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India joins war as Pakistan attacks its western border

Dec 3 becomes turning point

Published : 02 Dec 2022 10:20 PM | Updated : 03 Dec 2022 05:22 PM

December 3 is a significant day in the history of the War of Liberation of Bangladesh. On this day in 1971, the war got accelerated as Pakistani forces attacked India’s western border from air and land that quickened the crushing defeat of Pakistan.

Against this backdrop, December 3 of 1971 had become a turning point for the nine-month bloody war.

India had been providing all-out support to the War of Independence of Bangladesh. The neighbouring country did not directly involve itself in the war before the date. But India got an opportunity to launch a counter-attack when Pakistani forces launched an attack on its frontier.  

India joined the war on that day. Joint forces of Bangladesh and India immediately began operations in the border areas. Indian army entered Bangladesh from seven border points and launched attack on Pakistan army bases with full strength.

The-then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was addressing a crowd of Indian citizens and refugees from Bangladesh in Kolkata. At that time, she came to know that Pakistan launched an attack on India.

Hearing the news, the Indian PM wrapped up her Kolkata visit and returned to New Delhi. Shortly after arrival in New Delhi, Indira Gandhi in a radio speech for the nation said, “We are at war as Pakistan launched all-pervading attack on India. Pakistan has waged total war against us. This war is against India, this war is against Bangladesh. We shall have to fight it together. The nation has to deal with it at any cost,” she said in her historic radio speech. 

Declaring state of emergency across India, the Indian PM called upon the citizens of her country to be ready for the ultimate sacrifice.

After India’s joining in the war, all flights of Pakistan International Airlines between East and West were cancelled. The junta imposed curfew and blackout in Dhaka.

On this day in 1971, Indian external affairs minister Saran Singh told the Indian parliament that India was trying to convince the US and a few other countries for stopping Pakistani oppression in Bangladesh, but without avail. The arbitrary entrance of Bangladeshi refugees in India and shelling by Pakistani army in the border areas are threatening India’s security.

The rebel 4th and 10th East Bengal Regiments advanced from Feni and reached Rejumia Bridge. Joint force joined them. The joint force started advance on Chattogram by the Muhuri river and the Feni-Chattogram Highway.

On December 3 in 1971, freedom fighters with the support of joint force bravely freed Thakurgaon town from the Pakistan occupation forces.

A heavy gun battle took place at night on December 1 in 1971 between freedom fighters and Pakistani forces.

Failing to resist freedom fighters and joint forces, the occupation forces started to leave the town from December 2 morning. They completed withdrawal by the same night and took shelter at Saidpur Cantonment. 

Next morning the freedom fighters entered the town. Hundreds of freedom fighters along with thousands of people from all walks of life paraded different roads of Thakurgaon town chanting slogan ‘Joy Bangla’ and hoisted the victory flag. 

According to local freedom fighters and elderly citizens of Thakurgaon, the occupation forces failed to enter Thakurgaon town till April 14 in 1971 following firm resistance of freedom fighters. The occupation forces entered Thakurgaon with heavy weapons on April 15 when freedom fighters took positions in nearby occupation-free Tentulia frontiers.

Thakurgaon was under the Sector-6 during the Bangladesh War of Liberation under command of Sector Commander Squadron Leader M. Khademul Bashar. 

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