Commemorating Teliapara with a 'Muktijuddha Smriti' Complex | The Daily Star
12:53 PM, December 05, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 08:09 PM, December 02, 2015

Commemorating Teliapara with a 'Muktijuddha Smriti' Complex

The Daily Star

The historic site of Teliapara has long been overlooked, despite its significance in the War of Liberation. It is now being turned into a tourist destination for people to visit and learn the history of what had transpired there during the war that brough

Iqbal Siddiquee

Habiganj's Teliapara Dak Bungalow
Habiganj's Teliapara Dak Bungalow

It was 4th of April 1971 when Bengali army officials had held the first strategic meeting for the liberation war at the Dak Bungalow of Habiganj's Teliapara tea garden. The bungalow had served as a temporary headquarters for sector-2 and 4 commanders from 1st April 1971. According to cited documentation, Colonel MAG Osmani had crossed the border through Teliapara tea garden and had reached Agartala on 1st April for the historic meeting to take place. Brig Pandey, the then director-general of the Eastern command of the Indian Border Security Force (BSF), had also on the same afternoon reached the bungalow to meet with Lt. Com. SM Reza and Maj. Shafayat Zamil. Pandey had brought along information of Col. Osmani's presence in Agartala, while Maj. Zia was at Ramgarh after rebelling against the 8th East Pakistan Regiment. This first meeting had decided of a second one to be held on the 4th of April to discuss how to coordinate the Bengal troops for revolts and how they could be successful in acquiring full Indian BSF assistance. Pandey left by assuring the others of bringing over all the other concerned officers stationed or hiding in India at the time.

The meeting commenced from 10am on 4th April as scheduled. Brig. Pandey had brought along BSF chief Rustamji, Agartala District Magistrate Saigol and Col. Osmani with him for the meeting. Others to attend were - Lt. Col. MA Rab, Maj. Quazi Nuruzzaman, Lt. Col. SM Reza, Maj. Ziaur Rahman, Maj. KM Shafiullah, Maj. Khaled Mosharraf, Maj. Shafayet Jamil, Maj. Mainul Hossain Chowdhury, and Maj. Nurul Islam. The then sub-divisional officer of Brahmanbaria - Quazi Raquib Uddin Ahmed had also attended the crucial meeting where very many important strategic decisions were made to win the war.

Habiganj's Teliapara Muktijoddha Smriti' Complex Monument
Habiganj's Teliapara Muktijoddha Smriti' Complex Monument

The key decisions included to divide Bangladesh into four military zones to tackle the Pakistan Armed Forces. Col. Osmani was entrusted with the task of coordinating factions of the Liberation War forces to resist the Pakistan army. The meeting had also for the first time stressed on the necessity of forming a government body with the people's elected representatives- the ones who had already crossed the border and were in the country. The bungalow was then turned into the first sector command for sector-3 led by Maj. KM Shafiullah. The base was held as the sector command till 21st June 1971 before the stronger Pak force's attacks forced sector-3 to abandon the headquarters.

The whole estate of the Teliapara tea garden is being now, after long overdue time, turned into a tourist destination and a memorial complex for the War of Liberation. Social welfare minister Enamul Haque Mostafa Shahid formally laid the foundation of the complex on 7th May 2011. The Parliamentary chief whip MA Shahid, state minister for Liberation War affairs Cap. (retd.) Tajul Islam, Maj. Gen. (retd.) KM Shafiullah and Muktijoddha Sangsad Chairman Maj. Gen. (retd.) Helal Morshed Khan among many other freedom fighters were present at the ceremony.

The Tk. 12 crores project was inaugurated by Maj. Gen. KM Shafiullah. According to the layout design, the entrance sports a monument of a golden bullet that mention's KM Shafiullah, a former Bangladesh army chief, to have inaugurated the memorial built in the memory of all the freedom fighters of sectors 2, 3, and 4. Pillars to the entrance to the building bear the famous poem 'Shadhinota Tumi' written by the late poet Shamsur Rahman.

The proposed complex is supposed to have an alter with the names of all the martyrs of sectors 3, 4 and 5 inscribed on it, besides the names of the soldiers and war commanders of sector-3. The Dak Bungalow is also supposed to be connected to the Teliapara rail station via a concrete road for ease of access for visitors. The plan also includes building a rest house for visitors and renovating the adjacent lake to the bungalow for tourist recreation in the winter.

Habiganj district Muktijoddha Sangsad Commander Mohammed Ali Pathan expressed the sentiment of the locality by saying that the 'Muktijoddha Complex' was a long standing demand of the people from the district.

This article was previously published on June 04, 2011

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