The Mukti Bahini (Bengali: মুক্তি বাহিনী, translates as 'freedom fighters', or liberation army), also known as the Bangladesh Forces, was the guerrilla resistance movement formed by the Bangladeshi military, paramilitary and civilians during the War of Liberation that transformed East Pakistan into Bangladesh in 1971. An earlier name Mukti Fauj was also used.
On 25 March 1971 Sheikh Mujibur Rahman issued a call to the people of East Pakistan to prepare themselves for an all-out struggle. Later that evening resistance demonstrations began, and the military began a full-scale retaliation with Operation Searchlight, which continued through May 1971.
A formal military leadership of the resistance was created in April 1971 under the Provisional Government of Bangladesh. The military council was headed by General M. A. G. Osmani and eleven sector commanders. The Bangladesh Armed Forces were established on 4 April 1971. In addition to regular units, such as the East Bengal Regiment and the East Pakistan Rifles, the Mukti Bahini also consisted of the civilian Gonobahini (People's Force). The most prominent divisions of the Mukti Bahini were the Z Force led by Major Ziaur Rahman, the K Force led by Major Khaled Mosharraf and the S Force led by Major K M Shafiullah. Awami League student leaders formed militia units, including the Mujib Bahini, the Kader Bahini and Hemayet Bahini. The Communist Party of Bangladesh, led by Comrade Moni Singh, and activists from the National Awami Party also operated several guerrilla battalions.
Using guerrilla warfare tactics, the Mukti Bahini secured control over large parts of the Bengali countryside. It conducted successful "ambush and sabotage" campaigns, and included the nascent Bangladesh Air Force and the Bangladesh Navy. The Mukti Bahini received training and weapons from India, where people in the eastern and northeastern states share a common Bengali ethnic and linguistic heritage with East Pakistan.
During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, the Mukti Bahini became part of the Bangladesh-India Allied Forces. It was instrumental in securing the Surrender of Pakistan and the liberation of Dacca and other cities in December 1971.
মুক্তিবাহিনী (Freedom Fighters)Participant in Bangladeshi War of Independence
The de facto emblem of the Mukti Bahini
|Active||March – December 1971|
|Ideology||Bengali nationalism |
Resistance to the 1971 Bangladesh genocide
|Group(s)||Bangladesh Army |
∟ K Force
∟ S Force
∟ Z Force
Bangladesh Air Force
Special Guerrilla Forces
∟ Gono Bahini
∟ Mujib Bahini
∟ Kader Bahini
∟ Hemayet Bahini
∟ Afsar Bahini
|Leaders||M. A. G. Osmani, Commander-in-Chief|
M. A. Rab, Chief of Staff
A K Khandker, Deputy Chief of Staff
|Area of operations||East Pakistan|
|Part of||Provisional Government of Bangladesh|
|Became||Bangladesh Armed Forces|
|Battles and war(s)||Battle of Gazipur, Battle of Goalhati, Battle of Garibpur, Battle of Dhalai, Battle of Rangamati, Battle of Kushtia, Battle of Daruin, Operation Barisal, Operation Jackpot|
|De facto ceremonial flag|
The "Mukti Bahini" was divided into two groups; the "Niomito Bahini" – or "regular forces" – who came from the paramilitary, military and police forces of East Pakistan, and the Gonnobahini – or "people's forces" – who were civilians. These names were given and defined by the Government of Bangladesh. The Indians referred to the Niomito Bahini as "Mukti Fauj", and the Gonnobahini were called "freedom fighters".
