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Date of Publish: 2017-03-14

ARCHIVAL RECORDS: SITUATION IN ASSAM DURING BANGLADESH LIBERATION WAR IN 1971-PART 4

A NOTE ON THE SITUATION IN ASSAM-BENGAL BORDER IN CONTEXT OF BANGLA DESH MOVEMENT AND CONSEQUENT INFLUX OF EVACUEES ( Note appended with statement made by then Assam Chief Minister Mahendra Mohan Choudhury in the Assam Assembly on October 25, 1971)

Introduction:

From the midnight of March 25th/26th, 1971, the Martial Law Administration let loose a reign of mass-killing and horror in East Bengal and a “civil war” broke out there for the freedom of Bangla Desh. The Bengal elements in the Armed Forces, Police and other services revolted against the Administration and joined hands with the freedom-fighters. An untold story of human miseries soon commenced and streams of evacuees, mostly Hindus and Awami League supporters, who were subjected to butchery, rape and other forms of inhuman atrocities, started pouring in to our territory across all along the border for shelter and relief. All restrictions, hitherto enforced on our border, had to be relaxed on humanitarian considerations and all possible relief rendered to those extremely distressed evacuees from Bangla Desh.

INFILTRATION OF DEPORTEES, PAK SPIES/SABOTEURS, CRIMINALS ETC.

Along with the genuine evacuees, a number of Pak spies/saboteurs, criminals and other undesirable elements also managed to infiltrate into our territory as at the initial stage, when thousands of evacuees were coming everyday crossing the border at different points of their points in an unregulated manner, the then existing machinery was hardly adequate for ensuring any effective/through screening of such elements. A large number of undesirable Pak infiltrators, who were deported from the State during 1962-1970, also re-entered as evacuees and most of them managed to stray into areas where they found friends, relatives, sympathisers and acquaintances having pro-Pak proclivity.

  1. Up till today ( 21st June) a total number of 171 suspected Pak agents/spies have been arrested in different parts of the State.
  2. A total number of 6,569 Pak deportees, who re-entered the State as evacuees, have been deported so far.
  3. On the night of 23rd April, 3 cases of dacoity were commited by Pak criminals at Gauhati and its suburbs. They used vehicular transport in commission of these crimes. Six arrests were made in this connection.
  4. On 13th April serious Hindu-Muslim disturbances took place at Badarpur and infiltration from across the border was suspected in this connection. Some pro-Pak elements tried to escalate the disturbances to other places in Cachar district but strong Police action soon prevented the disturbances from spreading any further.
  5. On 27th April, a group of so-called Bangla Desh volunteers of assaulted a group of Asam Sahitya Sabha delegates at Lumding. This incident resulted in the occurrences of a few incidents of Assamese-Bengali nature at Gauhati. The existence of inspiration from pro-Pak elements behind these incidents was suspected. Due to firm action taken by the Govt. this situation soon returned to normalcy.

ARMED INTRUSION INTO ASSAM

After about a month-long operations since out-break of the civil war, the Pak-troops fanned out to areas bordering the districts of Cachar, United K. & J Hills and Garo Hills and at a later stage Goalpara and Mizo Hills and besides committing butchery, rape, arson and other inhuman atrocities on their side of the border, resorted to the barbarous activities of forcible conversion of Hindus into Islam with enthusiastic support and active participation of fanatic Muslim communal organisations in general and the non-Bengali elements in particular. Having done all these, they started shelling/firing towards our border areas and also from 24th May, 1971, armed intrusion in certain sectors of our territory.

  1. CACHAR BORDER

On 24th May from early in the morning they launched a determined attack on the Sutarkandi-Lakhibazar sector Cachar district concentrating heavy MMG/Mortar fire on our Sutarkandi Border post. Due to irresistible pressure from the invaders the B.S.F., the I.C.P and the Land Custom staffs had to withdraw from there and thus the Pak troops occupied Sutarkandi by about noon wherefrom they further advanced to about one-mile into our territory all along the Sutarkandi-Lakhibazar sector. They occupied Jarapata village temporarily and killed 5 civilians, injured 6 and kidnapped 4 others. The village was deserted and the people rushed to Karimganj for shelter. The B.S.F. was subsequently reinforced and after exchange of fire the Pak intruders retreated and the Sutarkandi border post was recaptured by the B.S.F. at about 4.30 p.m. In course of the fighting, 2 B.S.F jawans were killed and 5 others injured and Police W/TOperator became untraced up till now. While casualties suffered by the Pak invaders are not precisely known one Havildar was captured by our B.S.F. in injured condition.

On the same day (24th May) Pak troops also took positions at Amalshid opposite our Tukergram, Jokiganj opposite to our Karimganj and areas opposite to our Nathanpur in Cachar district. There were heavy firings on their side close to the border as a result of which a state of panic prevailed amongst the people residing in our border areas. ( To be continued)

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