Indian grand design and the Mujibnagar government

Indian government and its intelligence agency RAW took full advantage of the power straggle within Awami League and played divide and rule to undermine the Prime Minister and the Commander-In-Chief.

Many among the Awamileague did not like Mr. Tajuddin as the Prime Minister. Some of the youth and student leaders were very vocal about their displeasure. Some central leaders and many elected members also were against this hurried decision to make Mr. Tajuddin the Prime Minister and were supporting those young leaders tacitly. Among those young leaders prominent were Sheikh Fazlul Haq Moni, Shirajul Alam Khan. Abdur Razzak, Tofayel Ahmad, ASM Rab, Shajahan Shiraj, Nure Alam Siddiqui and Abdul Quddus Makhan. They were openly criticizing Tajuddin as a power hungry usurper. They virtually refused to accept his leadership and were organizing against him. They were given support by the prominent leaders such as Abdur Rab Sherniabat, Sheikh Abdul Aziz, Mansur Ali, Nazrul Islam among others. General Arora commented once about Mr. Tajuddin, "The younger lots within Awamilegue did not like Tajuddin". (This comment was later printed in his ‘Reminiscence of the independence war of Bangladesh 1971’. This was edited and printed by Proshika’s Rahman development centre.) Many of these young leaders thought Sheikh Mujib is not alive any more. In absence of Sheikh Mujib Tajuddin will exert his power that was not acceptable to them. If Mujib was there, than these leaders could easily maintain their sway the flow of events. But after Tajuddin had became the Prime Minister he was trying to curb their influence. He refused to be a pawn in their hands and refused to give them a freehand to do things, as they liked. It was alleged that he was also undermining their contribution. He is virtually ignoring these leaders in running the provisional government. He was simply audacious that is what those leaders thought. If he was in power then their comfort, privilege and power would wither away very soon. He was also not giving due importance to Sheikh Mujib’s relations and close associates. Betraying them tantamounts to betray Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He has to be reduced to size. These leaders in connivance with the others started a power struggle. As part of their plan Sheikh Fazalul Haq Moni, and Shirajul Alam Khan led a delegation of youths and students and went up to Delhi. There they had a meeting with Madame Indira Ghandi. They told her that they were the most trusted leutinants of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. They also said that they suspected Mr. Tajuddin had a hand in getting Sheikh Mujib arrested. They claimed Sheikh Mujib himself hinted about this before he was arrested and instructed these leaders to seek help from Indian government and continue the struggle up to the end to fulfill his dream. He never trusted Tajuddin completely as he was found over ambitious. Most of the elected representatives also do not have confidence on Tajuddin, under such conditions it had been a mistake to make him the Prime Minister as his loyalty is doubtful. As he does not have the required support, he has no right to be the Prime Minister. To justify what ever they said they handed over a letter written by one of Sheikh Mujib’s relation Mr. Abdur Rab Sharniabat addressed to Madame Indira Gandhi and also produced the eldest son of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Sheikh Kamal. They also warned Indira Gandhi that if Tajuddin remains as the Prime Minister then India’s interest would also be hampered because Mr. Tajuddin has his own agenda and will not implement the programme of Sheikh Mujib or anyone else. They urged Indira Gandhi for the help to organize and to train the Mujib loyals under their supervision and joint leadership. They further said that only by raising such a force long term goals of Bangladesh and friendly country India could be ensured now and in post independent Bangladesh. Otherwise they cautioned that Awamileague government will fall pray in the hands of anti Indian forces in future. Mrs. Indira Gandhi noted their submission with concern and great interest. Concidering long-term benefits the decision was taken to form Bangladesh Liberation Force (BLF), later termed Mujib Bahini under the Indian blueprint. It was a classical manifestation of ‘divide and rule’ policy at the same time an attempt to create a second front for the future. This is how BLF or Mujib Bahini was formed. We informed all these to Col. Osmani and he in turn passed on to the Prime Minister Mr. Tajuddin in confidence. Later, Mr. Tajuddin raised this issue with the Indian authorities in Delhi with a note of resentment but people like Mr. Haksar, D.P. Dhar, Mr. Rama Nath Rao of RAW and Gen. Oban Singh easily side tracked the issue and remained silent and unconcerned to Mr. Tajuddin’s grievance. Mr. Tajuddin returned from Delhi disappointed and unsuccessful. Col. Osmani told us later that Mr. Tajuddin failed to change the Indian decision completely. They just gave a deaf hearing to his protest. However, at later stage Mr. Tajuddin and Col. Osmani tried their utmost to bring this Special Bahini under the control of Mujibnagar government but failed to succeed. Finally both Col. Osmani and Mr. Tajuddin had to concede to the Indian design.

