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Fall of Dhaka: Memories of a bloody December

Discussion in 'Bangladesh Defence Forum' started by GURU DUTT, Dec 17, 2015.

  1. GURU DUTT

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  2. calmDown@all

    calmDown@all FULL MEMBER

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    The Tibetan Special Forces
    – Unsung Heroes of 1971by Aneeta Chakrabarty [​IMG]
    Nobody knew about them. Nobody. Not even many generals of the Indian Army. Their voices were muted and their bodies were like swift-moving shadows. On November 14, 1971 as sullen winds moaned on the encroaching night, the silent shadows sprang to life moving with a lightning speed to surround, overwhelm, and destroy the Pakistani posts one by one. All along the hills and valleys of the Chittagong district they immobilized the Pakistani army and allowed a wide zone for Indian troops to march into East Bengal with little or no resistance.

    They are the Tibetan Special Forces (TSF). They fought for a cause that was not their cause and for a war that was not their war. When the war ended, in addition to 190 wounded, they had lost 56 of their men including one of the toughest, CIA-trained Tibetan guerilla leaders Dhondup Gyatotsang. Yet their towering courage went unrewarded, and their heroic saga is forgotten and lost in the mists and sands of Time.

    It all started when the 1962 war with China was winding down.The Government of India (GOI) headed by Nehru and Krishna Menon, the useful idiots as Mao-Tse-Tung correctly surmised, suddenly woke up to the fact that China was no longer “brotherly.” It cared nothing for the euphoria of a mythical bhai-bhai and ruthlessly knocked Nehru walking on clouds of fantasy to the ground with a sucker-punch “power flows from the barrel of a gun.” The shattering fall sent the sleuths of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) scrambling for alternatives and the chief Bholanath Mullick initiated the formation of a special guerilla force with willing exiles from Tibet. The CIA spearheaded the training initially and a legendary general of World War II (WWII), Major General Sujan Singh Uban, was assigned the post of commander. The TSF came to be known as Special Frontier Force (SFF) or “Establishment 22” or simply 22 because Major General Uban had commanded the 22 Mountain brigade during WWII. Thus, the SFF was born on November 14, 1962 and operated from its base in Chakrata, Uttarkhand.Stalwart Tibetans from the plains of Khampa became a lifeline in the inferno of war and fought India’s enemy with glorious action and ferocious courage.

    The CIA had originally trained batches of khampa rebels as early as 1957 for internal sabotage in China, and continued its relations with Establishment 22 at various levels until 1968. The Geopolitical plates shifted with Nixon’s fatal attraction for China and Tibetan guerillas were abandoned for the glitter of Chinese business. Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) took over on 21 Sept, 1968, when it was created, and Establishment 22 became part of the RAW headed by the spymaster R.N. Kau. The Tibetans got more training from MARCOS, IB, the Indian army and the CIA with special emphasis on para-trooping, sabotage, and intelligence gathering to prepare them for any future war with China.

    However, the Tibetan guerillas, a crack commando force rigged to take on China never got the opportunity to do so as the war with China never materialized. The Geopolitical climate changed abruptly when Nixon teamed up with China and the world sought the mantra of peace. However, another part of Asia was blazing with fury and resentment.On March 25, 1971 the Pakistani army launched “Operation Searchlight”, unleashing a maelstrom of rapes and massacres on their Bengali population. Media reports cite that in a span of 9 months, the Pakistani military murdered a million people exceeding the “kill rate” of Nazis by 33%. Ten million refugees poured into India and the atrocities multiplied to such an extent that Joan Baez captured the genocide in the “Song of Bangladesh” – “When the sun sinks in the West, Die a million people of the Bangladesh.”

    Major General Uban urged New Delhi to send his battle trained Tibetan forces itching for a real operation.Indira Gandhi put the ball in SFF’s court with a message wired to the SFF through their commander: “We cannot compel you to fight a war for us, but the fact is that General A A K Niazi (the Pakistan Army commander in East Pakistan) is treating the people of East Pakistan very badly. India has to do something about it.In a way, it is similar to the way the Chinese are treating the Tibetans in Tibet, we are facing a similar situation. It would be appreciated if you could help us fight the war for liberating the people of Bangladesh.” The letter convinced the senior commander of Establishment 22 guerillas to fight for the cause of Bangladesh and India.

