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DHAKA: On the “Black Night” of March 25, 1971 the Pakistan army launched simultaneous attacks on Dhaka University, Peelkhana and Rajarbagh Police Lines.
Peelkhana was the headquarters of the para-military East Pakistan Rifles (EPR), now Border Guard of Bangladesh.
They also attacked and burned two pro-Awami League dailies — The People and Ittefaq, that day.
The Pakistan army had planned to launch the operation at 11 am but due to inefficiency it was delayed by half-an-hour.
When the tanks moved out from the Dhaka cantonment along with armored vehicles, field guns and troops-laden trucks they had to face resistance from the local population who had built barricades along all the major thoroughfares by felling trees.
The Pakistan army disposed off the volunteers manning the barricades by shooting them down and drove past the barricades.
When they reached Peelkhana they were faced with a volley of bullets. At Rajarbagh the policemen also fought back. In Dhaka University there was little resistance as the student political activists had already left the campus.
The EPR soldiers fought bravely and the battle spilled onto Dhanmandi’s Sat Masjid Road well into February 27, 1971 where there were hand-to-hand combats. Later, the EPR personnel retreated through the southern gates to join the resistance.
The Commissioner of DMP Asaduzzaman Miah said, “In Rajarbagh with only 303 rifles at their disposal the policemen took up position in the rooftops of nearby residential buildings of Shantinagar and Chamelibagh.
The battle continued for an hour but the policemen were hopelessly outgunned and many of them died while others retreated to join the Liberation War. About 150 of them were taken prisoners by the Pakistanis”.
He also said that a book “Police in the Liberation War” was published, which was edited by A S M Shamsul Arefin.
Although, the Pak army occupied all three of the targets on March 25, 1971 but the first round of resistance in Dhaka city continued, sporadically, till April 6, 1971