East Pakistan campaigned against the usage of Urdu as the sole official language of Pakistan. The Awami League had won the majority in the 1970 Pakistan election. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, as the leader of the Awami League, was prevented from forming a government. Bengali was the only language in Pakistan not written in the Persian-Arabic script. The administrative change that merged the administrative provinces of West Pakistan into one "unit" caused great suspicion in East Pakistan. Pakistan's unwillingness to give autonomy to East Bengal and Bengali nationalism are both cited as reasons for the separation. The 1970 Bhola Cyclone had caused the death of 500,000 people while the infrastructure, transport and other services were severely damaged.The central government of Pakistan was blamed for the slow response and misuse of funds. It created resentment in the population of East Pakistan. The resentment allowed Awami League to win 160 of the 162 parliamentary seats allocated to East Pakistan which made Awami League the majority party in the 300 seat parliament of Pakistan. After 1971 elections, Yahya Khan hoped for a power sharing agreement between Mujib and Bhutto, though talks between them did not result in a solution. Mujib wanted full autonomy, Bhutto advised Yahya to break off talks. In March, General Yahya Khan suspended the National Assembly of Pakistan.
On 7 March 1971, Sheikh Mujib made his now famous speech in Ramna Race course (Suhrawardy Udyan) where he declared "The struggle this time is for our freedom. The struggle this time is for our independence". East Pakistan television broadcasters started broadcasting Rabindranath songs, a taboo in Pakistan, while reducing the air-time of shows from West Pakistan. Civilian interaction with the Pakistan Army were decreased and they were increasingly seen as an occupying force, while local contractors stopped providing supplies to the Pakistan Army. The Pakistan Army also tried to disarm and dismiss personnel of Bengali origin in the East Pakistan Rifles, the police and the regular army. The Bengali officers mutinied against the Pakistan Army, and attacked officers from West Pakistan. The Pakistan Army's crackdown on the civilian population had contributed to the revolt of East Pakistani soldiers. The East Pakistani soldiers moved to India and formed the main body of Mukti Bahini. Sheikh Mujib on 26 March 1971 declared the independence of Bangladesh, while Pakistan's president Yahya Khan declared Mujib a traitor during a national broadcast on the same day. The Pakistan Army moved infantry and armoured units to East Pakistan in preparation for the coming conflicts.
On 25 March, martial law was declared, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was arrested and Operation Searchlight started in East Pakistan. Foreign journalists were expelled and the Awami League was banned. Members of the Awami league, the East Pakistan Rifles, the East Bengal Regiment and others thought to be disloyal to Pakistan were attacked by the Pakistan army. The survivors of the attack would form the backbone of the Mukti Bahini. When the Pakistan Army started the military crackdown on the Bengali population, they did not expect prolonged resistance. Five battalions of the East Bengal Regiment mutinied and initiated the war for liberation of Bangladesh.
On 27 March, Major Ziaur Rahman declared Bangladesh's independence from Pakistan and fought his way out of Chittagong City with his unit of Bengali soldiers. The East Pakistan Rifles and the East Pakistan Police suffered heavy casualties while challenging the Pakistan Army in Dhaka, where West Pakistani forces began the 1971 Bangladesh genocide with the massacre at Dhaka University. Civilians took control of arms depots in various cities and began resisting Pakistani forces with the acquired weapons supply. Chittagong experienced heavy fighting between rebel Bengali military units and Pakistani forces. The Bangladeshi Declaration of Independence was broadcast from Kalurghat Radio Station in Chittagong by Major Rahman on behalf of Sheikh Rahman.
Bengali forces took control of numerous districts in the initial months of the war, including Brahmanbaria, Faridpur, Barisal, Mymensingh, Comilla and Kushtia among others. With the support of the local population, many towns remained under the control of Bengali forces until April and May 1971. Notable engagements during this period included the Battle of Kamalpur, the Battle of Daruin and the Battle of Rangamati-Mahalchari waterway in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
During May, Foreign Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto asked General Yahya Khan to hand over power in West Pakistan to his party. Khan refused on the grounds that doing so would support the view of Mukti Bahini and the Provisional Government of Bangladesh that East Pakistan was a colony of West Pakistan. Tensions were raised when Bhutto told his followers that "by November [he] would either be in power or in jail".