    In July 1971, according to war history records, the first batch of 110 Tibetan guerillas infiltrated into East Pakistan and destroyed tea gardens, riverboats and railway tracks. This undermined East Pakistan’s economy, tied down troops and destroyed communications between the nerve centers of E. Pakistan, Dhaka, Comilla and Chittagong. A series of low-grade border skirmishes followed. The SFF was armed with hastily imported Bulgarian assault rifles and U.S manufactured carbines to obscure their links with India. Even the cap insignia had a regiment-crossed khukri with “12” on top to disguise it as a 12th gurkha regiment. It was a perfect setup for deniability as no one would suspect that gurkhas were Tibetans due to the fact that they are racially alike.

    Around the third week of October, 1971, a top secret armed campaign “Operation Mountain Eagle” was quietly launched. Their mission included four main tasks.Blow up Kaptai dam, damage the Pakistani military positions, kill as many as Pakistani soldiers (widely known as the “Khan sena”) as possible, destroy bridges and military infrastructures, and severely restrict Pakistani military movement.The goal was to severely degrade the Pakistani army and paralyze any resistance to the advancing Indian army.

    3000 Tibetan commandos from Establishment 22 were dropped in Demagiri in Mizoram, an obscure border village.Night sorties of guerillas were done using ARC (Advanced Research Center) planes rather than military planes, as RAW wanted to avoid the Eastern command of the Indian army. In Demagiri, the Tibetans stayed incognito and merged with the teeming refugees. After some time they began hit-and-run raids across the border in East Pakistan.They would cross the river, strike a Pakistani post and return to Demagiri.In the second week of November 1971, the SFF crossed the river using nine canoes. They divided into three columns and prepared to launch a guerilla campaign inside East Pakistan. A Pakistani brigade (97th) and a battalion of its elite SSG (Special Services group) had dug in under cover of the thick jungle and leech infested marshes.Undaunted the Tibetans swung into action. Using their Bulgarian rifles and their native knives, they unleashed a blitzkrieg-like-sweep-and-destroy on Pakistani posts, capturing several Pakistani posts within hours, halting temporarily when their general or Dapon Dhondup Gyatotsang was shot, and then swinging back into action.

    There is little doubt, corroborated by military specialists, that the Tibetan guerillas were wildly successful.In their campaign against the Pakistani 97th Independent Brigade and their 2nd commando battalion of SSG in Chittagong, they not only restrained their movements but also cut off their routes of escape to Burma. The SFF with their bold and striking hits were so swift that they seemed like merciless ghosts on the prowl. They came down like phantoms, killed the Pakistani soldiers, destroyed their posts and vanished. They never let up and continued the kill and vanish movements till the “phantom guerillas” virtually cleaned up all of Chittagong before the war was declared officially on Dec. 3, 1971, leaving the Indian army to advance with no resistance. Also Mukti Bahini which had a third of the SFF members captured many towns and garrisons in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in about a month’s time. General Uban and SFF were keen to capture the port of Chittagong and had the capability to do so as the Pakistanis were in no position to stop the momentum of their fast and furious action. However, they decided against it as they would need heavy artillery to retain it and defend it.

    The Chittagong port was finally captured by the Indian military, but the guerillas were asked to be silent and stay 40 km away. On 16, December, 1971 with the surrender of the Pakistani army in Dhaka, the warrior phantoms of 22 came out to celebrate the victory of India over Pakistan. For the first time they were seen rejoicing on the road to Chittagong. Soldiers of the Indian army as well as the common people were stunned to see the euphoric Tibetans appear seemingly from nowhere. However, when General Uban heard of it, he ordered them back into the shadows, their minutes of rejoicing forever banned from the public eye.

    For their key role in capturing Chittagong in 1971, the Indian government gave cash prizes to 580 members for their bravery and involvement. However, due to the secrecy of the operation, none were publicly awarded. None of the SFF jawans received any medals of high honor. They continue to face discrimination in terms of low pay, no reliable pension, and other benefits. In spite of this, the guerillas of Establishment 22 continued to fight many battles for India. They were involved in the Indian operations in Operation Blue Star, Siachen, Kargil and several anti-terrorist operations in many parts of the country. For some time after Indira Gandhi’s assassination, they were in charge of Gandhi family’s security. A unit of SFF is guarding the inhospitable and freezing terrain of Siachen.Rumor has it that they were involved in capturing the most difficult peak called Tiger Hill during the Kargil war.

