Battle of Atgram

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The Battle of Atgram Complex, fought on 21 November 1971 between the 5 Gorkha Rifles of the Indian Army and the 31 Punjabs of the Pakistan Army, was one of the first engagements between the two opposing forces that preceded the formal initiation of hostilities of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, and also one of the first large scale assaults launched by the Indian army against East Pakistani forces preluding to the 1971 war.


The battle was fought on the border village Atgram, in the Sylhet District of then East Pakistan, approximately 35 kilometres from the (then)East Pakistani town of Sylhet. The village lay across the Surma River, which served as a de facto border, separating East Pakistan from the Cachar District of Assam, India.

The target of the Indian operation was the Atgram complex. Situated two kilometres inside the International Border across the River Surma, Atgram served as a major road communication centre at the eastern edge of Sylhet Division of East Pakistan, connecting it with Zakiganj to the south opposite the Indian Border town of Karimganj. The complex itself comprised a Pakistani border outpost on the River Surma, a Masjid close to the outpost and the village of Atgram itself. The site was held by a defending force of the B company of the 31 Punjab Regiment, Pakistan Army, along with additional elements of Mujahids, Thal/Tochi Scouts and the Pakistan Rangers under Major Azhar Alvi, supported by Medium Machine Guns (MMGs), Recoilless Guns (RCLs), Chinese Rocket Launchers and 81 millimetre mortars. Surrounded by low lying marshes, nearly knee deep, Atgram itself lay on a higher ground. The Battalion Headquarter of 31 Punjab was reported to be located at Charkhai with some troops 10 kilometres west of Atgram.