The Mukti Bahini divided the war zone into eleven sectors. The war strategy included a huge guerrilla force operating inside Bangladesh that targeted Pakistani installations through raids, ambushes and sabotaging West Pakistani-controlled shipping ports, power plants, industries, railways and warehouses. The wide dispersion of West Pakistani forces allowed Bengali guerrillas to target smaller groups of enemy soldiers. Groups ranging in size from five to ten guerrillas were assigned specific missions. Bridges, culverts, fuel depots and ships were destroyed to decrease the mobility of the Pakistan Army. However, the Mukti Bahini failed in its Monsoon Offensive after Pakistani reinforcements successfully countered Bengali engagements. Attacks on border outposts in Sylhet, Comilla and Mymensingh had limited success. The training period slowed the momentum of the Bangladesh Forces, which began to pick up after August. After the monsoon, the Mukti Bahini became more effective while the Indian army created a number of bases inside East Pakistan for the Mukti Bahini. The railways in East Pakistan were almost completely shut down due to the Mukti Bahini's sabotage. The provincial capital, Dhaka, had become a ghost town with gun-fire and explosions heard throughout the day.
After a visit to East Pakistan refugee camps in India in August 1971, US Senator Ted Kennedy believed that Pakistan was committing a genocide. Golam Azam called for Pakistan to attack India and to annexe Assam in retaliation for India providing help to the Mukti Bahini. Azam accused India of shelling East Pakistani border areas on a daily basis. Oxfam predicted the deaths of over one hundred thousand children in refugee camps and that more could die from food shortages in East Pakistan because of the conflict.
Regular Mukti Bahini battalions were formed in September 1971, increasing the effectiveness of the Mukti Bahini. Sabotage and ambush missions continued to be carried out, demoralising the Pakistan army.
In October, conventional Bangladesh Forces mounted various successful offensives, capturing 90 of the 300 border outposts. The Mukti Bahini intensified guerrilla attacks inside Bangladesh while Pakistan increased reprisals on Bengali civilians, though the movement of Mukti Bahini into, out of, and inside East Pakistan became easier and more common.
In November, Indian involvement increased, with the Indian artillery and Indian Air force providing direct cover for the Mukti Bahini in some offensives. Attacks on infrastructure and the increase in the reach of the provisional government weakened the control of the Pakistan government.
The Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) was established on 28 September 1971 under the command of Air Commodore A. K. Khandker. It initially operated from a jungle airstrip near Dimapur in Nagaland, India. When taking over liberated territories, the Bangladesh Forces gained control of World War II airstrips in Lalmonirhat, Shalutikar, Sylhet and Comilla in November and December. The BAF launched "Kilo Flights" under the command of Squadron Leader Sultan Mahmud on 3 December 1971. Sorties by Otter DHC-3 aircraft destroyed Pakistani fuel supplies in Narayanganj and Chittagong where targets included the Burmah Oil Refinery, numerous ships and oil depots.
The Bangladesh naval forces took shape in July. Operation Jackpot was launched by the Bangladesh Forces on 15 August 1971. Bangladesh Navy commandos sunk vessels of the Pakistan Navy in Mongla, Chittagong, Chandpur and Narayanganj. The operation was a major propaganda success for Bangladeshi forces, as it exposed to the international community the fragile hold of the West Pakistani occupation. The Bangladesh Navy commandos targeted patrol craft and ships carrying ammunition and commodities. With Indian aid, the Mukti Bahini acquired two vessels, the Padma and Palash, which were retrofitted into gunboats with mine-laying capabilities. The boat crews extensively mined the Passur River in the Sundarbans, reducing the ability of Pakistani forces to operate from the Port of Mongla but were mistakenly bombed by Indian Air Force troops that resulted in the loss of both vessels and some of the lives of the Mukti Bahini and Indian personnel on board. The developing Bangladesh Navy carried out attacks on ships and used sea mines to prevent supply ships from docking in East Pakistani ports. Frogmen were deployed to damage and sabotage ships.
