Name: Abdul Malek
FF No. 367, Team 18
Father’s Name: Late Mofizudin Ahmed
Vill: Chandipur, P.O.: Chandipur
P.S. Chandipur, P.O.: Chandipur
Age in 1971: 25
Occupation in 1971: Teaching
Present Occupation: Business
Q. What do you know about the general elections in 1971 and the subsequent flow of events?
A. The Awami League won in the general elections but the then Pakistan Government did not transfer power to them. This led to intensive political movement in the country. On March 7, 1971 Bangabandhu delivered a speech which inspired the people to prepare mentally for independence. Following his speech throughout the country people got mentally prepared for independence. Here in Naogaon a voluntary corps was organized. With many others I also joined this corps. I along with some others took training on light weapons. Our trainer was one Mr. Abdul Mazid. In 1973 on April 7 Mr. Mazid was killed by the Naxalites.
When the Pak army attacked us in the night of March 25-26 the entire nation got involved in our liberation war. Up to April 22 we managed to keep Naogaon sub-division free of Pakistanis. Later on the Pakistan army captured Naogaon. Then we left for India. Then our respected leader and organizer and the present Secy. General of the Awami League Mr. Abdul Jalil, M.P. arranged for our stay in India and our military training. Later on he arranged for our arms and ammunition so that we could go into action in the border areas and at times inside the Bangladesh territory.
We were guerrilla fighters. We received higher training in India and along with our team leaders and comrades entered into Bangladesh territory on Aug 4 for military action. We carried out a lot of operations inside the Bangladesh territory. Two of our most important operations were performed on a Pak army unit, and to destroy the railway bridge beside the railway station. Both these operations took place within the Atrai police station zone. I was one of the lucky ones to have taken part in both these operations.
Q. Will you please describe these incidents in details?
A. Quite a few of us, freedom fighters, were then stationed at the Raghunathpur village of the Naogaon Sadar thana (Posice station) within the sub-division. We were a few small FF units together in the camp. Group Commander Late Mokhlesur Rahman Raza, several other team leaders like Shafiqul Islam Khan, Moyeenul Huq Mukul, Sewan, Shaheed, Hasan, Abu Reza Hashem Ali, Ohidur Rahman, Afzal Hossain and I were there. Ohidur Rahman was a freedom fighter, not a team leader. Besides these men we also had with us Abdul Mazid who had given us training earlier. One day in the first week of September we got a news in the morning that a unit of the Pak army and some Razakars launched an attack on a village near Taranagar and killed some of the villagers. They also looted a haat and captured 3/4 women. They were loading boats with looted staff and would soon leave the area. Soon we discussed the situation amongst ourselves and decided that we must attack them and teach them a lesson. One of us, Mofiz bhai, said that we did not know in which direction the Pakistanis would go¾ return to Atrai or go to Mahadevpur. In order to attack them we would have to wait in ambush in two different locations. It was more likely that they would return to Atrai. So I decided to move with my comrades along with Afzal and his team to the downstream and Mukul and Bishu and their comrades would move towards upstream. The rest of us Raja, Shafique, Hashem, Hassan, Wahidur would remain standby somewhere in the middle. All of us would fight against them. Then we split on four boats and moved in two directions. We reached Taranagar on the bank of river Atrai in two boats. Mafiz bhai was with us. On the way we met another boat full of FFs led by Alamgir Kabir. We requested them to join us but they declined. I do not remember all the names of those who took part in the battles. I am telling you the names of those I still remember. They are: Afzal, Mafiz (1), Mafiz (2), Afzal (2), Nargis, ABM Faruk,: Badiuzzaman, Manna, Mukul (2), Yunus, Razzak, (Late) Shahjahan and some others. We were 19 of us altogether. After we reached Taranagar we split ourselves in 2s and lay in ambush waiting for the Pak army. Some local people gave us the information that the Pak army had already left the area by the river and the beel in two groups on 11 boats altogether. We were somewhat scared but we took a resolve that come what may we would fight the Pak army. We waited in ambush. Around 1:30 mid-day Mafiz bhai saw boats of Pak troops and Razakars looking through his small binocular and cautioned us. He said they were coming. I cautioned everyone not