Bangladesh will celebrate its 50th Victory Day on December 16 (Thursday) with a renewed pledge to resist the anti-liberation forces, terrorism and fundamentalism, and to build Bangladesh on the spirit of Liberation War.
On December 16 in 1971, the Pakistani marauding forces surrendered, following a reign of terror and anarchy unleashed by them for nine months. The surrender resulted in the emergence of free, independent and sovereign Bangladesh.
Different political parties, socio cultural organisations and educational institutions will also observe the day with elaborate programmes to pay deep homage to the martyrs who laid down their lives to free the country from Pakistani clutches.
Independence of Bangladesh was achieved on December 16, 1971 through supreme sacrifices of countless freedom fighters. The independence was opposed tooth and nail by pro-Pakistani forces including Jamaat that was the largest, most organized and most active among all the militant Islamic groups that collaborated with the occupation forces. Peace Committee and its three wings -- Razakar, al-Badar and al-Shams -- formed as militia by the Jamaat had perpetrated inhuman brutalities on the freedom fighters.
Pakistani occupation committed the most horrendous and heinous crimes that left over three million people killed and over a quarter million women sexually assaulted resulting in birth of more than 40,000 war babies, let alone the planned elimination of the best Bengali brains of the soil on December 14, 1971, the day known as Martyred Intellectuals Day.
On March 25, 1971, the genocide was launched by the marauding Pakistani forces to crush the liberation war under 'Operation Searchlight'. The University of Dhaka was attacked and a large number of students were killed. Death squads roamed the streets of Dhaka, killing some 7,000 people in a single night. Within a week, half the population of Dhaka had fled, and at least 30,000 people had been killed, say thousands of historic reports.
Narrating the atrocities by the Pakistani forces in Dhaka University, US Consulate in Dhaka on March 31, 1971 reported that naked female bodies in Rokeya Hall of Dhaka University were found "hanging from ceiling fans with bits of rope," after being "raped, shot, and hung by heels" from the fans.
"Here in Dacca we are mute and horrified," wrote Archer Blood, the then American Consular General and a witness to the reign of terror let loose by the Pakistani military with the help of local collaborators. In a telegram to different American consulate offices and embassies around the world on March 27, 1971, Blood said, "Evidence continues to mount that the Martial Law authorities of Pakistan have list of Awami League supporters whom they are systematically eliminating by seeking them out of their homes and shooting them down" with the help of their local collaborators.
The perpetrators of brutalities conducted night time raids assaulting women in front of their families to punish and terrorize the freedom fighters. Girls and women were kidnapped and kept in special camps where they were repeatedly raped and gang raped. Many of those held in the camps were murdered or they committed suicides.
Time magazine of the US reported on the girls who had been kidnapped and kept in military camps turned in to brothels: "One of the more horrible revelations concern 563 Bengali women, some only 18, who have been held captive in Dhaka's (then spelt Dacca) dingy military cantonment since the first days of the fighting. Seized from Dhaka University and private homes and forced into military brothels, the girls are all three to five months pregnant. The Army is reported to have enlisted gynecologists to abort the girls held at military installations. But for those at Dhaka cantonment it was too late for abortion. The military has started freeing the girls, few at a time, carrying the babies of Pakistani soldiers".
International media carried frontline reports and photographs about the genocide, the rapes, the destruction of homes and properties and stories of thousands of dead bodies with hands tied at the back floating in rivers.
People were bewildered; they were in dismay and shuddered to think of their future; but the nation was ready to wage all-out war against the fascist Pakistani leaders. Before daybreaks corpses littered the streets. East Pakistan Rifles Headquarters at Pilkhana, Police Headquarters at Razarbagh, entire Dhaka University campus - everywhere there were either dead bodies strewn all along or agonies of dying people.Instant resistances were built up across the country in response to the Bangabandhu's proclamation of independence before his arrest.
Pakistani occupation forces in collusion with the Razakar and al Badr militia executed a sinister scheme to intellectually cripple the country soon to be born. They decided to liquidate the intelligentsia and in the last few days of the war they unleashed the most systematic execution of Bangladeshi intellectuals. Teachers, doctors, artists, writers and other important figures of Bengali society were summarily arrested, tortured and slaughtered en masse in killing fields, most notably at Rayerbazar and Mirpur.
Historians hold Jamaat chief Matiur Rahman Nizamisquarely responsible for committing the most horrific crimes against humanity as he was the top commander of Razakar and al-Badr. One of the main objectives of al-Badr was to shortlist secular Bengali intellectuals and eliminate them. Horrifying stories of killing of intellectuals by al-Badr were published in newspapers at home and abroad during and after the Liberation War.
Exodus and genocide during 1971 caused a loss of around 20 million Hindus-one of the largest displacements of a population based on ethnic or religious identity in recent history. Time magazine in its issue of 2 August, 1971 reported "The Hindus, who account for three-fourths of the refugees and a majority of the dead, have borne the brunt of the Muslim (Pakistani) military hatred".
Numerous historical documents suggest that the slogan "Kill Bengalis and Hindus" was routinely and purposefully used during the period. 'Bengali' was the term used to mean the freedom fighters.
Senator Edward Kennedy in a report of the US Senate Committee testimony dated 1 November 1971 wrote, "Hardest hit have been members of the Hindu community who have been robbed of their lands and shops, systematically slaughtered, and in some places, painted with yellow patches marked 'H'... All of this has been officially sanctioned, ordered and implemented under martial law from Islamabad."
Nothing could be further from truth and more ridiculous than Pakistan's claim that it was not involved in the atrocities perpetrated on the people of Bangladesh in 1971.