M. A. G. Osmani, a Bengali veteran of the British Raj forces in World War II and the Pakistan army, established the Bangladesh Armed Forces on 4 April 1971. The Provisional Government of Bangladesh placed all Bangladeshi forces under the command of Osmani, who was appointed as the defence minister with the rank of Commander-in-Chief as a four star general. Osmani designated the composition of the Mukti Bahini into several divisions. It included the regular armed forces which covered the Army, Navy and Air Forces; as well as special brigades including the Z Force. Paramilitary forces, including the East Pakistan Rifles and police, were designated as the Niyomito Bahini (Regular Forces). They were divided between forward battalions and sector troops. Another civilian force was raised and known as the Gonobahini (People's Forces) consisting of lightly trained civilian brigades under military command; the Gonobahini also consisted of battalions created by political activists from the pro-Western Awami League, the pro-Chinese and socialist National Awami Party, led by Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani, and the pro-Soviet Communist Party of East Pakistan.
The guerrilla movement was composed of three wings: well-armed Action Groups which took part in frontal attacks; military intelligence units; and guerrilla bases. The first conference of sector commanders was held during July 1971, starting on 11 July and ending 17 July. Prominent sector commanders included defector officers from the Pakistan Armed Forces, including Major Ziaur Rahman, Major Khaled Mosharraf, Major K M Shafiullah, Captain A. N. M. Nuruzzaman, Major Chitta Ranjan Dutta, Wing Commander M Khademul Bashar, Major Nazmul Huq, Major Quazi Nuruzzaman, Major Abu Osman Chowdhury, Major Abul Manzoor, Major M. A. Jalil, Major Abu Taher and Squadron Leader M. Hamidullah Khan. The Mujib Bahini was led by Awami League youth leaders Sheikh Fazlul Huq Moni, Tofael Ahmed and Abdur Razzak. An Australian war veteran, William A. S. Ouderland, organised guerrilla warfare in Dacca and provided vital intelligence to the Bangladesh Forces. He was awarded the Bir Protik for his actions by the government of Bangladesh. Left-wing politicians Kader Siddique, Hemayet Uddin and Moni Singh created several guerrilla units. Kader Siddique operated in the Tangail District. Hemayet was a former soldier in East Pakistan and his Bahini was raised almost entirely on local supplies. Moni Singh was a communist leader in East Pakistan.
The Independent Bangladesh Radio Station was one of the cultural wings of the Mukti Bahini. The Bangladesh liberation movement released five prominent propaganda posters which promoted the independence struggle – irrespective of religious affiliations and gender. One of the posters famously portrayed Pakistan's military ruler, Yahya Khan, as a demon. The Mukti Bahini operated field hospitals, wireless stations, training camps and prisons.
The Mukti Bahini benefited from the early control of Pakistani arms depots, which were overtaken by Bengali forces during March and April 1971. The Mukti Bahini purchased large quantities of military-grade equipment through the arms market in Calcutta, including Italian howitzers, Alouette III helicopters, "Dakota" DC-3 aircraft and "Otter" DHC-3 fighter planes. The Mukti Bahini also received a limited supply of equipment from the Indian military, as New Delhi allowed the Bangladeshi forces to operate an independent weapons supply through Calcutta Port. The Mukti Bahini used Sten Guns, Lee–Enfield rifles and Indian-made hand grenades.
The launch of Operation Chengiz Khan by West Pakistan on North India finally drew India into the Bangladesh conflict and a joint command structure was established between the Bangladeshi and Indian forces. Three corps of the Indian Armed Forces were supported by three brigades of the Mukti Bahini and the Bengali guerrilla army. The Mukti Bahini and its supporters guided the Indian army and provided them with information about Pakistani troop movements. The Indian and Mukti Bahini greatly outnumbered the three Pakistani army divisions of East Pakistan. The Battle of Sylhet, the Battle of Garibpur, the Battle of Boyra, the Battle of Hilli and the Battle of Kushtia were major joint engagements for the Bangladeshi and Indian forces, who swiftly captured surrounding land by selectively engaging or bypassing heavily defended strongholds. For example, the Meghna Heli Bridge airlifted Bangladeshi and Indian forces from Brahmanbaria to Narsingdi over Pakistani defences in Ashuganj. The cities of Jessore, Mymensingh, Sylhet, Kushtia, Noakhali and Maulvi Bazar quickly fell to the Mukti Bahini-Indian joint forces. In Dhaka, the Pakistan Army and its supporting militias began the mass murder of Bengali intellectuals and professionals in a final attempt to eliminate the Bengali intelligentsia. Both the Mukti-Bahini-Indian forces, the Pakistani Army and its allies were accused of looting, rape and violence on the civilian population belonging to their respective opponents. The Mukti Bahini liberated most of the Dhaka District by mid-December. In Western Pakistan, Indian forces advanced deep into Pakistani territory as the Port of Karachi was subjected to a naval blockade by the Indian Navy. Pakistani generals surrendered to the Mukti Bahini-Indian forces in Dhaka on 16 December 1971.
