outlawed Awami League will act against the national interest.”
Translated by Mohammad Towhidul Islam
Editorial contribution by Arghya Raihan
Researched, compiled & Edited by Sagar Lohani
Feature Photo: Photograph taken at Minto Road, Dhaka in 1972.
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