By Dr Aynal Haque
RAJSHAHI, March 25, 2015 (BSS)- Rajshahi Cadet College (RCC), 25-km away from Rajshahi city, played a heroic role during the country's war of liberation and its present and former students, adjacent people as well as the people of Rajshahi city are still commemorating the history of both valiant, sacrifice and martyrdom.
Many teachers, students and other staff of the college, including Shaheed AB Siddiqui Bir Bikram, laid down their lives for the freedom of the country. Eight cadets and ten staff embraced martyrdom while four staff of the college still remains missing (mentioned in the list of RCC honour board).
Referring to the historical records, the college sources and locals said the liberation war movement, that was taking place throughout the whole country in 1971 to defend any sort of conspiracy, also influenced the then Aiyub Cadet College (present name is Rajshahi Cadet College).
First Bengali College Principal M Bakiatullah, Adjutant Capt Md Abdur Rashid, some of the teachers, employees and the cadets participated actively in that movement. Taking part in the non-violent and non-cooperative movement they prepared themselves to face harder situations.
They contacted with the members of 'Chhatro Sangram Parishad' as well as the political leaders. They also talked with the members of EPR of Yusufpur Camp. In collaboration with the political leaders and EPR members they were having secret planning of armed movement. The students of senior classes contacted with the leaders of 'Chhatro Sangram Parishad' of Rajshahi University and few of them secretly left the campus to take part in the procession.
The political situation of the country was becoming unstable and critical gradually. So according to the decision of higher authority Rajshahi Cadet College was closed on 9 March 71 and cadets were sent to their homes.
Even after going home few Cadets joined the liberation war like Shaheed Cadet S A Momin, Shaheed Cadet Abdul Mannaf, Shaheed Cadet Abdullah Al Mamun and Shaheed Cadet Md Zakaria. But few cadets of senior classes stayed in Rajshahi town instead of going home to take part in the movement directly.
They got the opportunity to come into direct contact with the topmost student and political leaders and were inspired to be involved in the movement.
The brave Cadets who actively participated in liberation war are enlisted in the honour board. The brave staffs who actively fought liberation war in different sectors and contributed significantly to liberate our beloved motherland are also enlisted in honour board.
On the other hand, local 'Mukti Sangram Parishad' was formed declaring vice president of Sardah police academy Mr. Barua as president, Awami league leader Mr Azizur Rahman as secretary and Subedar Mohammad Mojibur Rahman as the commander of local freedom fighters.
In that committee, members of RCC participated actively keeping hand with the local students, general people, police, Ansar, EPR and Muzahid members. To fight against the enemy few 303 Rifles were given from Cadet College.
Moreover 600/700 rifles along with ammunition were collected from Sardah police academy. Taking those arms the members of 'Mukti Sangram Parishad' took position in bunkers near Sardah - Rajshahi road to face the enemies.
Instead of Pakistani flag, Bangladeshi flag was hoisted in the college on 23 March 71. In the evening, local people and political leaders came to the college with a large procession. All the members of RCC family except few traitors participated in that procession. College Principal Mr. Bakiatullah and Adjutant Capt Abdur Rashid were in the front of the procession.
On the evening of 27 March, Capt Abdur Rashid accompanied by the faculty members and employees took the responsibility to carry on liberation war in the southern part of Rajshahi.
Capt Abdur Rashid commanded the freedom fighters of Shahpur, Yusufpur and Charghat of Rajshahi, and the area covering from Mirgonj BOP to Pabna.
On March 30, College Principal M Bakiatullah went to Baharampur in India's West Bengal crossing the Padma River. There he got the responsibility to administer a refugee camp. Later he joined as the director of 'Youth Camp' to train the freedom fighters with the support of Bangladesh Mission, Calcutta.
On April 11, news came that a large convoy of Pak soldiers consisting of two hundred vehicles was coming to Rajshahi from Dhaka. To resist them defense array was formed in Baneswar, Arani and Biraldaha. Barricades were made on the road with trees. Few booby-trap and mines were set inside the barricade. Pak soldiers tried to remove the barricades and the mines exploded resulting in death and injury of a number of Pak soldiers.
On the evening of 12 April Pak soldiers came forward towards Baneswar and a company of freedom fighters tried to resist them. They shot 30 inch mortar shell on the enemy forces. Both groups fought the whole night at Charghat. But freedom fighters couldn't cope up with heavily armed Pak soldiers. In that battle Assistant Teacher Abu Bakar Siddique who was a company commander of the freedom fighters fought to death with an LMG in a trench near Charghat Bazar. On 13 April 71, Pak soldiers of 25 Punjab Regiment after coming through Baneshawar via Sardah Trafic Junction attacked Sardah Police Academy. Recently passed Ex-Cadet Abdul Munnaf (1/259) organized defensive battle with 30 to 40 young men near Police Academy main gate and fought against the enemies with few 303 Rifles and sacrificed life along with his two brothers.
After capturing Sardah police academy (now Bangladesh Police Academy), Pak soldiers started killing innocent Bangladeshis mercilessly. The Bangladeshis were captured from the surrounding areas and shot dead on the bank of the Padma. On that day, more than seven hundred people including nine RCC-family men were killed by the Pak soldiers.
At one stage, Pak soldiers took complete control of RCC and turned this holy educational institution into a 'Concentration camp.' They made river bank a slaughter house. Everyday a good number of Bangladeshis were brought here and tortured brutally. Later, they were shot or slaughtered on the bank of the Padma river and their dead bodies were thrown into the river.
On 12 Nov, 71 Mr Moazzem Hossain and few other guerrillas attacked RCC campus with the order of Maj Abdur Rashid. They killed the Head Guard Mozammel who was an agent of Pak soldiers. They also took away the ID card of Mozammel and few fire arms from the campus.
On 17 December'71, Major Abdur Rashid, Moazzem Hossain and their fellow freedom fighters returned to a free College with utmost satisfaction of great achievement.