On this day, December 3, 1971, at 5:17PM Bangladesh time, the Pakistan Air Force launched a simultaneous attack on India’s seven locations including Amritsar, Pathankot, Srinagar, Jodhpur and Agra. Then at 8:00pm in the night, a massive ground operation began in Jammu and Kashmir in the south-western Chamb and Poonch sectors.
All-out war began on December 3 as Pakistan’s military launched ground and air attacks. The joint forces of Bangladesh and India immediately started operations in the border areas.
Indian army entered Bangladesh from seven border points and attacked Pakistan army bases with full strength and Muktibahini (freedom fighters) joined them from the areas freed from the occupation forces. At the dead of night, the full battle began.
The joint forces launched intense attack. Air force’s operations spread panic among enemy forces while the navy cordoned off all Pak-occupied ports along the Bay of Bengal and cut off their supply through waterways.
On this day, while addressing a crowd of Indian citizens and refugees from Bangladesh at Kolkata Brigade Parade Ground, then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi came to know that Pakistan launched an attack on India.
Hearing the news, Indira Gandhi finished her speech posthaste and returned to New Delhi cutting short her Kolkata visit. Shortly before midnight, emergency announcement was made in All India Radio that the premier will address the nation.
In her historic radio speech, Indira Gandhi said, “We are at war” as Pakistan launched all-pervading attack on India. The nation has to deal with it at any cost, she added.
“Pakistan has waged total war against us. This war is against India, this war is against Bangladesh. We shall have to fight it together,” she said.
Declaring state of emergency across India, Indira Gandhi urged the citizens of her country to be ready for the ultimate sacrifice.
All flights of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) between ‘East and West Pakistan’ were cancelled. The Pakistan junta imposed curfew and blackout in Dhaka.
On this day, US Senator William Saxby told journalists at Rawalpindi that he could not meet the ‘banned’ Awami League leader Sheikh Mujib despite several attempts.
Saran Singh, then foreign minister of India, told parliament in New Delhi that India was trying to convince the US and a few other countries to stop Pakistani oppression in Bangladesh, but all their efforts seemed futile.
He also said that the arbitrary entrance of the Bangladeshi refugees in India and shelling by Pakistani army in border areas were threatening India’s security.
The rebel 4th and 10th East Bengal Regiments advanced from Feni and reached Rejumia Bridge. Captain Mahfuz of Sector 1 along with his force joined them. The joint force started advancing towards Chattogram through the Muhuri river and Feni-Chattogram highway.
The triumphant freedom fighters along with Indian allied forces gallantly liberated Thakurgaon town from the Pakistani occupation forces bringing the taste of ultimate freedom to local people on December 3, 1971.