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Unrecognised war of mass people

by Istiak Ahmed Shimul

It was March 28 in 1971, after three days of the countrywide crackdown by the Pakistan occupation army, people of Pabna from every corner of the district regrouped and launched an attack on the trained Pakistan army at the old telephone office (now abandoned) with lethal weapons.

The troops fired back and continued firing ceaselessly till their bullets ended, but the people did not leave the battle field.

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When the firing became less intense, the mass people entered into the camp and killed almost all of the occupation troops while few of them could flee.

Pabna was freed from the occupation army on March, 29 for 10 days all because of the heroic role of the people of Pabna who took part in the first resistance fight.

Even before the formation ‘Mukti Bahini’, without any training, people of Pabna dared to fight against the Pakistani occupation army.

However, despite being one of the brightest memories of our glorious liberation war, it is yet to be recognized after 50 years of independence.

The historic old telephone office building, located at Gopalpur area in Pabna town, lies abandoned, decaying with the passage of time.

“Thousands of people from different corners cordoned the telephone exchange office where the occupation troops took shelter. Few of us managed fire arms from Pabna police line. When they started firing, we also retaliated. Besides firing, we also hurled ‘acid bulb’ on them,” said freedom fighter Babi Islam, who was one of the commanders of the fight.

“The occupation troops continuously showered bullets to disperse the people but we were united and nobody left the battle field,” he said.

“When the firing became less intense, the mass people entered the camp risking their own lives with lethal weapons and killed 40 to 43 trained troops in the camp,” he also said.

When the occupation troops reached the district headquarter early on March 25, people became united to resist the force.

Nurul Kader Khan, the then Pabna Deputy Commissioner (DC), organised the young people and provided access to the arsenal of the Pabna Police line to fight the trained troops, Babi added.

Surprisingly, the first battle field of liberation war in Pabna has turned into a haven for the junkies and a trash dump causing woes to the freedom fighters who led the resistance fight.

“The people of Pabna set an example fighting the trained troops. Unfortunately, the heroic fight of the people of Pabna could not be recognised in the last 50 years of independence.” freedom fighter Habibur Rahman Habib said demanding recognition of country’s first resistance fight against the Pakistani troops.

On March 29, in a desperate move, Pakistani force launched an air attack to save rest of their troops but failed, Rabiul Islam Rabi said.

Around five to six people were martyred in the air strike, he said.

“The historic battle field has been lying abandoned for years after years. The sorry state of historic site hurts us. We urge the government to preserve the historic battle field for keeping memory of liberation afresh for the next generation.” Robi added.

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