What happened on Saturday, July 24, 1971
Mukti Bahini (freedom fighters) guerrillas set up an anti-personnel mine on the railway line west of Narsingdi and blew up an army train. 4 bogies of the train were blasted away. The same group of guerrillas destroyed the railway’s station signal boards and telegram equipment. At a later time, the Pak army carried out terroristic activities in the area.
In Comilla, when the Pak invading forces advanced towards the Kateshwar base of the Mukti Bahini, a group of freedom fighters with mortars and light machine guns set up at the forward position engaged the Pak soldiers. After two hours of fighting, the Pak army was forced to retreat in the face of the freedom fighters’ resistance. Fifteen Pak soldiers were killed in the clash.
At five o’clock in the afternoon, a platoon of fighters led by Captain Gaffar launched a surprise attack on a gathering of 50/60 Pak soldiers and local collaborators at the Naogaon school premises in Comilla. In this attack, 30 Pak soldiers and 7 Pak collaborators were killed. The assembly broke up and the Pak army was dispersed. The freedom fighters returned to their bases safely.
In Barisal, the Pak invading forces attacked the Satlabagda’s Peyara Bagan Mukti Bahini base with the help of two gunboats. As the base area of the freedom fighters had been identified with the Pak army, the fighters left the base and set up a new base at the Gournadi zamindar’s house.
Jugantar’s correspondent published the story of Hossain Joardar, the youngest freedom fighter in Bangladesh, and reported “In his words, about 500 more young people have trained with him. His eyes are filled with dreams of the battlefront. As yet, he has yet to hit any targets other than trees. This time the real target is the enemy army. His aim is correct, now it is time to go to the front. There is joy in his eyes. He will go to the front.”
Twenty-five enemy soldiers were killed in a surprise attack on the Pak base at Teliapara in Sylhet.
At 8:30 pm, guerrillas of the Liberation forces detonated a hand grenade at a cinema hall in the city of Tangail, occupied by the invading troops. As a result, 5 enemy soldiers were killed and 20 others were injured. These 20 were admitted to the hospital.
The military authorities in Dhaka announced that the properties of the leaders of the illegal declared Awami League, Tajuddin Ahmed, Abdul Mannan and Abidur Rahman, editor of The People, would be sold off at a public auction the next day (July 25th).
US Assistant Secretary of State John Irwin told the Senate Judiciary Sub-Committee on Bangladeshi Refugees in India that Pakistan welcomed the proposal to deploy a UN observer team to the East Pakistan-India border to expedite the repatriation of refugees but India had not accepted it.
A meeting of Pakistani collaborators was held under the chairmanship of Arifuddin, convener of the Ishwardi Peace Committee. At the meeting, former minister Fakruddin said, “There is no force in the world that can destroy Pakistan.” He called on everyone to join the gram rakkhibahinI (village defense forces). At the meeting, the public relations secretary of the East Pakistan branch of the Council Muslim League said, “We are determined to suppress the miscreants involved in the conspiracy to divide Pakistan and their efforts have failed.”
According to an editorial published in the daily Jugantar, “The concern expressed by Khandaker Mushtaq Ahmed, the foreign minister of the caretaker Bangladesh government, over the fate of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, a prisoner in the hands of General Yahya Khan, is not his concern alone but should be the concern of every civilized person on the planet. In the name of justice, Yahya Khan, who has no authority as a leader other than that imposed at the point of a gun, wants to assassinate Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who is the elected leader of the seventy-five million people of Bangladesh. It is the responsibility of the whole world, the entire human race, to stop Yahya Khan from enacting his vengeance in such a way. Yahya Khan boasted to foreign journalists that Sheikh Mujibur Rahman would be “tried” in a military court and that the charges against him could carry the death penalty. How can the one who is responsible for killing millions of people, torturing and raping countless women, looting and destroying homes and workplaces of millions judge others? What has Sheikh Mujibur Rahman done for which he has to sacrifice his life to Yahya? Treason? If Mujib is a traitor, then why did Yahya come to Dhaka and met with him? Why will this ‘trial’ be held in secret? Why shouldn’t the people of the country and the people of the world be made aware of what allegations, what evidence, would be presented against the man whom Yahya Khan himself had called the ‘future Prime Minister’? An unarmed man, alone among enemies, held in the palm of Yahya’s hand, judged in a court made by. Yet he is so afraid of that man that he can’t make that man stand in his defense in front of everyone? It is noteworthy that while he had threatened to hang Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib, Yahya also said that he had the power to commute the death sentence. Perhaps he wants to implicitly tell Mujib’s followers that if they want to save their leader, they must come to a compromise. But who will stop the bloodthirsty Yahya Khan from this path of extreme stupidity? Bangladesh Foreign Minister Khandaker Mushtaq Ahmed has called on UN Secretary General U Thant to stop this mockery of the trial and save Sheikh’s life. The Secretary-General must hold a duty, an obligation, in this regard. In the name of humanity, in the name of fairness and justice, he must intervene in this matter. Public opinion around the world should be vocal in demanding an end to Mujib’s farce of a trial.”
Translated by Mohammad Towhidul Islam
Editorial contribution by Arghya Raihan
Researched, compiled & Edited by Sagar Lohani
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