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Sectors of War of Liberation

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Syeda Momtaz Sheren :
Sectors of War of Liberation In the War of Liberation in 1971 the whole geographical area of the then East Pakistan was strategically divided into eleven sectors with a sector commander for each of them. For better efficiency in military operations each of the sectors were divided into a number of sub-sectors under a commander.
Sector 1 comprised of the districts of Chittagong and Chittagong Hill Tracts, and the entire eastern area of the Noakhali district on the banks of the river Muhuri in the Belonia Bulge.. The headquarters of the sector was at Harina. The sector commander was Major Ziaur Rahman, later replaced by Major Rafiqul Islam. The five sub-sectors of this sector (and their commanders) were: Rishimukh (Captain Shamsul Islam); Sreenagar (Captain Matiur Rahman, later replaced by Captain Mahfuzur Rahman); Manughat (Captain Mahfuzur Rahman); Tabalchhari (Subedar Ali Hossain); and Dimagiri (a subedar).
A contingent of nearly ten thousand freedom fighters fought in this sector. They included about two thousand regular troops which comprised of 1400 EPR personnel, 200 policemen, 300 army personnel and 100 men from the navy and air force and about eight thousand paramilitary troops. The guerilla fighters of this sector were deputed to operate inside the country in 137 groups.
Sector 2 comprised of the districts of Dhaka, Comilla, and Faridpur, and part of Noakhali district. This sector was raised from the nucleus of 4 East Bengal and the EPR troops of Comilla and Noakhali. The sector was located at Melaghar about 20 miles south of Agartala. The sector commander was Major Khaled Mosharraf, later replaced by Major ATM Haider. About thirty five thousand guerilla fighters fought in this sector. Nearly six thousand of them were members of regular armed forces. The six sub-sectors of this sector (and their commanders) were: Gangasagar, Akhaura and Kasba (Mahbub, later replaced by Lieutenant Farooq, and Lieutenant Humayun Kabir); Mandabhav (Captain Gaffar); Shalda-nadi (Abdus Saleq Chowdhury); Matinagar (Lieutenant Didarul Alam); Nirbhoypur (Captain Akbar, later replaced by Lieutant Mahbub); and Rajnagar (Captain Jafar Imam, later replaced by Captain Shahid, and Lieutenant Imamuzzaman). Due to the operations of this sector the Dhaka-Chittagong highway in between Comilla and Feni was denied to the Pakistanis throughout the nine months of war of liberation. One of the most successful operations of this sector was the defence of the Belonia Bulge. The entries Belonia Bulge was kept liberated by the combined forces of 1 and 2 sectors till 21 June. In this sector, a number of regular companies operated deep inside Bangladesh. These were the Noakhali Company under subeder Lutfar Rahman operating around Begumganj, the Chandpur Company under subeder Zahirul Alam Khan operating in Chandpur Matlab area, a large force under Captain Abdul Halim Chowdhury operating in Manikganj-Munshiganj area in Dhaka and a force under Captain Shawkat at Faridpur. The urban guerrillas carried out a number of successful operations in Dhaka city itself.
Sector 3 comprised of the area between Churaman Kathi (near Sreemangal) and Sylhet in the north and Singerbil of Brahmanbaria in the south. The sector commander was Major KM Shafiullah, later replaced by Major ANM Nuruzzaman. This sector was formed by some of the troops of 2 East Bengal and the EPR troops of Sylhet and Mymensingh. The sector headquarters was at Hejamara. Nineteen guerilla bases operated in this sector. By November 1971, the number of the guerilla fighters in the sector stood at nearly thirty thousand. They blew up a number of bridges on Comilla-Sylhet road which cut off Pakistan army's lines of communication. One of their most successful operations was the blowing up of a train by anti-tank mine near Shayestaganj. The ten sub-sectors of this sector (and their commanders) were: Asrambari (Captain Aziz, later replaced by Captain Ejaz); Baghaibari (Captain Aziz, later replaced by Captain Ejaz); Hatkata (Captain Matiur Rahman); Simla (Captain Matin); Panchabati (Captain Nasim); Mantala (Captain MSA Bhuyan); Vijoynagar (Captain MSA Bhuyan); Kalachhara (Lieutenant Majumdar); Kalkalia (Lieutenant Golam Helal Morshed); and Bamutia (Lieutenant Sayeed).