    But sadly, through all this time they have remained unsung heroes who fought India’s wars and remained in its shadows.Forlorn and exiled from their beloved homeland, they perform invaluable services to their host country. Considering the VIP treatment that India provides for refugees from Bangladesh, the least that can be done for the honorable Tibetans is to give them status and recognition like other military units.It is the nation’s best opportunity to retain a friendly, world class commando force eager to battle the dragon instead of morphing them into a resentful and vicious group just because we are afraid to say “Thank you.”

    - See more at: The Tibetan Special Forces – Unsung Heroes of 1971 by Aneeta Chakrabarty

    A poetic Tibetan warrior says it all in a poignant verse translated from Hindi.

    We are the Vikasi
    The Chinese snatched Tibet from us
    and kicked us out from our home
    Even then, India
    kept us like their own
    One day, surely one day
    we will teach the Chinese a lesson
    Whenever opportunities arise
    we will play with our lives In the Siachen glacier
    we got our second chance
    Our young martyrs
    have no sadness whatsoever
    Whether it is Kargil or Bangladesh
    we will not lose our strength
    Whenever opportunities arise
    we will play with our lives
    Where there is our Potala Palace
    and lovely Norbu Lingka
    The throne of the Dalai Lama
    was dear even then
    Remember those martyrs of ours
    who sacrificed with their lives
    Let’s sing together
    Hail to our Tibet!
    Hail to our Tibet!
    Hail to our Tibet!
     
  3. GURU DUTT

    GURU DUTT BANNED

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    was going to post the same anyway thanks long live india bangladesh friendship
     
  4. zebra7

    zebra7 BANNED

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    When R&AW beat the ISI at its own game during Liberation of Bangladesh.
    An Indian agent of R&AW, Hashum Qureshi in Srinagar was working in league with the BSF. In Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, a Pakistan sponsored terrorist organization, launched the Al-Fatah organization for liberation from J&K from India. 36 of these members were arrested by J&K Police with the help of Indian Intelligence Agencies. In order to get more inside information, R&AW decided to infiltrate Qureshi into this organization has he had knowledge of the terrain of Azad Kashmir.

    But he changed his integrity when he was sent to Azad Kashmir and was won over by the Pakistani Intelligence, the ISI. He was given training to hijack a plane by a former Pakistani pilot. When he was sent to India back the BSF arrested him and he spilled the beans upon interrogation. What was his plan?

    The plan was to hijack plane which would be piloted by Rajiv Gandhi, son of Mrs. Indira Gandhi then Prime Minister of India. When this startling disclosure was reported to the head of the head of BSF and R&AW, India decided to beat Pakistan at it’s own game and yes, we won!

    R&AW and BSF persuaded Qureshi to work for them in order to save him from execution by Indian Authorities. Plan was Qureshi would hijack an Indian Airlines aircraft flying from Srinagar to Lahore and where he would demand the release of 36 members of the Al-Fatah who were in jail in India in lieu of the passengers on the plane.

    [​IMG]

    A Fokker Friendship aircraft, Ganga of the Indian Airlines which was retired already from Indian Airlines was inducted for this operation. The plane was hijacked and he was allowed a toy pistol and a fake grenade inside the plane. Pakistani authorities at Lahore allowed the plane to land when there were informed that it had been hijacked by National Liberation Front of Azad Kashmir. All India Radio soon made the broadcast of this hijacking.

    The whole world was informed that the Pakistani Government was behind this hijacking. Later he demanded (As Planned) release of 36 Al-Fatah members in the custody of India to which India declined. Qureshi was given political asylum and hailed him as a Freedom Fighter in Pakistan. He spoke to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Later the passengers of the plane came by road to India and the plane was burned by Pakistan.

    Why did India execute this operation? Indian government banned all the flights of Pakistan flying over our territory and it exposed that Pakistani state openly and actively supported terrorists. The truth was known to Pakistan that they were agents of the Indian Government.

