By Mamun Islam
RANGPUR, March 6, 2016 (BSS) - Since the beginning of volatile March in 1971, the country's northernmost Tentulia Thana remained occupation-free during the War of Liberation creating a severe threat to the Pakistani army.
The independence-seeker Bangalee nation turned extremely angry when hatred Pakistani President Yahiya Khan on March 1 in 1971 cancelled the scheduled on March 3 parliament sitting and declared curfew on the day.
Instantly rejecting cancellation of the scheduled parliament session, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman called strike on March 2 in Dhaka and March 3 across the country when people of the northern region started mobilising them decisively.
As per directions of Bangabandhu in his Historic March- 7 speech, the political and student leaders of the region started gathering at the 74 square kilometre occupation-free Tentulia for the ultimate struggle for independence.
Valiant freedom fighter and JASOD leader Nazmul Hoque Prodhan, MP, said Tentulia became internationally well-known since beginning of March in 1971 as Freedom Fighters and top political leaders in exile began conducting activities from there.
Principal of local Bhajanpur Degree College Shafikul Islam said the freedom fighters and common people of Tentulia still feel proud resisting Pakistani army from crossing their last defense position at nearby Amarkhana point during the nine-month war in 1971.
"Following frequent fierce attacks from the freedom fighters during the War of Liberation, the Pakistani army could never touch the sovereignty of Tentulia, surrounded by Indian territories from three directions of the West, East and North," he said.
Former Headmaster of Tentulia Pilot High School Jahirul Haque said foreign journalists started visiting Tentulia since March to observe the War of Liberation and atrocities committed by the occupation forces in the mainland.
"Many renowned international journalists, including Mark Tully and William Crowley, visited Tentulia, photographed the War of Liberation in Bhajanpur fronts and interviewed the freedom fighters, common people and refugees for global media coverage," he said.
Local elderly people Delwar Hossain and Basir Uddin said the whole area of the then Tentulia Thana remained an independent part of Swadhin Bangla in 1971.
"All hats and bazaars functioned in Tentulia area kept quite normal and the freedom fighters used to go to India, coming back they would attack the occupation forces frequently," Kazi Habibur Rahman of Kazipara village said.
Tentulia Upazila Muktijoddha Commander Kazi Mahbubur Rahman said hundreds of the brave Bangalees frequently took part the pro-liberation processions and chanted slogans 'Joy Bangla' at Tentulia in free atmosphere in 1971.
Prime Minister of the Bangladesh government in exile Tajuddin Ahmed, Finance Minister Captain Mansur Ali, Home Minister AHM Kamruzzaman, Acting President Syed Nazrul Islam and Colonel MAG Osmani then frequently visited Tentulia.
Sector Commander MK Bashar, Sub-sector Commander Squadron leader Sadruddin, Captain Nazrul, Captain Shahriar, Lieutenants Masud and Matin were stationed at Tentulia Sub-sector headquarters to conduct the War.
"The 'Weekly Sangrami Bangla', edited by Emdadul Haque, was being published regularly from Tentulia in 1971 that inspired independence-seeker Bangalee and freedom fighters to strengthen their moral courage," he said.
Principal Shafikul Islam said Tajuddin Ahmed with other leaders in exile came to Tentulia one day and addressed a rally participated by thousands of independence-seekers, freedom fighters, political leaders, activists and foreign journalists.
Tajuddin Ahmed in his speech highly appreciated the heroism and bravery of the people of Tentulia, he also called upon the people of the whole country not to lose courage and to continue the war until the victory . Headmaster Jahirul Haque, who was also President of Tentulia unit of All-party Chhatra Sangram Parishad, said the then Circle Officer (Development) of Tentulia Thana Matiur Rahman expressed his loyalty under the Mujib Nagar government.
"The Tentulia High School ground factually turned into a mini cantonment for freedom fighters as they conducted the War of Liberation during the whole nine-month periods from there to ultimately defeat the occupation forces," he said.
The common people of Tentulia thanked the government for constructing monument 'Swadhinotar Tirthobhumi Tentulia' and 'Muktanchol of 1971 in Tentulia.