Armed forces called for ‘anti smuggling operation’

Before the general election of 1973, due to large-scale miss appropriation and smuggling there was a big chaos in relief operation. Government was compelled to call the armed forces in aid of civil power to tackle the situation.

The young officers of the army launched themselves with sincerity to bring the situation under control. Their efforts very soon generated hopes among the people. The operation became popular as ‘anti smuggling operation’. The members of the Sena Parishad took a vow that through their dedication and sincerity of purpose they must prove their patriotism at all cost. They must take full advantage of this opportunity. During this operation the young officers and the members of the armed forces came to know the real character of the leaders and the touts of the ruling party. They experienced their greed and lust to make quick fortunes. They got an opportunity to encounter these corrupt leaders and the touts face to face. We the operation commanders decided that we shall not restrict ourselves just catching those truck drivers or the porters who had been carrying the goods across the border risking their lives just to earn a meager lively hood, our main task would be to expose the real culprits and the ring leaders within the power circle, to expose those powerful people who had accumulated enormous wealth on corpses of teaming millions by organising large scale smuggling staying at the background and misusing their offices and powers.

Soon we learned that a big Marwari group from across the border in collaboration with a few influential and powerful Ministers and their kith and keen conducted the smuggling. Gazi Golam Mustafa, the Red Cross chairman, Mr. Sheikh Naser, younger brother of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Mr. Mansoor Ali, the home Minister, his son Mr. Nasim and Mr. Hasnat, son of Mr. Sherniyebat were alleged to be involved with the Marwaries according to the intelligence reports. The investigation carried out by the operational commanders in Jessore Khulna and Dinaj Pur Sectors also suggested the same. Taking all risks we started rounding up the culprits and exposing them to the people. The officers and the troops realised that the political leaders are the root of all evils. It is with their connivance that the looters have made the country bankrupt. They also found how correct the Sena Parishad was in its analysis and assessments. It’s image thus enhanced in the eyes of the rank and file. They also realised that the risky initiatives that were taken by the members of the Sena Parishad to educate and motivate them was not for any ulterior motive but were under taken out of sheer patriotism.

They became more respectful of the leaders of the Sena Parishad. Their images and popularity within armed forces and in the country also increased. Here I shall write about one event that took place during the anti smuggling operation. The readers will get a fair idea about the character of the government from this event. The operation commander of Dirajpur one day sent a message to the central control at Dhaka that four top most Marwari smugglers have runaway from his area and have taken shelter at the residence of the Home Minister with the help of Mr. Nasim, his son. Decision was taken to raid the residence of the Home Minister. But due to the interference of the army headquarters that plan had to be abandoned The army headquarters intervened at the personal instruction of the Prime Minister. After this incident the government became apprehensive about the army operation. Due to this operation army’s popularity was increasing on the other hand the government and the ruling party was getting exposed causing lot of embarrassments. The government and the ruling Awami League were in a dilemma. What is to be done? However, due to the success of the operation and the pressure of the donners the government reluctantly had to gave additional responsibility to the army to carry and distribute food grains all over the country. We started ‘operation food’. The army achieved tremendous sucesses in this operation as well due to their sincere efforts and sacrifices. A section of the ruling party resented the decision to give the additional responsibilities to the armed forces. Pressure was created on the Prime Minister to stop the army operation immediately and to withdraw the armed forces to the barracks. The Prime Minister succumbed to this pressure. He called off the operation and ordered the armed forces back to the cantonments. Thus party interest was given precedence over the national interest. The members of the armed forces and the people became frustrated at this decision of the government.