The district of Kushtia had significant contribution to the Bangladesh Liberation War. A 147-member company of the 27th Baluch Regiment of the Pakistan army reached Kushtia on 25 March 1971 from its base at Jessore cantonment. They initially captured the local police station and settled an outpost there, but soon faced considerable resistance from a group of police, ansars, students and local people. By April 1, the Pakistany army was completely overpowered and the Mukti Bahini took control of Kushtia. Later on April 17, 1971 the Bangladesh Government in-exile formally announced Proclamation of Independence at Baidyanathtala.Subsequently, battles between the Pakistan army and the rebels occurred at many places of the district including Bangshitala of Kumarkhali Upazila, and Daulatpur Upazila.
After the independence of Bangladesh several different development projects were undertaken in the district of Kushtia. On November 22, 1979 the foundation stone of The Islamic University was laid at Shantidanga - Dalulpur under the districts of Kustia and Jhenidah. However, In 1982 the University was shifted to Gazipur and admission of students began in the session of 1985-86. Later, on 10 January 1990, the University shifted back to its original site at Shantidanga Dulalpur. In 1984, two subdivisions of Kushtia: Chuadanga and Meherpur were named separate districts.
The night of 26th to 28th March, 1971 in Kushtia town was like a ghost Town
Write by: Ahmed R
Being a freedom-fighter, I may draw my views to those who were born after 1971 or were too young at that particular time for the then on going facts as follows:
- No one can prove a single example for relatives of top Awami leader’s who got killed or injured, fought directly in the battlefield. A few, who participated actively including Sheikh Kamal, all of them based in a safe and more secured place near the border area or in Calcutta near the Shadin Bangla exile government's Building.
- Janab Sheikh Mujib’s voice or call for independence was never heard by any one, and no one can provide realistic proof for that. March 07, 1971 speech of Janab Sheikh Mujib may be analyzed in any form but that cannot be the declaration of independence. The Awami biased Bengalee influential intellectuals may explain in various manner to try to establish that the call of independence lies on that speech. But the explanation given by Janab Sheikh Mujib on the round table meeting with the military ruler and Mr. Bhutto on March 22 & 23 of 1971. According to Sheik Mujib’s statement “If there is no progress of our talks then why should we be having meetings?” that was the evidence which history will speak, and it indicating that he was still working within the all-Pakistan framework.
- Awami League’s claim that Sheikh Saheb gave the call for independence through Zahur Ahmed or MR Siddiky from Chittagong. Could anyone believe that Sheikh Mujib would not inform this important issue to his central Leaders, who were all the time supporting, suggesting and taking active parts on all major issues? For example, Tajuddin Ahmed, Syed Nazrul Islam, Mansur Ali and Kamruzzaman, all of them are well known Leaders by the side of Janab Sheikh Mujib.
- Some AWAMI based intellectuals wants to prove that he made a telephone call to Chittagong for declaring independence, but so far I could recall is that the analog telephone system in those days was under the total control and monitored by the Pakistani Military Intelligence department from date round table meeting. So, logically no one can prove that he made a telephone call for declaring independence. Though the logical choice for Sheikh Mujib to convey this decision was to Col. Usmani, but so far we know he was not informed.
- Awami League leaders in Chittagong why they choose Major Zia to speak on behalf of Sheikh Mujib for call of independence and not an Awami League elected leaders which should have been the perfect way for such an important event at that time.
- In an speech 1971 October Indira Gandhi and Sajeev Reddy President of India admitted that it was the Zia’s call for independence being noticed the Indian Government. Also Tajuddin Ahmed acknowledged the Zia’s role in his speech at Mujibnagar guard of honor ceremony of exile Government, April 17, 1971.