Ten million Bengali refugees fled into neighbouring India because of famine and ravages of the Pakistan army, where the regions of West Bengal, Tripura and the Barak Valley shared strong ethnic, linguistic and cultural links with East Pakistan. The war sparked an unprecedented level of unity in the Bengali-speaking world. There was strong support for Bengalis and Mukti Bahini from the Indian media and public. India feared that if the movement for Bangladesh came to be dominated by communists then it would adversely affect its own fight with the left-wing Naxalites. It also did not want the millions of refugees to be permanently stranded in India.
Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, authorised diplomatic, economic and military support to the Bangladesh Forces in April 1971. The Provisional Government of Bangladesh established its secretariat in exile in Calcutta. The Indian Armed Forces provided substantial training and the use of its bases for the Bangladesh Forces. The Bangladesh liberation guerrillas operated training camps in the Indian states of Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Tripura and West Bengal. Mukti Bahini were allowed by India to cross the border at will.
Some Mukti Bahini, especially those who served in the security services of Pakistan, were suspicious of Indian involvement and wished to minimise its role. They also resented the formation of the Mujib Bahini by India which was composed of Sheikh Mujib-loyalists but was not under the command of Mukti Bahini or the provisional government of Bangladesh.
On 6 December 1971, India officially recognised Bangladesh as an independent country only hours after Bhutan did the same.
The genocide by Pakistani forces caused widespread international outrage against West Pakistan. In the United States, Democratic senator Ted Kennedy led a chorus of strong domestic criticism against the Nixon administration for ignoring the genocide of Bengalis in East Pakistan.
The Mukti Bahini enjoyed significant international public support. The Bangladeshi provisional government considered setting up an "International Brigade" with European and North American students. French Minister of Cultural Affairs André Malraux vowed to fight on the battlefield alongside the Bangladesh Forces.
The Soviet Union threw its weight behind the Bangladesh Forces and India after being convinced of Pakistan's unwillingness for a political solution. Separately, US efforts to woo China through Pakistan led to India signing a friendship treaty with Moscow in August 1971. India increased support to Mukti Bahini after the signing of the treaty. For India, the treaty was an important insurance policy against a possible Chinese intervention on the side of Pakistan. China had fought a brief war with India in 1962. Both the US and China, however, ultimately failed to mobilise adequate support for Pakistan.
Bir Sreshtho (The Most Valiant Hero) is the highest military honour in Bangladesh and was awarded to seven Mukti Bahini fighters. They were Ruhul Amin, Mohiuddin Jahangir, Mostafa Kamal, Hamidur Rahman, Munshi Abdur Rouf, Nur Mohammad Sheikh and Matiur Rahman.
Women had served in the Mukti Bahini during the Bangladesh Liberation War. The Mukti Bahini trained several female battalions for guerrilla warfare. Taramon Bibi is one of the two female wars heroes of the Bangladesh Liberation War. Captain Sitara Begum is noted for setting up field hospitals for injured Mukti Bahini fighters. Professor Nazma Shaheen, University of Dhaka, and her sister were female members in the Mukti Bahini.
