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Bangladesh Liberation War '71

11/12/2009 19:59

Bangladesh Liberation War'71

If any one want to know more description about Bangladesh liberation War 1971 might be reached useing by this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangladesh_Liberation_War  

 

 

         The Liberation War ’71 of Bangladesh

The Bangladesh Liberation War(i) (Bengali: মুক্তিযুদ্ধ Muktijuddho) was an armed conflict pitting West Pakistan against East Pakistan (two halves of one country) and India, that resulted in the secession of East Pakistan as the independent nation of Bangladesh.

The war broke out on 26 March 1971 as army units directed by West Pakistan launched a military operation in East Pakistan against Bengali civilians, students, intelligentsia, and armed personnel who were demanding separation from West Pakistan. Bengali military, paramilitary and civilians formed the Mukti Bahini (or liberation army) and used guerrilla warfare tactics to fight against the West Pakistan army. India provided economic, military and diplomatic support to the Mukti Bahini rebels leading Pakistan to launch Operation Chengiz Khan, a pre-emptive attack on the western border of India which started the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.

On 16 December 1971, the allied forces of the Indian army and the Mukti Bahini decisively defeated the West Pakistani forces deployed in the East, resulting in the largest surrender, in terms of the number of prisoners of war, since World War II.

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Bangladesh Liberation War

Part of Cold War

Date

26 March – 16 December 1971

Location

East Pakistan

Result

• Independence of Bangladesh

• Indian and Mukti bahini victory against Pakistan

Territorial
changes

East Pakistan secedes to become Bangladesh

 

Belligerents

Mukti Bahini

India

 Pakistan

Commanders

General. M A G Osmani
Lt General
Jagjit Singh Aurora
Field Marshal
Sam Manekshaw

Lt General A. A. K. Niazi
General
Tikka Khan

Strength

Bangladesh Forces: 175,000 [1][2]
India: 250,000 [1]

Pakistan Army: ~ 90,000[citation needed]

Para Military: ~250,000[3]

Casualties and losses

Bangladesh Forces: 30,000
India: 1,426 KIA
3,611 Wounded (Official)
1,525
KIA
4,061 Wounded
[4]

Pakistan ~8,000 KIA[citation needed]
~10,000 Wounded[citation needed]
91,000 POWs
(56,694 Armed Forces
12,192 Paramilitary
rest civilians)
[4]

[5]

Civilian death toll: Estimates exist between 300,000 and 3,000,000[6]

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Background

In August 1947, the Partition of British India gave birth to two new states named India and Pakistan. Pakistan was declared as an Islamic state, India being a secular country with equal rights for citizens from all religions. The new nation of Pakistan included two geographically and culturally separate areas in the east and the west of India. The western zone was popularly (and for a period of time, also officially) termed West Pakistan and the eastern zone (modern-day Bangladesh) was initially termed East Bengal and later, East Pakistan. Although the population of the two zones was close to equal, political power was concentrated in West Pakistan and it was widely perceived that East Pakistan was being exploited economically, leading to many grievances.

On 25 March 1971, rising political discontent and cultural nationalism in East Pakistan was met by brutal[7] suppressive force from the ruling elite of the West Pakistan establishment[8] in what came to be termed Operation Searchlight.[9]

The violent crackdown by West Pakistan forces[10] led to East Pakistan declaring its independence as the state of Bangladesh and to the start of civil war. The war led to a sea of refugees (estimated at the time to be about 10 million)[11][12] flooding into the eastern provinces of India[11]. Facing a mounting humanitarian and economic crisis, India started actively aiding and organizing the Bangladeshi resistance army known as the Mukti Bahini.

[edit] East Pakistani grievances

[edit] Economic exploitation

Although East Pakistan had a larger population, West Pakistan dominated the divided country politically and received more money from the common budget.

Year

Spending on West Pakistan (in crore Rupees)

Spending on East Pakistan (in crore Rupees)

Amount spent on East as percentage of West

1950–55

1,129

524

46.4

1955–60

1,655

524

31.7

1960–65

3,355

1,404

41.8

1965–70

5,195

2,141

41.2

Total

11,334

4,593

40.5

Source: Reports of the Advisory Panels for the Fourth Five Year Plan 1970-75, Vol. I, published by the planning commission of Pakistan (Quick reference: crore = 107, or 10 million)

[edit] Political differences

Although East Pakistan accounted for a slight majority of the country's population,[13] political power remained firmly in the hands of West Pakistanis. Since a straightforward system of representation based on population would have concentrated political power in East Pakistan, the West Pakistani establishment came up with the "One Unit" scheme, where all of West Pakistan was considered one province. This was solely to counterbalance the East wing's votes. Ironically, after the East broke away to form Bangladesh, the Punjab province insisted that politics in West Pakistan now be decided on the basis of a straightforward vote, since Punjabis were more numerous than the other groups, such as Sindhis, Pashtuns, or Balochs.