Sector 4 comprised of the area from Habiganj sub-division of Sylhet district on the north to Kanaighat thana on the south along the 100 mile long border with India. The sector was organised from amongst the EPR troops of Sylhet and student freedom fighters. The sector commander was Major Chittarajan Datta, later replaced by Captain A Rab. The headquarters of the sector was initially at Karimganj and later at Masimpur in Assam. The freedom fighters in this sector included about nine thousand guerilla fighters and about four thousand regular members of the armed forces. The six sub-sectors of this sector (and their commanders) were: Jalalpur (Masudur Rab Sadi); Barapunji (Captain A Rab); Amlasid (Lieutenant Zahir); Kukital (Flight Lieutenant Kader, later replaced by Captain Shariful Haq); Kailas Shahar (Lieutenant Wakiuzzaman); and Kamalpur (Captain Enam).
Sector 5 comprised of the area from Durgapur to Dauki (Tamabil) of Sylhet district and the entire area upto the eastern borders of the district. Sector commander was Major Mir Shawkat Ali. The headquarters of the sector was at Banshtala. The sector was composed of 800 regulars and 5000 guerillas. The sector covered most of the marshy areas of Sunamganj and Chhatak. The six sub-sectors of this sector (and their commanders) were: Muktapur (Subedar Nazir Hossain, freedom fighter Faruq was second in command); Dauki (Subedar Major BR Chowdhury); Shela (Captain Helal, who had two assistant commanders, Lieutenant Mahbubar Rahman and Lieutenant Abdur Rauf); Bholaganj (Lieutenant Taheruddin Akhunji who had Lieutenant SM Khaled as assistant commander); Balat (Subedar Ghani, later replaced by Captain Salahuddin and Enamul Haq Chowdhury); and Barachhara (Captain Muslim Uddin). Troops of this sector blew up a number of bridges on Sylhet, Tamabil and Sylhet-Sunamgonj roads. The most successful operation of this sector was the raid on Chhatak.
Sector 6 comprised of entire Rangpur district and Thakurgaon subdivision of Dinajpur district. The sector was formed mostly from EPR troops of Rangpur and Dinajpur. Wing Commander M Khdemul Bashar was the sector commander. The headquarters of the sector was at Burimari near Patgram, and this was the only sector which had its headquarters inside Bangladesh territory. The number of soldiers in this sector was 700, which rose to about eleven thousand in December consisting of 2000 regular force and 9000 Gana Bahini. The five sub-sectors of the sector (and their commanders) were: Bhajanpur (Captain Nazrul, later replaced by Squadron leader Sadruddin and Captain Shahriyar); Patgram (initially, some junior commissioned officers of the EPR, and later Captain Matiur Rahman); Sahebganj (Captain Nawazesh Uddin); Mogalhat (Captain Delwar); and Chilahati (Flight Lieutenant Iqbal). The northern areas of Rangpur district were held by the troops of this sector. The guerillas of this sector established 35 bases all over Rangpur and Dinajpur.
Sector 7 comprised of the districts of Rajshahi, Pabna, Bogra and southern part of Dinajpur district. This sector was organised from the EPR troops who had given the initial battles at Rajshahi under Captain Ghiyas and Captain Rashid. The sector commander was Major Nazrul Haq, later replaced by Subedar Major A Rab and Major Kazi Nuruzzaman. The headquarters of the sector was at Tarangapur near Balurghat. About 2500 regulars and 12500 guerillas fought in this sector. The eight sub-sectors of the sector (and their commanders were): Malan (initially some junior commanding officers, and later Captain Mohiuddin Jahangir); Tapan (Major Nazmul Haq, later replaced by some junior commanding officers of the EPR); Mehdipur (Subedar Iliyas, later replaced by Captain Mahiuddin Jahangir); Hamzapur (Captain Idris); Anginabad (a freedom fighter); Sheikhpara (Captain Rashid); Thokrabari (Subedar Muazzam); and Lalgola (Captain Gheyasuddin Chowdhury). The troops of this sector raided Maheskanda and Paragpur in June and the Mohanpur police station in August inflicting heavy casualties to the enemy. Captain Idris, commander of the Hamzapur sub-sector, ambushed several Pakistani columns and blew up a train near Parbatipur.
