Defence of KamalPur

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Defence of Kamalpur
Date 14 November – 4 December 1971 [1]
Location Kamalpur-border area in Northern Bangladesh
Result Pakistani troops were ordered to surrendered on the radio
Belligerents
Flag of Bangladesh.svg
Bangladesh
Flag of India.svg
India
Flag of Pakistan.svg
Pakistan
Commanders and leaders
Major Moinul Hossain Brigadier Hardev Singh Kler Captain Ahsan Malik
Strength
Two companies of the 1st East Bengal Regiment 95 Brigade Group (4000) 70 soldiers of 31 Baluch, 70 Paramilitary Pakistan (140)
Casualties and losses
unknown unknown unknown

The Defence of Kamalpur refers to the battle fought at Kamalpur near the border in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 and Bangladesh Liberation War. The Defence of Kamalpur, a hamlet on the border, by Captain Ahsan Malik and his 140 men would be an epic in any army's history. He had seventy soldiers of 31 Baloch and the same number of para-military troops; all fought magnificently against great odds.

Battle[edit]

Attacks against Pakistani border outposts in the north had begun in July. These were mounted by Mukti Bahini, mainly former members of East Pakistan's regular forces, but failed to make any impression. Further attacks on Kamalpur, a kilometre from the border, came on 22 October and 14 November, the latter being made by 13 Guards Battalion (of Kler's brigade), which established blocking positions to the south. Malik was cut off and his CO, Lt. Col. Sultan Ahmed tried to relive him and the other two outposts (Naqshi and Baromari, to the east) without success. On 29 November (all this before 'war' broke out) Major Ayub of 31 Baloch tried to resupply Malik's tiny garrison but failed.

Kler tried to take Kamalpur on the run, using Mukti Bahini troops, and failed.[2][3] He then mounted a battalion attack by 1 Maratha Light Infantry on the forty men and four 120mm mortars of 83 Mortar battery and overran them, suffering one casualty. Kler then 'decided to lay siege to Kamalpur and break down its will to resist', according to General Sukhwant Singh.[4] Getting wary because of casualties, successive failures and demoralisation among the attacking troops, he decided to starve out the garrison by a prolonged siege.[3]' A brigade is demoralised by a company? Sukhwant Singh knew that there was no Pakistani Artillery in this sector, only two troops of mortars, but states that Kler was '...further handicapped inasmuch as one of his battalions had just been reorganised from (a unit) raised initially for counterinsurgency with no support elements. In tackling a weak platoon post, another battalion brought out some weaknesses of leadership under fire. The battalion reached its objective with relatively few casualties. As expected, the enemy turned mortar fire on the objective. A mortar bomb landed on the trench occupied by four men close to the commanding officer (Colonel). He saw limbs fly and lost his nerve.'[5]

On the other hand Captain Ahsan Malik did not lose his nerve when much worse was happening in his area and he was fighting an unwinnable battle against overwhelming odds.

At about 0930 on 4 December, 'after withdrawing his troops from close siege, Kler 'hammered the post with seven sorties of MiG 21s firing rockets and cannon and this was repeated twice later in the day'.[6] Maj. General Gurbux Singh (commander of the north region) himself entered affairs by sending Captain Malik a note by a Mukti Bahini courier:'...whatever you decide to do we have every intention of eliminating Kamalpur post. It is to save you and our side casualties this message is being sent to you...'. He sent another note after a further air strike and this was met, as had been the other messages, by increased firing by Malik's men. But it could not go on, Malik received the order by radio to surrender, which he did at 1900 that day.

'He had,'as Sukhwant Singh goes on to say,'put up a courageous stand....and surrendered after holding a brigade of besiegers for 21 days....Sam Manekshaw sent a personal congratulatory message to Malik commending his defiant stand.' and wrote 'Militarily his performance was excellent'.[4][7]

Maj. Gen. Gurbux Singh decided to meet Malik personally but, while being driven towards Kamalpur by Kler to meet the brave Captain, their jeep went over a mine and he was badly wounded.

When Captain Ahsan Malik's force was taken in, it was found that his company was nearly out of ammunition, barring a few hand grenades and a few bullets each. They were ready to fling themselves on the enemy with daggers and bayonets if it came to that, until they realized that the piece of territory they were defending was already a different country. Nothing remained there to die for.

When he returned to Pakistan, he was decorated with a Sitara-e-Jurrat which is the third highest military award in Pakistan. Later on, Field Marshal Manekshaw acknowledged the bravery of his men in a letter written to his Pakistani counterpart.

Awards[edit]

  • Captain Ahsan Malik, 31 Baloch of Pakistan Army, was decorated with a Sitara-e-Jurrat.

From: Capt Retd ALi Muhammad Bangash, ex engineer officer, 31 Baloch, Jamalpur Cantt. There have been fought two famous battles in Kamalpur.One on night 31 July/1 August 1971 when First East Bangal attacked it.Lt Ali Muhammad Shah was commanding it.He had joined us on Secondment from First Baloch. The most famous battle of Kamalpur was fout under command of Capt Ahsan Siddique Malik of 31 Baloch.He had to surrender on 4 December 1971. At that time I was commanding Bahadurabad Ghat Ferry Site. Thanks, Ali Muhammad Bangash,Main Bazar Hangu,KPK, Pakistan. 15 November 2012

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ A. S. M. Nasim (2002). Bangladesh fights for independence. Columbia Prokashani. p. 255. Retrieved 27 February 2012. 
  2. ^ Brian Cloughley (2002). A History Of The Pakistan Army: Wars And Insurrections Second Edition With A New Chapter On The Kargil Issue. Lancer. p. 202. ISBN 978-81-7062-283-3. Retrieved 27 February 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Dr Nuran Nabi (27 August 2010). Bullets of '71: A Freedom Fighter's Story. AuthorHouse. pp. 356–. ISBN 978-1-4520-4378-4. Retrieved 27 February 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Sukhwant Singh (19 July 2009). India's Wars Since Independence. Lancer Publishers. p. 162. ISBN 978-1-935501-13-8. Retrieved 27 February 2012. 
  5. ^ Economic and political weekly. Sameeksha Trust. 1977. p. 1325. Retrieved 27 February 2012. 
  6. ^ Lachhman Singh (1991). Victory in Bangladesh. Natraj Publishers. p. 151. Retrieved 27 February 2012. 
  7. ^ Times of India (1971). OFFICIAL 1971 WAR HISTORY. History Division, Ministry of Defence, Government of India. 

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Sukhwant Singh (1981). India's wars since Independence-The Liberation of Bangladesh, Vol. 1. Vikas Publishing House. ISBN 0-7069-1057-5. 
  • Brian Cloughley (2006). A history of the Pakistan Army - Wars and Insurrections Third Edition. Ameena Saiyid, Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-547334-5. 

Further reading[edit]

  1. Brian Cloughley. A History of Pakistan Army Wars and Insurrections Third Edition
  2. Major General Sukhwant Singh. India’s Wars Since Independence Vol.1 : The Liberation of Bangladesh

From Capt Retd Ali Muhammad Bangash, ex engineer officer of 31 Baloch,Jamalpur Cantt. I was commanding Bahadurabad Ferry Post during the war.I had watched SU 7s diving on Kamalpur Border Out Post. Lt Col Raja Sultan Ahmed, Sitara e Jurrat of 1965 war was commanding 31 Baloch.He died as Brigadier Retd Raja Sultan Ahmed, SJ Bar. Kindly correct his name. He is the author of " The Stolen Victory". I am Lt Ali, Engineers of that book. Lt Col Sultan Mahmood was killed while commanding 32 Baloch in Siraj G