After the assassination of Liaquat Ali Khan, Pakistan's first prime minister, in 1951, political power began to be concentrated in the President of Pakistan, and eventually, the military. The nominal elected chief executive, the Prime Minister, was frequently sacked by the establishment, acting through the President.

East Pakistanis noticed that whenever one of them, such as Khawaja Nazimuddin, Muhammad Ali Bogra, or Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy were elected Prime Minister of Pakistan, they were swiftly deposed by the largely West Pakistani establishment. The military dictatorships of Ayub Khan (27 October 1958 – 25 March 1969) and Yahya Khan (25 March 1969 – 20 December 1971), both West Pakistanis, only heightened such feelings.

 

 

Historic Speech of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on 7 March 1971

The situation reached a climax when in 1970 the Awami League, the largest East Pakistani political party, led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, won a landslide victory in the national elections. The party won 167 of the 169 seats allotted to East Pakistan, and thus a majority of the 313 seats in the National Assembly. This gave the Awami League the constitutional right to form a government. However, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (a Sindhi), the leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party, refused to allow Rahman to become the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Instead, he proposed the idea of having two Prime Ministers, one for each wing. The proposal elicited outrage in the east wing, already chafing under the other constitutional innovation, the "one unit scheme". Bhutto also refused to accept Rahman's Six Points. On 3 March 1971, the two leaders of the two wings along with the President General Yahya Khan met in Dhaka to decide the fate of the country. Talks failed. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman called for a nation-wide strike.

On 7 March 1971, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman delivered a speech at the Racecourse Ground (now called the Suhrawardy Udyan). In this speech he mentioned a further four-point condition to consider the National Assembly Meeting on 25 March:

  1. The immediate lifting of martial law.
  2. Immediate withdrawal of all military personnel to their barracks.
  3. An inquiry into the loss of life.
  4. Immediate transfer of power to the elected representative of the people before the assembly meeting 25 March.

He urged "his people" to turn every house into a fort of resistance. He closed his speech saying, "Our struggle is for our freedom. Our struggle is for our independence." This speech is considered the main event that inspired the nation to fight for their independence. General Tikka Khan was flown in to Dhaka to become Governor of East Bengal. East-Pakistani judges, including Justice Siddique, refused to swear him in.

Between 10 and 13 March, Pakistan International Airlines cancelled all their international routes to urgently fly "Government Passengers" to Dhaka. These "Government Passengers" were almost all Pakistani soldiers in civilian dress. MV Swat, a ship of the Pakistani Navy, carrying ammunition and soldiers, was harboured in Chittagong Port and the Bengali workers and sailors at the port refused to unload the ship. A unit of East Pakistan Rifles refused to obey commands to fire on Bengali demonstrators, beginning a mutiny of Bengali soldiers.

[edit] Military imbalance

Bengalis were under-represented in the Pakistan military. Officers of Bengali origin in the different wings of the armed forces made up just 5% of overall force by 1965; of these, only a few were in command positions, with the majority in technical or administrative posts.[14] West Pakistanis believed that Bengalis were not "martially inclined" unlike Pashtuns and Punjabis; the "martial races" notion was dismissed as ridiculous and humiliating by Bengalis.[14] Moreover, despite huge defence spending, East Pakistan received none of the benefits, such as contracts, purchasing and military support jobs. The Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 over Kashmir also highlighted the sense of military insecurity among Bengalis as only an under-strength infantry division and 15 combat aircraft without tank support were in East Pakistan to thwart any Indian retaliations during the conflict.[15][16]

[edit] Language controversy

Main article: Bengali Language Movement

In 1948, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Pakistan's first Governor-General, declared in Dhaka (then usually spelled Dacca in English) that "Urdu, and only Urdu" would be the sole official language for all of Pakistan.[17] This proved highly controversial, since Urdu was a language that was only spoken in the West by Muhajirs and in the East by Biharis. The majority groups in West Pakistan spoke Punjabi, while the Bengali language was spoken by the vast majority of East Pakistanis.[18] The language controversy eventually reached a point where East Pakistan revolted. Several students and civilians lost their lives in a police crackdown on 21 February 1952.[18] The day is revered in Bangladesh and in West Bengal as the Language Martyrs' Day. Later, in memory of the 1952 killings, UNESCO declared 21 February as the International Mother Language Day in 1999.[19]

