Spark that created the prairie fire                                                                            

Within days after the dreadful night of 25-36th March 1971, Pakistan army brought Dhaka city under control. The government announcements in the radio and TV helped to bring back normalcy. All government servants were asked to report back to duties forthwith. However, the nation was at war.

The clarion call of Maj. Zia ignited the whole nation. In response to his call Bengali members of the East Bengal Regiments, EPR, police, ansars, mujahids, plunged themselves into the armed resistance all over East Pakistan. Although Dhaka was under the control of Pakistan army, the freedom fighters captured the out laying areas. Chittagong, Khulna, Comilla, Noakhali, Jessore, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Dinajpur and the rest of East Pakistan were under the control of the freedom fighters. Local administration, political leaders, workers, students, and the people joined with the revolting Bengali members of the armed forces every where. The whole of East Pakistan thus turned into a battlefield. These battles were fought at different places. Newly formed Mukti Bahini was resisting the army every where courageously. The soldiers were training the freedom fighters at their own initiatives with whatever resources they could muster. Every thing was spontaneous and make shift arrangement. Army was sending reinforcements to recapture the lost cities and the towns. As a result Pak army could regain most of the cities and the towns by the first week of April. As a defensive tactics the freedom fighters decided to withdraw to the countryside and reorganize the Mukti Bahini for a long drawn guerrilla war. Hundreds and thousands of refugees had crossed over to India and took shelter. Majority of the refugees were Hindu minorities. The Indian government through their media gave tacit support to the cause of the Bengalis. Some of the Mukti Bahini commanders crossed over to India temporarily to reorganize themselves. It was not possible at all to fight frontal battles against well-equipped and highly trained Pak army. Therefore, decision was taken by the commanders to wage a guerrilla war. Independence could only be achieved through a prolonged national liberation war.