    [​IMG]

    Pakistan was trying to curb the civil unrest in East Pakistan by using civil flights to send resources. The shortest air route between east and west Pakistan was from Indian Air Space. Any other air route without using India air space was at least 3 times long and triple time/fuel consuming as shown by the above image. Pakistan had to go around India, via Sri Lanka. The hijacking greatly slowed down the arrival of Pakistani Army through Air Route. This was a master stroke of R&AW during the 1971 war for liberation of Bangladesh by India.

    How R&AW played a Key Role for the Indian Navy during 1971 war.
    The Indian Navy celebrates December 4th as Navy Day, it is on this day that India had a strategic Naval victory over Pakistan by rendering its financial capital, Karachi’s port useless as it was completely destroyed. Known as Op. Trident, these operations saw the first use of anti-ship missiles in the region, second Worldwide and first sinking of naval vessels in the region since World War II.

    [​IMG]

    In the above image, Indian carrier Vikrant played a key role in enforcing a naval blockade over East Pakistan. The Navy ensured both the West and East Pakistan had a naval blockade.

    ADVERTISEMENT
    This would not have been possible without the valuable intel from R&AW. It all started when the Defence Minister prior to 1971 war called R.N Rao where Chief of Naval Staff was sitting with him to South Bock. It was discussed that if hostilities would start with Pakistan, Indian Navy would attack the Karachi harbour so that enemy’s navy be bottled up from harassing our ship movement in the Arabian sea. Naval Chief had intel that Pakistan had put up new defences to guard the entrance of the harbour on the near by cliffs and Navy had no intel after that at all.

    R&AW happily accepted for the job and few days later came up with a plan involving specialists from the Photo Laboratory of R&AW, Murty. It was found that a Parsee doctor on a B.I ship periodically sailed from Bombay to Karachi port and was ready to help them. Roa and Murty with cover names as Rod and Moriarty sailed two days later on the Doctor’s ship. Before the ship entered Karachi, doctor arranged to take their equipment and get Rod and Moriarty admitted in the ship’s sick bay as patients.

    At the entrance of the Karachi harbour, Karachi CID personnel boarded and ordered the Captain to bring all Indian passengers before them. He noticed two passengers were missing and when informed they were down with Chicken Pox, he beat a hasty retreat and left.

    The pilot, thereafter, took the ship between the two cliffs of the entry point which guarded the narrow entrance to the harbour. While our Indian operatives photographed everything, including the fortification and gun mountings with powerful Telephoto Lenses. While going in, Sick Bay was on the port side and while sailing out the harbour, the sick bay was on the other side of the cliff which was again photographed.

    The Indian Naval Chief and his aides were as much as amazed and satisfied with the Intelligence. Some months later, when War broke out, Indian Naval Boats beat the hell out of the fortifications of the harbour and bottled the enemy’s Navy!

    [​IMG]

    INS Nipat (K86), INS Nirghat (K89) andINS Veer (K82) from the 25th “Killer” Missile Boat Squadron, escorted by two anti-submarine Arnala class corvettes, INS Kiltan (P79) and INS Katchall (P81), and a fleet tanker, INS Poshak.

    R&AW and the Indian Navy working together and crushed the enemy with Indian Navy ships reporting not a single loss while the Karachi port was burning, while Minesweeper PNS Muhafiz sunk, Destroyer PNS Khaibar sunk, Transport, MV Venus Challenger, sunk, Destroyer PNS Shah Jahan badly damaged, scrapped as result and Karachi harbour fuel storage tanks destroyed and more than 100+ sailors killed and reports of more than 500+ were badly injured.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2015
  5. calmDown@all

    calmDown@all FULL MEMBER

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  6. zebra7

    zebra7 BANNED

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    [​IMG]
     
  7. calmDown@all

    calmDown@all FULL MEMBER

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    sheb ye sab chizen yahan dalne pr bat bigad sakti hai u know what i mean :azn:
     
  8. zebra7

    zebra7 BANNED

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    Fall of Dhaka: Memories of a bloody December
    Shiza Malik — Updated Dec 16, 2014 10:43pm

    Fall of Dhaka: Memories of a bloody December - Pakistan - DAWN.COM source

    ISLAMABAD: The creation of Bangladesh is one of the most sensitive and tragic chapters in the history of Pakistan. While the trauma of partition may now be behind us, stories of 1971 still raise hackles among anyone who lived through that era.

