Tag Archives: Surrender

Remembering the 16 December 1971: Part 2/2

Indian and International intervention

India published their refugee intake from East Bengal region which was striking 1.2 million refugees. Various efforts were done by United Nations to provide medical and humanitarian support for these refugees. After US government cancelled arms sales to West Pakistan on 8 November 1971, India also took this matter to United Nations on 18 November. In response to Gopalpur tragedy, Mukti Bahini launched a military action against West Pakistani troops on 21 November. A couple of days later, state-of-emergency was implemented across East Bengal region on 23 November.

After West Pakistani troops enforced a military action against East Pakistan on 3rd December. Appeals were discussed from India and USA in United Nations in a period of early half of December. In effect to that, United Nations appealed West Pakistan to withdraw their troops on 7 December 1971 and a ceasefire on 15 December.

The surrender

As West Pakistani troops came under the International Pressure and the war was destined to be over soon on 14 December 1971, Al-Badr military launched an attack on Bengali intellectuals who they thought could play an influential role in building up a separate nation.

However, more than 90 thousand Pakistani troops surrendered to Indian and Bangladeshi Liberation forces on 16 December 1971 which was the largest of its kind since World War 2. Surrender Instrument was signed by Lt. Gen A. A. K. Niazi, CO of Pakistan Army forces.


A nine-month long war for its liberation is probably one of the most poorly-documented war with each side claiming different statistics of fatalities and atrocities caused in the war. However, as per various international agencies statistics, interviews, news reports, first-hand accounts of victims, it is believed that more than 3 million Bengali people were killed during the war period.

The most who had suffered during the war period were Bengali women. General Tikka Khan led military in what might be referred as most shameful event in mankind history, raped more than 400,000 Bengali women. As per a CIA documentary, these genocidal rapes were shockingly supported by Muslim religious leaders who called for impregnating women with Muslim fetuses. Girls as young as 14 were raped in what was referred as rape camps. Rape was used as a tool for degradation of society and destruction of a community. Some reports also suggested that even after the surrender, West Pakistani troops showed no remorse for their genocide rather they boasted.

All these atrocities left a never healing scar on the victims as well as on everyone who was victim of this war in some or the other way.

Bangladesh as an Independent Nation

After the surrender on 16 December 1971, Bangladesh was recognized as a sovereign nation. But not to forget the horrific it has to gone through to achieve this sense of freedom. Even after so many decades have been passed through, there is still a sense of denial of atrocities being forced upon Bangladesh. Wounds of the war are still very fresh in Bangladeshi people. Amount of scars the war has left on Bangladesh it is important to look back and give an ear to the freedom fighters of 1971 Liberation war to bring the justice to all the genocide, women and children of 1971.

Vijay Diwas (Victory Day)

16 December 1971 is celebrated as Victory Day of Bangladesh in Bangladesh and Vijay Diwas in India.

Remembering the 16 December 1971: Part 1/2

Eastern Bengal part of India and Western Punjab and valleys region were formed together as The dominion of Pakistan when India got its freedom from British Colonial rule on 14 August 1947. Though both regions were under the Pakistan regime, the regions were not only distant from each other by miles but also the cultural, political and economic conditions were significantly different. The period between 1947 to 1971 saw a biggest turmoil in East Pakistan in terms of culture as well as politics.

East Pakistan economic and political degradation

After four months since Khwaja Nazimudin was appointed as a Chief Minister of East Bengal, University of Dhaka demanded Bengali to be recognized as an official language of Pakistan considering the prominent ethnicity in East Pakistan. However, the demand saw a backlash from Md. Ali Jinnah denying Bengali and persisting with Urdu as official language which got official confirmation on 26 January 1952. Exactly a month after the incident, Urdu was declared as official language, the outbreak in Dhaka was resulted in death of ten individuals which could be one of the first violence incident against the government forces. Powers shifted from Awami Muslim League to United Front Coalition in April 1954. A couple of years later, on 29 February 1956, a new constitution came into effect describing Pakistani Republic with Urdu and Bengali as official languages. However, clashes between government forces and different political parties continue to happen till winter of 1968 with hundreds of people losing their lives.

The violence between Government and East Pakistan political parties led to a formation of combined force called Democratic Action Committee (DAC) which rose to prominence. In just a span of a year, more than 600 people were killed in East Pakistan. On the backdrop of Awami League coming into power in 1970 in Pakistani National Assembly as well as East Pakistan Assembly, political violence took hundreds of lives until March 1971 in Syedpur, Jaydevpur, Chittagong, Rangpur, etc.

Conflict and How the events unfolded

Post effects of parliamentary elections saw resurgence of voices from intellectuals, civilians, students, religious minorities in East Pakistan. In order to suppress these voices and political parties in East Pakistan, West Pakistan launched a military offensive on the night of 25 March 1971 which is referred to as “Operation Searchlight”. Having lost voices and lives throughout since 1947, East Pakistan declared their independence on 26 March 1971, since then the war broke out which went down in history as one of the horrific wars in human history.  China, Malaysia, Turkey and Iran expressed support for the West Pakistani troops who were proliferating inside East Pakistan territory. Mukti Bahini, a liberation army was founded by East Bengali nationalists against the General Tikka Khan led West Pakistani troops. On 5th of May 1971, West Pakistani troops broke through in Gopalpur to kill Mukti Bahini members.

Read Part 2/2 here