The Mukti Bahini was succeeded by the Bangladesh Armed Forces, the Bangladesh Rifles and the Bangladesh Police. Civilian fighters were provided with numerous privileges, including reservations in government jobs and universities. The Bangladesh Freedom Fighters Assembly was formed to represent former guerrillas. Bangladesh Liberation War ministry is responsible for looking after the welfare of Mukti Bahini members. The widespread availability of arms created serious law and order concerns for the Bangladesh government after the war. A few militia units are alleged to have taken part in reprisal attacks against the Urdu-speaking population following the Pakistani surrender.
On 28 February 1973 the government of Bangladesh enacted the National Liberation Struggle (Indemnity) Order to provide indemnity "to those persons in respect of acts done in connection with the national liberation struggle, the maintenance or restoration of order" which was to be enforced retrospectively from 26 March 1972.
The Mukti Bahini has been accused of killing and raping Bihari citizens of East Pakistan who supported the Pakistan army. After the Liberation War of Bangladesh ended, many people who had been denied repatriation to Pakistan were forcefully relocated to refugee camps, were referred to as Stranded Pakistanis and denied citizenship of Bangladesh.
The Mukti Bahini has been the subject of numerous artwork, literature, films and television productions.
Although India portrayed itself at that time as neutral, the Indian government in fact nurtured the Bangladeshi Mukti Bahini (liberation army) guerrillas and the Awami League. India supplied them with arms, ammunition, and logistical support, and permitted them to recruit and train volunteers, most of the refugees, on Indian soil.
Afsar Bahini (also known as Afsar Battalion) was a sub group within Mukti Bahini during the Bangladesh Liberation War. Major Afsaruddin Ahmed organized independence fighters in Mymensingh to form this battalion. This battalion collected arms from the Pakistan army and developed liberated area in the region. Major Afsaruddin Ahmed was the Chief of Command of this group.Bir Bikrom
Bir Bikrom (Bengali: বীর বিক্রম; literally, "Valiant hero" in Bengali) is the third highest gallantry award in Bangladesh. Like the other gallantry awards, this was introduced immediately after the Bangladeshi Liberation War. Bir Bikrom was awarded to 175 fighters.Bir Protik
Bir Protik (Bengali: বীর প্রতীক Bīr Pratīk, "Symbol of Bravery or Idol of Courage") is the fourth highest gallantry award in Bangladesh.Crack Platoon
Crack Platoon or Dhaka Crack Platoon was a special commando team of the Mukti Bahini which was formed in 1971 during the Bangladesh Liberation War. It was a suicide squad formed by young members of Mukti Bahini which carried out commando operations in Dhaka and its surroundings. The commandos were mostly students and civilians, received guerrilla training later in the training camps for Mukti Bahini in India and then engaged in battle against Pakistan Army.Gonobahini (Mukti Bahini)
Gono Bahini (Bengali: গণবাহিনী" People's Army") were a component of the Mukti Bahini, the guerilla force which fought against the Pakistan Army during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. The Gono Bahini was composed exclusively of civilians.Hamidur Rahman
Hamidur Rahman (2 February 1953 – 28 October 1971) was a sepoy in Bangladesh Army during the Bangladesh Liberation War. Rahman was killed on 28 October 1971 at Dhalai, Sylhet during an attempt to capture the Pakistani Army's position. The advancing Mukti Bahini column finally captured the Dhalai Border Outpost due in large part to his efforts. He was posthumously awarded the Bir Sreshtho, the highest recognition of bravery in Bangladesh.Kader Bahini
Kader Bahini (Force of Kader) was a guerrilla independence militia during the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971. It was named after its leader, Kader Siddique.