The Indian intelligence agencies and the concerned Indian authorities were not only working through the provisional government alone but very cleverly they were also trying to infiltrate among the freedom fighters so that they could keep pressure on the provisional government by applying age old tactics divide and rule. On the other hand they were also trying to create contradictions between Tajuddin Ahmad and Col. Osmani to undermine Col. Osmani’s power as the Commander-in-Chief. Moreover, attempts were also made by the Indian intelligence to establish direct contacts with the successful and popular commanders individually to get their allegiance. As these designs were gradually unfolding, Col. Osmani became even more convinced about the evil Indian design. As a result he always tried to resist all anti-national moves to his utmost. And for that on many occasions while vital decisions were taken the Indian authorities and the Awami League government sidetracked. That is what happened throughout the liberation war.

Col. Osmani’s position was very clear. Indian government according to their own statement is supporting the Bengalis on humanitarian grounds, for that the nation will remain ever grateful. But the independence struggle is necessarily is the struggle of 8 crores Bengalis. It is their own struggle. It should be left to them to organise and fight. Independence should be achieved with their own sacrifices. The whole responsibilities of this war should be with the Mukti Fauj command and the provisional government. Col. Osmani never compromised on this principle. He had many bitter encounters with the leaders of the provisional government. Unfortunately most of the political leaders and elected representatives of Awami League did not support him on his stand. They were always bussy in strengthening their own sphere of influence. There prevailed a strange equation among them. Not only the politicians but many bureaucrats and some opportunist freedom fighter commanders also had similar problems. When the resistance movement had started, most of these self-seekers from all over East Pakistan looted enormous wealth and managed to cross over to India to a safe heaven. Most of these so-called leaders neither had any interest to take active part in the war nor they were capable to provide any leadrship in a bloody war. They were also reluctant to take any risk or to make any sacrifice. I feel ashamed as a freedom fighter to reveal that many so called leaders; the noted intellectuals and high officials who crossed over to India were openly skeptical about the success of the liberation war. They had a shameful negative out look and attitude towards the freedom struggle and the sacrifices that were made by the valiant freedom fighters. They thought that the Bengali freedom fighters would never be able to defeat the Pakistan army and achieve independence. These are the people who openly advocated in favor of Indian army’s direct intervention in our struggle. They wanted that Indian army should get involved directly and liberate Bangladesh so that they could return after their ‘Haj’ and regain their reign at the shortest possible time to enjoy the enormous wealth they had accumulated through loots.

As ‘hajis’ they will easily capture their positions in the independent Bangladesh. Accordingly these opportunists started an organized campaign with the different lobbies within the Indian corridors of power from the very beginning. Only two persons had resolutely opposed this vicious campaign all along. They were Col. Osmani and Khandaker Mustaq Ahmed at the leadership level. Beside these two, rest all advocated in favour of Indian direct intervention sooner or later. These are the lot who were to a great extent responsible for the premature birth of Bangladesh through a scissorian operation. However, most of the freedom fighters and the younger cadres of the civil service and the conscientious patriotic people were against any such independence that would come as a charity. On this issue the difference of opinion between the patriots and the capitulations sharpened every passing day.