to open fire till I gave them orders. Soon a boat came near us. I could see through the strip bamboo cover, covering only half of the boat, heads of about 35/40 Pak soldiers. To be honest, when I saw them I became terribly scared. When I lowered my head the barrel of my LMG hit my helmet making some noise. Overcoming my fear when I raised my head again I saw that two boats were within 25 yards of our boat. A Pakistani soldier was looking straight at my eye and with the stick in his hand he was giving instructions to some others. I saw their radio-man sitting on a bag looted from the bazaar. I had my LMG ready. I pointed the barrel to the eye of the radio-man and opened brush fire. I saw the man trying to keep his balance holding on to his grip on the bamboo canopy but he couldn’t manage. He fell down into the river. I couldn’t sense if he had received a bullet or just lost his balance. All our fellow fighters started firing at the enemy. I was firing at the water level and the others had the same instruction. This sudden attack with heavy firing from our side got the Pakis off guard, and so also the Razakars. Eight of their boats were destroyed. The others quickly got to the shore and started firing at us like a hailstorm. We had limited ammunition. So we left the area quickly signalling the villagers to immediately quit the area. In that attack quite a few Pakistani soldiers and Razakars were killed. Three army men swam across the river to the other bank. Two of them were beaten to death by the local people and the other was shot.
Q. What did you do after that?
A. After this operation several of our groups took shelter in Mirzapur. Already there were two FF commanders present in the area. One of them was Jalal Hossain Chowdhury and the other was Akhter Ahmad Siddiqui. Jalal had already done some work in the North Naogaon and Bogra area and Akhtar after his training. joined us. After we came to Mirzapur I proposed to them that we should blow up a big railway bridge of the area in order to stop the Pakistan army moving around. Everyone agreed with me. Then it was decided to blow up the Sohagola bridge. According to this decision we started preparing for the operation. We had just about 30 kg of Gelatin explosive in our stock.
On the appointed date a team consisting of Mafiz bhai, Faruq, Shahjahan, Yunus, Mozammel and some others went to the adjacent railway station. The purpose was to force the surrender of any Razakar/s if found in the area. We got on a boat and reached near the bridge. Shaheed, Hasan, Hashem, and Nargis and some others were sent to plant two anti-tank mines under the railway tracks on the southern end of the bridge. While the work on the bridge was in progress if any train came it would be blown off. Then we started digging the earth and ultimately dug a hole about 6 ft deep. In this hole I planted the explosives. We fixed 11 safety fuses with the detonator. I then ordered everybody to get on the boat and firing the fuse I jumped onto the boat and we quickly sped off. After five minutes the explosion took place. We came back to examine the bridge and found that it was in a total wreck. The middle section of the bridge was blown off although quite strangely the tracks were not severed. Telling the villagers to move away from the spot we moved towards Mirzapur. We saw the headlight of a train engine rolling towards the bridge. The train was going from Atrai towards Santahar. The mine didn’t explode but the train went off the tracks and all four (4) bogies and the guard van fell down into the rive below. When we watched this unforgettable scene all of us and the villagers shouted “Joy Bangla” and rejoiced the occasion. Later on we heard that the train was carrying some Pakistan army units. It was going to Hili. One hundred and ninety five Pak soldiers were killed in that blast. Those who took part in that operation included Alam, Humayun, Lutfar, Mozammel, Ashraf, Babul, Razzak, Sakhawat, Nazmul and some others. Some Pak soldiers escaped the explosion but they were caught by the large number of villagers of the area and then shot. Later on we heard abut this incident.
Q. What did you do after this?
A. We re-occupied the Raninagar Police Station after a frontal fight. Mazid bhai was our leader. There were several groups with us including the one led by commander Haroon. I have forgotten the names of the others who participated in these operations. And then on Dec 16 the whole country was liberated. Naogaon was however liberated after a few days.
Interviewer: Ms. Mahmuda Akhter, Principal Officer
and P.S. to Chairman, Mercantile Bank Ltd.
Date of Interview: September 10, 2005
Translator: Dr. Faruq Aziz Khan