The militia operated against the Pakistan Army in Tangail zone. It comprise an estimated 50,000 civilians. Siddique was wounded at the Makrar battle near Balla village. Kader Bahini is notable for the capture of a Pakistani ship with large quantities of arms and ammunition at Bhuapur. They also captured several armored cars along with bulletproof carriers.Kazi Nuruzzaman
Kazi Nuruzzaman Bir Uttom (24 March 1925 – 6 May 2011) was a Bangladeshi war hero and secular nationalist, who served as one of the principal commanders of the Mukti Bahini during the Bangladesh Liberation War.Military plans of the Bangladesh Liberation War
Prior to Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, India had no plans for large scale military action in East Pakistan. Since the Sino-Indian War of 1962, the primary objective of the Indian Army Eastern Command was the defence of the Indian northern and eastern borders, defending the "Shiliguri Corridor, and on combating insurgencies raging in Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur and the Naxalites in West Bengal.
Since 1948 bulk of the Pakistani armed forces were stationed in West Pakistan and the strategic role of the forces in East Pakistan was to hold out until Pakistan defeated India in the west. The Pakistan Army Eastern Command had planned to defend Dhaka until the last by ultimately concentrating their forces along the "Dhaka Bowl", the area surrounded by the rivers Jamuna, Padma and Meghna.Mitro Bahini Order of Battle December 1971
The Indian Army had no standby force ready in 1971 with the specific task of attacking West Pakistan, one of the many reasons why India did not immediately intervene after Pakistan launched Operation Searchlight in March 1971. Indian Army Eastern Command was tasked with defending the northern and eastern borders and fighting the insurgencies in Nagaland, Mizoram and Naxalites in West Bengal at that time. Mukti Bahini, aided by the Indian army through Operation Jackpot, led the struggle against the Pakistan army while the Indian army readied for intervention. General M. A. G. Osmani, Commander in Chief Bangladesh Forces, had divided Mukti Bahini forces into 11 geographical sectors for command and control purpose. Mukti Bahini forces numbered 30,000 regular soldiers (including 3 brigades containing 8 infantry battalions and 3 artillery batteries) and at least 100,000 guerrillas by December 1971. The Indian Army Eastern Command assembled two existing infantry corps, the IVth and the XXXIIIrd, for operations in Bangladesh, and created a new corps (II) besides reorganising the 101st Communication Zone as a combat formation. On 21 November 1971, Indian and Bangladesh forces were put under a joint command structure, led by Lt. Gen. Jagjit Singh Aurora, and this force came to be known as Mitro Bahini. In addition to 29 BSF battalions, Mukti Bahini guerrillas operating near the border or awaiting deployment in camps inside India were organised into infantry companies and attached to various Indian formations.Mohammad Abdul Jalil
Mohammad Abdul Jalil ( M. A. Jalil) was a freedom fighter and Sector Commander of the Sector 9 of Mukti Bahini during Bangladesh liberation war in 1971. He was also one of the founding member of political party Jatiyo Samajtantrik Dal.Mohammad Abdul Monjur
Mohammad Abul Monjur, Bir Uttom (1940 - 2 June 1981) was a Bangladesh army general who was a war hero as a freedom fighter and Sector Commander of Mukti Bahini Sector 8 during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. His connection to the murder of President Zia through leading the Coupe is not a proved fact. He was killed shortly after while being captured. About a year later, the military took over the government in a bloodless coup, holding power until 1990.
Monjur had been awarded valor under fire Bir Uttam by the Bangladeshi Government for his bravery in the liberation war. Monjur was appointed as the youngest divisional commander of Bangladesh Army, GOC (General Officer Commanding) of 24th Infantry Division headquartered at Chittagong. His surviving wife and four children were given political asylum in the United States.Mohammad Ruhul Amin
Ruhul Amin (Bengali: রুহুল আমিন), better known as Shaheed Mohammad Ruhul Amin (born 1935), was an engine room artificer in the Bangladesh Navy who was posthumously awarded the nation's highest bravery award, Bir Sreshtho, for his service during the Liberation War.Mohiuddin Jahangir
Captain Mohiuddin Jahangir (Bengali: মহিউদ্দীন জাহাঙ্গীর) was an officer in the Pakistan Army and joined the Mukti Bahini during the 1971 Liberation War. He was born on 7 March 1949 in the village of Rahimgonj under Babugonj Upazila of Barisal district. He was an officer in Sector 7 of the Muktibahini. He was killed in an attempt to break through enemy defences on the bank of the Mahananda River. His initiative seriously undermined the Pakistani Army's resistance in the area; eventually the Muktibahini overcame and took the position from the Pakistan army. The main gate of Dhaka Cantonment, "Shaheed Jahangir Gate", is named in his honour.
