By Mamun Islam
RANGPUR, March 18, 2016 (BSS) - After sacrificing its heroic sons Sanku Samajhder, Abul Kalam Azad and Omar Ali on March 3 in the beginning of the volatile month in 1971, people of Rangpur started decisive struggle for ultimate Independence.
As per Bangabandhu's call in his historic March 7 speech, the Rangpur
people under leadership of the Awami League (AL) and student leaders began preparing them to launch stiff resistance against the Pakistani army.
"The people of Rangpur started the War of Liberation decisively from March 28 in 1971, only three days after Pakistani crackdowns on innocent Bangalees,turning the day into a red letter one," said District Muktijoddha Commander Mosaddek Hossain Bablu.
"On March 28 in 1971, thousands of Bangalees, irrespective of caste, creed and religion, showed unprecedented heroism embracing martyrdoms while gheraoing Rangpur Cantonment to capture it giving clear signal of achieving Independence," Bablu added.
According to the books 'Juddhe Juddhe Swadhinota' written by Major Nasir Uddin and 'Mukitjuddhe Rangpur' written by Mukul Mostafizur Rahman, thousands of Bangalees assembled at Nisbetganj near Rangpur cantonment to capture it on the day.
The Bangalee Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Oraon, Santal and other ethnic minority communities equipped with indigenous and lethal weapons, spears,sharp weapons, arrows, bows, clubs planned to capture Rangpur cantonment.
"The 23rd Brigade Headquarters of Pakistan Army was then stationed at
Rangpur Cantonment and the Third Bengal, 26th FF Regiment at Syedpur, 23rd Cavalry Regiment and its associate forces and 29th Tank Bahini were under its command," the books wrote.
Pakistani Brigadier General Abdullah Malik was the then Brigade Commander of the 23rd Brigade Headquarters and the Cantonment was equipped with huge Pakistani forces, modern automatic heavy arms, artilleries, tanks and ammunitions.
The common Bangalee people, thousands in number, continued advancing
towards the cantonment from the south and southwestern directions in the afternoon when the Pakistani occupation forces had been preparing to commit genocide.
"The military jeeps started showering automatic gunfire that continued for about five minutes killing some 600 Bangalees and injuring hundreds more,"one of the participants of the attacks, valiant freedom fighter Majibar Rahman Master said.
Later, Pakistani Colonel Sagir, who always maintained links with the local Beharis, told his under commands he had taught proper lessons to the Bangalees by killing at least 600 as 'they crossed all limits' and ordered his soldiers to collect the bodies.
At one stage, a Behari captain discovered an aged Bangalee escaping under the nearby Ghaghot Bridge, caught and took him in front of the Bangalee Officers and killed him by showering bullets from his pistol with smiles of satisfaction in his face.
Under the commands of Colonel Sagir and Captain Shajed Mahmud, most of the bodies of martyred Bangalees were collected, burnt by putting petrol and some bodies buried at Nisbetganj mass grave.
After scarifying 600 heroic sons on the March 28 while gheraoing Rangpur Cantonment, the Rangpur people, Bangalee Army Officers, members of EPR,students, farmers, teachers, youths, lawyers, socio-cultural activists vowed to liberate the nation.
The message reached faster to all other areas of Kurigram, Lalmonirhat,Gaibandha, Nilphamari, Thakurgaon, Dinajpur, Panchagarh and adjoining areas when thousands of students, youths, police and Ansar started fleeing homes to join the Mukti Bahini.
"The then political and student leaders played the most vital roles in
organising the War of Liberation and fierce resistance against the Pakistani Occupation forces in Rangpur region," valiant freedom fighter Shawkat Ali Sarker, Bir Bikram, said.
And thus, the unprecedented heroism of the Bangalees on March 28 while
gheraoing Rangpur cantonment sparkled real heroism in every sleeping Bangalee when they started fighting till achieving the ultimate Independence on December 16.
Since then, Rangpur people have been commemorating the martyrs, who laid down their lives while gheraoing Rangpur cantonment on March 28, 1971 at Nisbetganj (Lahirirhat Baddhyabhumi) in the outskirts of Rangpur city.