Pak prisoners captured by freedom fighters: Sector 8 In April 1971, the operational area of the sector comprised the districts of Kushtia, Jessore, Khulna, Barisal, Faridpur and Patuakhali. At the end of May the sector was reconstituted and comprised the districts of Kusthia, Jessore and Khulna, Satkhira sub-division, and the northern part of Faridpur district. The sector commander was Major Abu Osman Chowdhury, later replaced by Major MA Manzur. The headquarters of the sector was at Kalyani. The sector had 3000 regulars and 25,000 guerillas. The regular forces held a number of liberated areas while the guerillas established several bases deep inside Bangladesh. In this sector a new tactics was followed. Regular troops were made to infiltrate 7 of 8 miles inside Bangladesh and take up all-round defence around a tactical feature, thereby inviting the Pakistan army to attack on them. By doing so, they inflicted heavy casualties to the attacking enemy. The seven sub-sectors of the sector (and their commanders) were: Boyra (Captain Khondakar Nazmul Huda); Hakimpur (Captain Shafiq Ullah); Bhomra (Captain Salahuddin, later replaced by Captain Shahabuddin); Lalbazar (Captain AR Azam Chowdhury); Banpur (Captain Mostafizur Rahman); Benapole (Captain Abdul Halim, later replaced by Captain Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury); and Shikarpur (Captain Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, later replaced by Lieutenant Jahangir).
Sector 9 comprised of the districts of Barisal and Patuakhali, and southern part of Khulna and part of Faridpur district. The headquarters of the sector was established at Taki near Bashirhat. The sector commander was Major M Jalil, later replaced by Major MA Manzur and Major Joynal Abedin. The sector had about 20,000 freedom fighters. The three sub-sectors of the sector were: Taki, Hingalganj, and Shamshernagar. In this sectror even regular troops operated deep inside Bangladesh. Captain Shahjahan Omar led a large group of guerillas in Barisal. Captain Mehdi Ali Imam operated in Patuakhali from an established base. Lt Zia organised a huge force in Sundarbans. Captain Huda commanded the bulk of the regular troops near the border. He captured Uksha border outpost in June and kept it liberated throughout. The troops of this sector also raided Debhata Shyamnagar police stations. The water channels of Barisal-Patuakhali area mostly dominated by river patrolling. Prior to the final offensive in December this sector was merged with sector 8 and placed under the command of Major Manzoor.
Sector 10 This sector was constituted with the naval commandos. Eight Bangali officers of Pakistan Navy trained in France were the pioneers in forming this force. These officers were Ghazi Mohammad Rahmatullah (Chief Petty Officer), Syed Mosharraf Hossain (Petty Officer), Amin Ullah Sheikh (Petty Officer); Ahsan Ullah (M E-1), AW Chowdhury (RO-1), Badiul Alam (ME-1), AR Miah (EN-1), Abedur Rahman (Steward-1). These eight officers were given special training on the river Jamuna near Delhi under the auspices of the Indian Navy. They were joined by a number of sailors who had defected from Pakistan Navy. A group of 150 student volunteers were selected from various sectors who were known to be good swimmers and sent to this camp for training. They were trained in fragmenship and use of limpet mines for destruction of ships and vessels. On completion of training in the first week of August, four groups were sent to the ports of Chittagong, Narayanganj, Daudkandi and Mongla for destruction and saboteering of coastal vessels anchored there. On the day of independence of Pakistan, all the four groups striked simultaneously and destroyed a good number of ships and other vessels. The Chittagong group led by AW Choudhury destroyed seven ships including the Pakistani cargo ships MV Ohrmazd and MV Al-Abbas which were carrying huge tonnages of military cargo. Later in October and November, a few more similar operations were carried out sucessfully and a good number of sea-going and coastal vessels were sunk in the ports all over Bangladesh. The force was later commanded by Indian commander MN Sumanta.
Sector 11 comprised of the districts of Tangail and Mymensingh excluding Kishoreganj sub-division. Major M Abu Taher was the sector commander. After Major Taher was seriously wounded in a battle, he was replaced by Squadron Leader Hamidullah. The headquarters of the sector was at Mahendraganj. About twenty five thousand freedom fighters fought in this sector. The eight sub-sectors of the sector (and their commanders) were: Mainkarchar (Squadron Leader Hamidullah); Mahendraganj (Lieutenant Mizan); Purakhasia (Lieutenant Hashim); Dhalu (Lieutenant Taher Ahmed, later replaced by Lieutenant Kamal); Rangra (Matiur Rahman); Shivabari (some junior commanding officers of the EPR); Bagmara (some junior commanding officers of the EPR); and Maheshkhola (a member of the EPR). Guerilla activities were predominant in this sector, and regular forces held librated areas near the border. Subedar Aftab held a huge chunk of liberated territory at Rahumani throughout the nine months of the war. In this sector, even women took up arms to fight the Pakistanis. Besides, Quader Siddiqi, a renowned free lance freedom fighter from Tangail, organized 16,000 guerillas in his district and carried out a number of successful operations against the Pakistan army quite independently.

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