‘An effective guerilla force’
October 17, 1971
GLOWING TRIBUTE FOR FREEDOM FIGHTERS
The New York Times today reported, "From a disorganized, confused band of freedom fighters that moved into action when the Pakistani Army struck in late March to try to crush the Bengali autonomy movement, the Mukti Bahini has become, if not a well-oiled fighting machine, at least a reasonably coordinated and more than reasonably effective guerrilla force."
Quoting a foreign diplomat, the newspaper said, "If the Vietcong had been doing this well after six months, they would have considered it a remarkably good start."
"India has helped with arms training and sanctuary, and clearly, without the Indian aid, the level of insurgent activity could never have reached its present pit. But the men and the motivation are East Pakistani, and, even if they were on their own, it is doubtful whether the Bengali resistance could be totally crushed by the troops from West Pakistan," added the New York Times.
'THE STRUGGLE IS NOT AGAINST MUSLIMS'
M Hossain Ali, Head of Bangladesh Mission in India, today reiterated that the Liberation War was not against Muslims or any particular community as propagated by the Pakistan Government but the fight was against those who had created hindrances in the way to Bangladesh's independence. He was speaking at an anti-communal convention.
Hossain Ali expressed satisfaction over the support Biharis had extended to the Bangladesh Liberation War and expressed the hope that it would continue in the future also.
ON THE WAR FRONT
In the Rangpur-Dinajpur-Rajshahi sector, Mukti Bahini raided enemy position in Ampara area and inflicted 30 casualties on them. At night a group of Freedom Fighters raided Pakistani troops near Raigang killing 17 and injuring 15 enemy soldiers. On the same day, 10 Razakars surrendered to Mukti Bahini with their arms near Dinajpur.
In another operation, Mukti Bahini today killed 2 enemy soldiers near Kurigram while they ambushed the enemy. Mukti Bahini removed railway track between Kurigram and Ulipur disrupting train communication. On the same day, Mukti Bahini blew up a Pakistani truck carrying jute on Dinajpur-Sayedpur road.
In Fulgazi area of Noakhali district, Mukti Bahini ambushed Pakistani troops killing 2 and injuring 4 enemy soldiers.
Mukti Bahini today destroyed two power pylons between Sylhet and Chatak disrupting electric supply. On the same day they engaged Pakistani troops in Phulpur area and killed 4 enemy soldiers.
Martin Woollacott, in a dispatch from Dhaka to the Guardian on October 17, 1971, writes: "New guerrilla groups infiltrated into the Dacca area in the past three weeks have begun a vigorous offensive, disrupting the calm which followed the bombing of the Intercontinental Hotel early in September. The new groups tried to shell Dacca airport, At Dacca satellite port they exploded bulk gas pipes and burnt a huge quantity of jute awaiting shipment. As part of their campaign to close educational institutions, they bombed the university medical school after warning students to leave."
Shamsuddoza Sajen is a journalist and researcher. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org