(Service days pic of Capt. K S Gill)
BANGLADESH LIBERATION WAR-SOME INSIGHTS BY CAPTAIN K.S.GILL
The Bangladesh liberation war– also known as the Bangladesh War of Independence or simply the liberation war in Bangladesh was a revolution and armed conflict sparked by the rise of the Bengali nationalist and self determination movement in what was then East Pakistan during the 1971 Bangladesh genocide.
The war which was the result of the atrocities perpetrated by the dominant West Pakistan Administration upon the locals who were basically Bengali Muslims and Hindus/Jains there.
East and West Pakistan could never bond as a nation due to the compelling facts such as distance about 1000 miles apart, the lifestyle of the Punjabis, Sindhis, Khyber Pakhtunkhaws and Baluchis, race and the language barrier amongst them all.
Although East Pakistan had a large population, West Pakistan dominated the entity though divided and received more money from the common budget. The discrimination accrued despite the fact that East Pakistan generated a major share of Pakistani Exports.
The differences between West Pakistan and East Pakistan outweighed their common features. There was a difference of physical environment. West Pakistan is a country of arid lowlands and high mountains, whereas East Pakistan was well watered and low lying, apart from the small hilly eastern region inland of Chittagong.
The Awami League headed by Sheikh Mujibur Rehman-later known as the father of the new nation i.e Bangladesh, emerged as a single largest party followed by the Pakistan Peoples Party headed by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in West Pakistan. The military Junta stalled in accepting the results, leading to disobedience and turmoil in East Pakistan.
West Pakistan launched operation Searchlight against the people of East Pakistan on the night of 25 March 1971, the Junta annulled the results of the 1970 elections and arrested Prime Minister designate Sheikh Mujibur Rehman of the Awami League and imprisoned him in Lahore West Pakistan.
Pakistan pushed 9 million refugees into India which statistically comes to close to Hitler’s genocide in scale and brutality.
On November 26 1971, India moved into East Pakistan territory. A desperate Pakistan Army retaliated on December 3,1971. India countered the move with Air Force and overwhelmed it. The ultimate war that was for the liberation of Bangladesh lasted 13 days and in history is one of the shortest wars. India forced the Pakistan military of the Eastern Command to surrender on 16 Dec 1971 at Dhaka, making the formation of East Pakistan as the new nation of Bangladesh.
The Indian Eastern Command headed by General Officer Commanding in Chief (GOC in C), Lt General JS Arora PVSM, got the surrender Instrument signed by Pakistani Lt General Amir Abdullah Khan Niazi on 16 December 1971, and a big haul of approximately 93000 to 95000 Pakistani service personnel as war prisoners in East Pakistan.
This surrender was the largest the world had witnessed since the end of World War II.
India treated the war prisoners in accordance to the Geneva Convention rules 1925, but used this issue as a tool to coerce Pakistan into recognizing the sovereignty of Bangladesh.
The release of 93000 Pakistani POWs after the 1971 war was again a big deal. Indian Government headed by Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s biggest worry after the surrender of Pakistan in 1971 was, the safety of Sheikh Mujibur Rehman lodged in Lahore Jail. The release of Pakistani POWs was the price Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (and the ISI) extracted for the safe return of the Bangladeshi leader.
On August 2 1972, eight months, after 13 days ,Indo Pakistan war ended on Dec 16, 1971, the two Countries signed the Shimla Agreement under which India agreed to release all the 93000 Pakistan Prisoners of War (POWs), its army had taken during the course of this war.
This proved to be a controversial decision with many in India questioning why PM Mrs. Indira Gandhi had squandered a golden opportunity to bargain with Pakistan and settle the Kashmir problem on Indian terms.’
What motivated Mrs. Indira Gandhi to release the POWs – what went on behind the scenes?-Were there any compelling circumstances at play? And why such things remained unreported? This can only be speculated. Ideally this is a matter of food for thought.
My memoirs when I was awarded by General Officer Commanding in Chief (GOC in C), Lt General JS Arora PVSM:
I am sharing pictures of my nostalgic memories when Late Lt Gen JS Arora PVSM honored me for being THE BEST BODY BUILDER at my Alma Mater.
This function ws presided over by the General as Chief Guest at Rama Krishna Mission Narendrapur Kolkatta where I studied in 1971 after the Bangladesh war ended.
Note : The views are purely of the blogger’s own.The pics reproduced here have been received from him.
Captain K S Gill, after his stint with Army, he joined a Bank and retired as it’s Chief Security Manager.
Mr. Gill is also accredited with saving lives of many of his bank staff’s life and limb in Punjab, when unfortunate terrorism was at peak in 1980s. With his acuumenship and grit, he moved fearlessely in Punjab’s most disturbed belt in official jeep without caring for the consequences.His motivation persuaded the youth to release staff in hostage then without any ransom and harm to anyone.
He also remained the best security Incharge of Bank’s Punjab Zone and is now living happily with his family and can be contacted @
|Kulwant Singh <firstname.lastname@example.org>|