Col. Taher was a patriot and a pro people commander

Comilla brigade launched pro people activities. Awami League did not like it. Col. Tahir was removed from the command.

Once Maj. Gen. Ziaru Rahman became the DCOAS Col. Muhammed Abu Taher was posted as our Brigade Commander. I knew Col Taher from Pakistan days and we had similar thoughts and ideas. We maintained very close contact through out the liberation war. He was a patriot and an idealist. Because of his warm heartedness and character we all loved him. He was also well respected by the troops.

It was a gigantic task to organize an army in a wartorne country. Our resources were almost negligible. Arms and ammunitions equipments, uniforms, training materials and other necessary supplies were inadequate. Under the leadership of Col Taher we decided that while rebuilding Comilla cantonment and make it habitable we shall also help the people within our operation areas in the reconstruction works. We shall help to restore the houses, schools, hospitals, colleges, bridges, road communication, irrigation system etc. We shall also help providing primary health care and education. The spirit of the liberation war inspired us to under take such activities. The people appreciated our initiatives and welcomed us warmly. With such initiatives we could generate a feeling among the people that there is a difference in the ideals and values of Bangladesh army and that of the occupation army of earst while Pakistan. Bangladesh army is patriotic and is committed to serve the people. This army can not be used as a tool of repression. Our actions not only made the army more popular but the people’s trust and confidence on us also heightened significantly. Shortly words about our constructive activities spread like wild fire all over the country. Our positive initiative achieved tremendous success and caught the imagination of the patriotic sections of the armed forces in other formations and the units. Many of them got inspired and started taking similar steps. Soon the Awami League government as well as the reactionary section of the armed forces became alarmed and worried. Such growing relation between the masses and members of the armed forces and the appreciation and trust that the patriotic section of the armed forces earned from the people were considered detrimental to the interests of the rulers. At that point of time there was a relief operation going on all over Bangladesh to assist the people in their rehabilitation. Due to the corruption of the central and local Awami League leadership the people were not getting their due share. Within our operational areas, we took initiative to stop all kind of malpractices and ensured proper distribution of the relief materials. Due to such intervention the genuine needy people got their due. This directly harmed the interests of the Awami Leaguers and they became furious. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman asked Maj.Gen. Shafiullah to issue orders to stop all such pro-people activities. To justify such orders it was stated that army was not a charitable organization.

At the end of 1972 suddenly Col. Taher was removed from the command and was posted to the army headquarters. He was removed from the command for his patriotism and pro people thoughts and ideas. With his posting one thing became evident that we were also being closely watched. The reason given by the authorities for his removal was that he was a disable person and hence could not remain in active command. He was considered fit only for staff appointments. Major Jalil meanwhile had voluntarily retired from the army and had formed Jatiyo Sahmaj Tantric Dal.