March 28 is ‘Rangpur Cantonment Siege Day’ and an unforgettable day for the people of Rangpur.
The armed struggle of the Liberation War started on March 26, just one day after the official start of the War of Liberation. On this day in 1971, the freedom-loving protestors of Rangpur surrounded the Rangpur Cantonment with sticks, bows and arrows and gave birth to a unique history.
The attempt of encircling Rangpur Cantonment in a bid to capture it at the supreme sacrifice of around 600 heroic Bangalees on March 28, 1971 remains as a scintillating example of Bengali valour.
A valiant participant in that attempt and Ekushey Padak winner heroic freedom fighter Majibar Rahman Master said the Bangalees showed the unique heroism only three days after the Pakistan army's crackdown on innocent Bangalees on March 25, 1971.
As many as 30,000 Bangalees irrespective of caste, creed and religion as per the call of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in his historic March 7 speech attempted to capture the cantonment on that day.
"Supreme sacrifice of hundreds of independence-seeker heroic Bangalees while surrounding the cantonment that day ignited the sleeping heroism in every Bangalee to participate in the Great War of Liberation to achieve independence," Rahman said.
According to the famous book 'Juddhe Juddhe Swadhinota' written by Major Nasir Uddin, tens of hundreds of Bangalees irrespective of caste, creed and religion rushed towards Nishbetganj on the Ghagot river bank in Rangpur city that day.
"The independence-seeker Bangalee Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists, Oraon, Santal and other ethnic communities equipped with indigenous, lethal and sharp weapons, spears, arrows and bows attempted to capture the cantonment," the book wrote.
The independence-seeker Bangalees had been assembling from the south and southwestern areas from 4 to 5 pm there to capture the cantonment at any cost.
At one stage, Awami League (AL) leader Sheikh Amjad Hossain chaired an unplanned sudden meeting addressed by its leader Majibar Rahman Master and CPB leader Comrade Sayer Uddin when thousands assembled at Nishbetganj to march towards the cantonment.
"The 23rd Brigade Headquarters of the Pakistani Army was then stationed at Rangpur cantonment and the third Bengal Regiment, 26th Regiment and 23rd Cavalry Regiment and its associate forces and 29th Tank Bahini were under its command," the book wrote.
Like in the previous years, the district administration and other organisations have taken up programmes including placing wreaths at the Nishbetganj Baddhyabhumi Smriti Soudha 'Rakta Gaurab' tomorrow to pay rich tribute to the heroic martyrs.
Different organisations will bring out rallies bearing indigenous weapons used while attacking the cantonment followed by gathering of heroic freedom fighters, political leaders and common people today at Nishbetganj in the city.