    While there are two, very forceful narratives on what exactly happened, history is unequivocal. Perhaps this is why journalists who lived through the painful partition of Pakistan are best placed to recall and ruminate on the mistakes that were made in that fateful year.

    On March 23, 1971, the flag of Bangladesh was put up in East Pakistan. At the time, Ali Ahmed Khan was a journalist in Dhaka.

    “I worked for a progressive Urdu weekly, Jareeda, which promoted the rights of East Pakistan and consistently campaigned for the restoration of democracy under military rule,” he says, with a sense of fondness.

    But as the memories take a turn for the grim, his eyes cloud over.

    “It was the night of March 25. From my own home, in a predominantly Urdu-speaking part of Dhaka, all we could hear was gunfire,” he says. From the direction of the slums where most working-class Bengalis lived, he saw flames leaping upwards.

    “Smoke filled the air and the sky turned red, this is what I remember of Operation Searchlight,” he recalls.

    “Ours was a divided family; some lived in East Pakistan and some in the west. In East Pakistan, my family home was in the town of Dinajpur. After the operation, the country erupted into a violent reaction as the liberation movement was launched and many Urdu-speaking families were attacked. I heard from people coming into Dhaka that the town had seen some terrible violence.”

    Cilocia Zaidi’s abandoned family home in Pabna city, Bangladesh, is part of a law college today.
    “I boarded a train and rushed to my family. I remember walking into the garden and smelling the pineapples my parents had fondly planted. The home was all but destroyed. Our things were strewn about everywhere; my father’s books, my brother’s records and albums...the house had been looted,” he says, gritting his teeth.

    “The neighbours told me my mother had gone to stay with my sister in Parbatipur, and my father and brother were missing, but no one would give me any details. But they were all dead,” he says, with a sense of finality.

    Now, 43 years after the bloodshed, as he speaks to us from his idyllic home in Abbottabad, Mr Khan appears to have made peace with his traumatic past. He even laughs as he says, “It was inevitable. When the Awami League swept the 1970 elections and the assembly was not called to session, what else could have happened,” he posits.

    He is clear in his convictions. For him, the bloody separation was caused by the actions of those in the west.

    “Admiral Mohammad Ahsan, the last governor of East Pakistan, recalls that when Yahya Khan came to talk to Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, he asked the admiral ‘What are these six points’,” he recalls.

    “The admiral offered to send for the document, but Yahya refused, saying ‘No, no, I’ll manage’. This shows there was a lack of seriousness to engage with the people of East Pakistan.”

    He says that some in his family have ostracised him for supporting the creation of Bangladesh and the Bengalis’ right to self determination.

    “What happened to me on a personal level was painful, but it was inevitable. When a force denies people their basic rights such a reaction was to be expected.

    Cilocia Zaidi was only 10 years old when Dhaka fell, but, “What we saw as children left us with scars that can never be healed. We don’t like to talk about it because it’s too painful to recall. But not talking about it doesn’t change what happened,” she says.

    Ali Ahmed Khan shares his memories of Dhaka. — Photo by Tanveer Shahzad
    Now a journalist based in Islamabad, Ms Zaidi witnessed first-hand some of the worst violence that came to pass in 1971. “I remember our Hindu dhobi (laundry man) had a beautiful daughter. One day, she sat outside our gates, sobbing inconsolably. The gate was guarded by army men, who would not let her in. When we asked our mother why the girl was crying, she said nothing. Today, I know what happened to her and to countless others like her,” she says.

    She recalls the day Sheikh Mujib gave his final call to the Bengali people and asked them to fight for their liberation.

    “From the window of my house, I saw people emerging from every corner, holding makeshift weapons. I saw our milkman, an elderly man, walking with a spear in his hand. After that, it was sheer chaos,” she says.

    “The resentment was against the army operation, not necessarily against Pakistan. After all, Bengal too was Pakistan, it was the land of the Muslim League’s birth,” she said.

    “Bengalis are a proud people; proud of their culture and their language. But West Pakistanis always looked down on Bengalis and were very racist towards them. This is what sowed the seed of resentment.”

