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1972–1975 Bangladesh insurgency

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Bangladeshi Communist Insurgency
Part of Cold War

Insurgency largely subdued

Supported by:
Marxist insurgents:
Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal
MLM insurgents:
Purba Banglar Sarbahara Party
Commanders and leaders
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
A. N. M. Nuruzzaman
Abu Taher
M. A. Jalil
ASM Abdur Rab
Hasanul Haq Inu
Siraj Sikder
Units involved
  • Gonobahini
  • unspecified
    Casualties and losses
    unknown 60,000 killed (JSD claim)
    2,000 killed (neutral assessment)

    1972–1975 Bangladesh insurgency refers to the period after the independence of Bangladesh when left-wing Communist insurgents, particularly the Gonobahini fought against the government of the Prime Minister Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.[1][2][3]

    The government responded by forming the Jatiya Rakkhi Bahini, which began a crackdown on the general populace.[1] The force became involved in the numerous charges of human rights abuse including political killings,[4][5][6] shooting by death squads,[7] and large number of rapes on womans.[6]


    In 1972, Jatiyo Samajtantrik Dal was formed when it split from Bangladesh Chhatra League, the student wing of the Bangladesh Awami League, under the leadership of Serajul Alam Khan, M. A. Jalil, ASM Abdur Rab and Shahjahan Siraj. Its armed wing, Gonobahini, led by Colonel Abu Taher and Hasanul Haq Inu, began an armed campaign against the government of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in order to establish scientific socialism and a Marxist state.[8]

    Political killings[edit]

    Anthony Mascarenhas states that by the end of 1973, the number of politically motivated murders in Bangladesh after independence was over 2000. The victims included some members of parliament and many of the murders were resulted of intra-party conflicts within the Awami League.[9] The Gonobahini also killed numerous Bangladesh Chhatra League and Awami League members.[2]

    On the other hand, Maoists such as Siraj Sikder of the Purba Banglar Sarbahara Party and Abdul Haq began attacking the government and people whom they considered "class enemies".[10][11]

    The government responded by forming the Jatiya Rakkhi Bahini. Anthony Mascarenhas claimed that within three years, deaths of mostly Jatiyo Samajtantrik Dal members reached 30,000, all of which were killed by the Jatiya Rakkhi Bahini. [9]

    End of insurgency[edit]

    After being de facto ruler of the nation, Ziaur Rahman realized that the disorder set off by the soldiers' mutiny had to be suppressed firmly if discipline was to be restored in the army. Ziaur Rahman declared martial law, cracked down on the Jatiyo Samajtantrik Dal, Abu Taher was sentenced to death and other party figures had various terms of imprisonment slapped on them.[11]


    Human Rights Watch states that institutionalized violence committed by the Jatiya Rakkhi Bahini during the insurgency, established the culture of impunity and widespread prevalence of abuses by security forces in independent Bangladesh.[4]


    1. ^ a b c d e Ahamed, Emajuddin (2004). "The Military and Democracy in Bangladesh" (PDF). In May, R. J.; Selochan, Viberto (eds.). The Military and Democracy in Asia and the Pacific. Sydney: Australian National University Press. pp. 108–110. ISBN 1-9209420-0-9.
    2. ^ a b "JS sees debate over role of Gono Bahini". The Daily Star. 4 July 2014. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
    3. ^ "Rizvi now blasts Inu at press briefing". The Daily Star. UNB. 15 June 2016. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
    4. ^ a b "Ignoring Executions and Torture : Impunity for Bangladesh's Security Forces" (PDF). Human Rights Watch. 18 March 2009. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
    5. ^ রক্ষীবাহিনীর নৃশংসতা মধ্যযুগীয় বর্বরতাকেও হার মানিয়েছিল. Amar Desh (in Bengali). 16 January 2011. Archived from the original on 17 January 2011.
    6. ^ a b Fair, Christine C.; Riaz, Ali (2010). Political Islam and Governance in Bangladesh. Routledge. pp. 30–31. ISBN 978-1-136-92624-2.
    7. ^ Chowdhury, Atif (18 February 2013). "Bangladesh: Baptism By Fire". Huffington Post. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
    8. ^ Hossain, Kazi Mobarak (13 March 2016). "Hasanul Haq Inu's JaSoD splits as he names Shirin general secretary". Dhaka Tribune. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
    9. ^ a b Mascarenhas, Anthony (1986). Bangladesh: A Legacy of Blood. London: Hodder and Stoughton. p. 37. ISBN 978-0-340-39420-5.
    10. ^ Alim, Syed Fattahul (1 February 2012). "Has Left Politics any Future?". Forum. Vol. 6, no. 2. The Daily Star. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
    11. ^ a b Ahsan, Syed Badrul (7 July 2015). "Bourgeois dreams of socialist revolution". The Daily Observer. Retrieved 13 July 2016.