He was awarded the highest recognition of bravery in Bangladesh, Bir Sreshtho.Mostafa Kamal (Bir Sreshtho)
Muhammad Mustafa (Bengali: মুহাম্মদ মুস্তফা), better known as Shaheed Sipahi Muhammad Mustafa was a sepoy in the Bangladesh Army during the Liberation War. He was born on 16 December 1947 in Hajipur village of Daulatikhan upazila under Bhola district. His father, Habibur Rahman was a Havilder. On 18 April 1971, Muhammad Mustafa was killed in a defensive battle against the occupying Pakistan Army in Daruin village of Brahmanbaria. His actions inflicted heavy casualties on his enemy troops. He was awarded the highest recognition of bravery of Bangladesh, Bir Sreshtho.Munshi Abdur Rouf
Munshi Abdur Rouf (Bengali: মুন্সী আবদুর রউফ; 8 May 1943 – 8 April 1971) was a Lance Nayek in the East Pakistan Rifles during the Bangladesh Liberation War. He enlisted in the East Pakistan Rifles on 8 May 1963, and was attached with a regular infantry unit during the War of Liberation. Rouf died on 8 April 1971 at Burighat in Chittagong Hill Tracts after causing extensive damage to the Pakistani Army with his machine gun and forcing them to retreat. He was buried at Naniarchor Upazila in Rangamati District.He was awarded Bir Sreshtho, which is the highest recognition of bravery in Bangladesh.Operation Jackpot
The Operation Jackpot was a codename for a collection of simultaneous insurgent attacks by the Bengali Mukti Bahini operating under the Eastern Command of the Indian Army in East-Pakistan against the Federation of Pakistan during the climax of the Bangladesh Liberation War.
The Mukti Bahini launched several of their sabotage efforts in the cities of Chittagong, Chandpur, Mongla, and the Narayanganj District against the operating combined forces of the Pakistan Soldiers, Pakistan Marines, Pakistan Navy SEAL Teams, and the East Pakistan Security Forces from 25 April until 15 August of 1971. Infrastructure damages and insurgents attacks on government installations mainly took place in the Chittagong, Chandpur, Mongla and Naryanganj on 15 August followed by the unsuccessful serious attempt to overtaking of the submarine, PNS Mangro, in the French city of Toulon.Despite being well planned and organized under the Indian Army, the Bengali insurgents failed to their objectives of sabotaging the massive civilian infrastructure due to the Pakistani military countermeasures to improve security by increasing the door-to-door clearance and the applied counterinsurgency tactics by the Army Special Forces and the Navy SEAL Teams.On 21 November 1971, the IV Corps attached to the Eastern Command of the Indian Army eventually moved towards seizing the strategic positions on the Indo-East Pakistan border, and eventually crossed the border when the India's official engagement with Pakistan began on 3 December 1971.Pakistan Army order of battle, December 1971
On 25 March 1971, the Pakistani military, supported by the paramilitary units, launched the military operation to pacify the insurgent-held areas of East Pakistan, which led to a prolonged conflict with the Bengali Mukti Bahini. Although conventional in nature during March–May 1971, it soon turned into a guerrilla insurgency from June of that year. Indian Army had not directly supported the Bengali resistance but had launched Operation Jackpot to support the insurgency from May 1971.
The initial deployments of the Pakistan armed forces were to combat and contain the activities of the Mukti Bahini. This was changed over time and by December 1971, 3 Infantry and 2 ad hoc divisions were deployed to face the Mitro Bahini.Sheikh Kamal
Sheikh Kamal (5 August 1949 – 15 August 1975) was the eldest son of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, former President of Bangladesh.
§ indicates events in the internal resistance movement linked to the Indo-Pakistani War.
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