23rd March,1971 so far I could recall, A company of Baluch Regement from Jessore Cantonment were deployed to take over all the law enforcing places those who were holding some small arms such as 303 rifle, shot gun, beta gun etc. in district police head quarter, Anser head quarter, Sadar Thana. Most of the Kushtia Town & all street corner were being patrolled time to time by the troops round the clock. The Awami District Leaders of Kushtia left the town and hiding themselves near by villages to avoid harassment & arrest. We commoners stayed inside our homes and observing the situation. How the situation would turn out and in which way, that was our main headache. Every sunset there was semi curfew announced through microphone by the moving army patrol carrying LMG or MMG pointed to the nearby buildings.
From 23rd to 25th March we were very much excited that something was going on. We had a multi band radio, set in low volume. We were glued to that radio all the time listening various channels and trying to know the actual situation of Dacca. In the mean time my uncle Syed Masud Roomy (He was the then Kushtia District President of Bhashani NAP) advised us to leave town for our village home at Komolapur of Khoksha Thana. So, my mother & two sisters left the town on 24th or 25th mid day.
Me and my first cousin Syed Ferdous Ahmed Rumy stayed in the town for taking care of our home. There was nothing to do whole day, so we use to play cards with some friends named as Sekender, Siraz, Azad, Minu etc. But most of the time we were glued with the radio and trying to collect the information about what was happening around Dacca. Suddenly I got the Chittagong radio station signal, with a very low voice in an unstable condition, an announcement I myself heard a voice in English.A major named Zia declared the independence and call himself as the president and army chief of Bangladesh appealing to the Police, Ansar, EPR (East Pakistan Rifle), students and all young people of country join the war of liberation. This was the first incident in my life that I could not express the emotion of mine. Me and Ferdous Bhai discussed this and tried to communicate with our friends circle those who still resided in Kushtia Town. But we could not find any of them, actually the Kushtia town was totally deserted. There was no sound of any kind of transport only time to time rounding sound of military transport.
The night of 26th to 28th March, 1971 in Kushtia town was like a ghost Town. There was a whisper around the town that EPR (East Pakistan Rifle) of Chuadanga HQ 4wing started towards Kushtia to attack the military holdings of the town any moment. We were eagerly expecting the assault starting by the brave soldier of EPR to take over the Kushtia town. Suddenly, the night of 29th March we observe that the EPR Brothers surround all the places being occupied by the Pakistani Army and start exchanging firing to each other. Some unit of EPR had taken position in our house, Public Library, and the roof of the Dak Banglo by the west side of our house. They started attacking the Kushtia Thana which was taken over by PAK Army. There was a tremendous gun fight all over the night we were supplying food and water to our EPR & Police Brothers whenever they felt thirsty. That very day one of the Fighter who may be from Police or Anser though I couldn’t recall now very well, being shot by the PAK Bullet on his head penetrating the Helmet. The Bullet crashed his head and he was totally unconscious, we were looking for doctor, but there was tremendous blood flow and we could not stop that. When we found a doctor, he thoroughly checked him & told that he is no more. The first Shahid which we have seen was on the day 29th March,71.
In March, 71 Kushtia Town was captured and occupied by the Pakistan Army. This means that the total Kushtia belt under the command Major Abu Osman Choudhury, (who was the Wing Commander of 4wing EPR Head Quarter at Chouadanga the then subdivision), under greater Kushtia District. There were tremendous peoples' support to the combined force of EPR, POLICE & ANSER who started this war against the Pakistan army, there are some example which have seen myself that a person aged 75 to 80 carries a GADA BONDUK(Old gun the gun powder & the bullets should be pore through the gun barrel and tightening the gun power by a stick for firing.) That old man with his full young man’s strength joined the fight. Also the young people from nearby villages were crossing the river GORAI which is flowing by the side of Kushita District town, came with hundreds & thousands with their all primitive means fighting equipments such as DHAL, Sword, SHORKI, FALA & RAM DAO. To fight this modern army with all vigorous sprit of giving their life to eliminate this force of evil who started killing and trying to forcing the people to maintain law and order as per Pakistan Govt. Demand. When the whole community is having some aspiration to achieve freedom, then no army or brutal ruler can suppress the fighting spirit of common people to divert them from their ultimate goal to achieve their destiny.