    Ms Zaidi’s father, Capt Asghar Hussain Zaidi, had been a member of parliament and a part of Ayub Khan’s cabinet. Although he was Bengali, his support for a united Pakistan made him a target for the Mukti Bahini.

    “They (Mukti Bahini) were people we called brothers or uncles. We were a vibrant family with a variety of political affiliations. My grandfather and uncles were Awami Leaguers and became part of the liberation movement.”

    But when the trouble began, her grandfather wisely suggested that the family relocate to the village.

    “I remember walking through the vast riverbed with thousands of ordinary villagers, just walking out of the city. That’s when the helicopters began firing at everyone. I remember asking my mother why our army was shooting at us, and she said that from their viewpoint, they could not see who was innocent,” she says, the emotional strain showing as her eyes begin to glisten.

    Published in Dawn December 16th , 2014
     
  9. GURU DUTT

    GURU DUTT BANNED

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  10. Sipahi

    Sipahi SENIOR MEMBER

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    In your opinion We are Ghaddars to ask for our own country.... so they are

    In your opinion Kashmiri Fighters are terrorists ..... so they are


    But now, I wish them all the luck of the world :-)
     
  11. GURU DUTT

    GURU DUTT BANNED

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    when did i said you are ghaddars ?

    is this thread about kashmir ?

    or are you too jalous and angry and have deep grudge against ... khair jane do i know your feelings :sarcastic:
     
  12. calmDown@all

    calmDown@all FULL MEMBER

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    :nono::pleasantry:glat bat :lol:
     
  13. dadeechi

    dadeechi BANNED

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    upload_2015-12-17_7-6-55.png
     
  14. ito

    ito ELITE MEMBER

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    Indira Gandhi had a one hell of a courage! She had that 'don't care attitude'.
     
  15. dadeechi

    dadeechi BANNED

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    Phantoms In The Hills
    The forgotten Tibetan warriors who fought in CHT for Bangladesh in 1971
    Share on facebook2.2KShare on twitterMore Sharing Services?[​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Members of the Tibetan warriors preparing for an attack.
    Prabir Barua Chowdhury
    You never can tell their position but they are already stalking you. They remain invisible and when the time comes, they strike you with lightning speed with an unerring instinct for hitting the target. The Pakistan occupation army faced such a ghostly force in Chittagong Hill Tracts during the Liberation
    War of Bangladesh.