In West Pakistan, the movement was seen as a sectional uprising against Pakistani national interests[20] and the founding ideology of Pakistan, the Two-Nation Theory.[21] West Pakistani politicians considered Urdu a product of Indian Islamic culture,[22] as Ayub Khan said, as late as in 1967, "East Bengalis... still are under considerable Hindu culture and influence."[22] But, the deaths led to bitter feelings among East Pakistanis, and they were a major factor in the push for independence.[21][22]

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Response to the 1970 cyclone

The 1970 Bhola cyclone made landfall on the East Pakistan coastline during the evening of 12 November, around the same time as a local high tide,[23] killing an estimated 300,000 to 500,000 people. Though the exact death toll is not known, it is considered the deadliest tropical cyclone on record.[24] A week after the landfall, President Khan conceded that his government had made "slips" and "mistakes" in its handling of the relief efforts for a lack of understanding of the magnitude of the disaster.[25]

A statement released by eleven political leaders in East Pakistan ten days after the cyclone hit charged the government with "gross neglect, callous indifference and utter indifference". They also accused the president of playing down the magnitude of the problem in news coverage.[26] On 19 November, students held a march in Dhaka protesting the slowness of the government response.[27] Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani addressed a rally of 50,000 people on 24 November, where he accused the president of inefficiency and demanded his resignation.

As the conflict between East and West Pakistan developed in March, the Dhaka offices of the two government organisations directly involved in relief efforts were closed for at least two weeks, first by a general strike and then by a ban on government work in East Pakistan by the Awami League. With this increase in tension, foreign personnel were evacuated due to fears of violence. Relief work continued in the field, but long-term planning was curtailed.[28] This conflict widened into the Bangladesh Liberation War in December and concluded with the creation of Bangladesh. This is one of the first times that a natural event helped to trigger a civil war.[29]

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NB....... to be continued

  by Protisruti team

[edit] Operation Searchlight

Main article: Operation Searchlight

A planned military pacification carried out by the Pakistan Army — codenamed Operation Searchlight — started on 25 March to curb the Bengali nationalist movement[30] by taking control of the major cities on 26 March, and then eliminating all opposition, political or military,[31] within one month. Before the beginning of the operation, all foreign journalists were systematically deported from East Pakistan.[32]

The main phase of Operation Searchlight ended with the fall of the last major town in Bengali hands in mid-May. The operation also began the 1971 Bangladesh atrocities. These systematic killings served only to enrage the Bengalis, which ultimately resulted in the secession of East Pakistan later in the same year. The international media and reference books in English have published casualty figures which vary greatly, from 5,000–35,000 in Dhaka, and 200,000–3,000,000 for Bangladesh as a whole.[6][33]

According to the Asia Times,[34]

At a meeting of the military top brass, Yahya Khan declared: "Kill 3 million of them and the rest will eat out of our hands." Accordingly, on the night of 25 March, the Pakistani Army launched Operation Searchlight to "crush" Bengali resistance in which Bengali members of military services were disarmed and killed, students and the intelligentsia systematically liquidated and able-bodied Bengali males just picked up and gunned down.

Although the violence focused on the provincial capital, Dhaka, it also affected all parts of East Pakistan. Residential halls of the University of Dhaka were particularly targeted. The only Hindu residential hall — the Jagannath Hall — was destroyed by the Pakistani armed forces, and an estimated 600 to 700 of its residents were murdered. The Pakistani army denies any cold blooded killings at the university, though the Hamood-ur-Rehman commission in Pakistan concluded that overwhelming force was used at the university. This fact and the massacre at Jagannath Hall and nearby student dormitories of Dhaka University are corroborated by a videotape secretly filmed by Prof. Nurul Ullah of the East Pakistan Engineering University, whose residence was directly opposite the student dormitories. [35]

Hindu areas suffered particularly heavy blows. By midnight, Dhaka was literally burning,[citation needed] especially the Hindu dominated eastern part of the city. Time magazine reported on 2 August 1971, "The Hindus, who account for three-fourths of the refugees and a majority of the dead, have borne the brunt of the Pakistani military hatred."

Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was arrested by the Pakistani Army. Yahya Khan appointed Brigadier (later General) Rahimuddin Khan to preside over a special tribunal prosecuting Mujib with multiple charges. The tribunal's sentence was never made public, but Yahya caused the verdict to be held in abeyance in any case.[citation needed] Other Awami League leaders were arrested as well, while a few fled Dhaka to avoid arrest. The Awami League was banned by General Yahya Khan.

[edit] Declaration of independence

The violence unleashed by the Pakistani forces on 25 March 1971, proved the last straw to the efforts to negotiate a settlement. Following these outrages, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman signed an official declaration that read:

Today Bangladesh is a sovereign and independent country. On Thursday night, West Pakistani armed

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