    The Tibetan guerrillas, who came from another land to fight for another country's independence, swept the hills, crushing one Pakistan stronghold after another. “Phantoms of Chittagong,” they are called.
    There were several types of operations during the nine-month war but one mission -- "Operation Eagle" -- was highly exceptional and remarkable as it was under an undeclared, clandestine war plan.
    The Bangladesh Liberation Force (BLF) and Indian RAW's secretive Tibetan team -- Special Frontier Force (SFF) -- jointly conducted the operation to create a free zone in Chittagong.
    [​IMG]
    Some of the fighters on the street of Chittagong and Dapon Ratuk Ngawang.
    Chittagong and Chittagong Hill tracts were considered most suitable zones for guerrilla warfare. Apart from Pakistanis, local Mizo rebels who were helping the occupation forces were needed to be crushed and for this SFF was the best option. Tibetans and Mizos have similar physique.
    The Tibetan soldiers believed in rebirth and considered death as a better option towards the lion-gate of future. This thought often made them desperate. Besides, they had keen eyesight and innate capability to sense danger. For any force, they were the best recruits as guerrillas.
    ADVERTISEMENT
    They loved modern weapons and disliked getting separated from their weapons, according to some writings.
    [​IMG]
    A commander of the secret regiment.
    At the end of the 1962 Indo-Chine war, some documents say, former chief minister of Orissa Biju Patnaik first came up with the idea of a special guerrilla unit comprised of Tibetan youths who had taken shelter in India following Chinese repression in Tibet.
    Intelligence Bureau chief Bholanath Mullick took up the initiative and formed SFF, also known as Establishment 22, on November 14, 1962.
    In 1971, Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi had played a vital role to bring the force into the Liberation War of Bangladesh.
    Writer and researcher Tashi Dhundup of Katmandu, in an article at Himal Southasian, a review magazine of politics and culture, mentioned a letter of Indira to Tibetan force in the writing titled “Not their own Wars”.
    "We cannot compel you to fight a war for us," Gandhi wrote, "but the fact is that General AAK Niazi is treating the people of East Pakistan very badly. India has to do something about it ... It would be appreciated if you could help us fight the war for liberating the people of Bangladesh."
    [​IMG]
    The then Dalai Lama and Maj Gen Uban inspecting the SFF at Chakrata in June 1972.
    Inspector General of SFF Sujan Singh Uban took up the command of the entire operation.
    The preparatory period started from mid-October under the guidance and direct involvement of some Indian Army officers gathered from different regiments, especially from Dehradun Military Academy.
    Three columns were formed for the operation -- the first one to surround Chittagong through Arakan road in the south, the middle column was to surround Chittagong through Kaptai-Chittagong road and the third to surround Chittagong through Rangamati Chittagong Road.
    BLF leader Sheikh Fazlul Haque Moni sent a team to a camp in Agartala Glass Factory. From there, BLF members reached Demagiri border area and met one dozen Indian Army officers and around three thousand SFF members there. (It's not still clear exactly how many SFF members participated in the war.)
    The joint force started its journey from Demagiri on October 11. It had information that the enemy had a strong set up at the bank of the river Karnaphuli. But the troops crossed the border area without any obstacles.
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    Gyalo Thondup, the then Dalai Lama's elder brother, speaks at a programme.
    They captured some posts of Pakistan army at Dhanubak, Deghalchhari, Boroitoli and marched towards Barkal. In the second and third week of November, they captured Barkal.
    The air force led rocket attacks on Pakistani military's different establishments to help SFF capture Barkal. After Barkal, they now went for Khagrachhari. The mission was successful but it took the lives of twenty one members of the force.
    Within a few days, Shubholong was freed. Next target was Kashalong Khal so that the enemies could not escape though this way to Rangamati. For capturing Kashalong Khal as well as Rangamati, the force sent several soldiers through helicopters.
    Due to the shortage of helicopter, the guerrillas were carried in phases. The enemy side assumed that a huge number of troops were gathering there. Panicked, the Pakistan army left most of the areas. Some posts that were under the Pakistan army's control were finally occupied by the BLF and SFF members after December 10.
    The joint force got a message from the Indian army chief to send a strong commando team to Dohajari to block the Arakan road so that the enemies cannot escape to Burma (Myanmar).
    The Pakistani army was dumbfounded when they came under attack as they broke the Dohajari bridge so that SFF and BLF members could not cross. In that battle, local freedom fighters joined the BLF and SFF men.
    The Pakistan army had to leave the Dohajari area by train on December 12 to Chittagong city. With this, entire Chittagong except for some city areas became free.
    After this victory, the force sent a message to the Indian army chief that it was not possible for the enemy to escape to Burma through this way and the Pakistan army had no option but to surrender. So the Indian chief could ask Pakistan army's eastern command chief Lt Gen AAK Niazi to surrender.
    On December 13/14, a portion of the troops reached Anwara upazila and took position at south part of the Karnaphuli river at Marine academy. Meanwhile, BLF members captured the Radio station at Kalurghat.
    On December 16, Sector-1 Commander Major Rafiqul Islam's team along with Indian soldiers occupied the naval base. And in Dhaka, Lieutenant-General AAK Niazi surrendered to Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora, joint commander of the Bangladesh-India Allied Forces.
    On that day, when the Pakistan army surrendered in Dhaka, the Phantoms came out in the open on Chittagong Road to celebrate, Manas Paul wrote in a Time of India article. The locals were stunned by their sudden appearance. Even the Indian soldiers were surprised. They had no clue of their presence in the vicinity. But soon Maj Gen Uban ordered them back into the shadows. And there they remained.
    Tibetans lost about 50 men and another 190 were injured in that operation. Later, the Indian government awarded 580 members of the force for their gallantry in the 1971 war.
    Source: Phantoms of Chittagong: The Fifth Army in Bangladesh by Maj Gen (retd) SS Uban; Muktijuddhe Chattagram, Part-2; Mukti Sangram Theke Muktijuddhe Jatra by Eng Siddique Ahmad.


    Phantoms In The Hills | The Daily Star