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The Bangladesh Liberation War started on 26 March 1971 and ended on 16 December 1971. Some of the major events of the war are listed in the timeline below.


Interactive Timeline of the Bangladesh Liberation War

Before the war

  • 1 March: General Yahya Khan calls off the session of National Council to be held on 3 March in a radio address.[1]
  • 7 March: Sheikh Mujibur Rahman – leader of Awami League party that had won a landslide victory in East Pakistan in the Federal Elections in 1970, but never been granted authority – announces to a jubilant crowd at the Dhaka Race Course ground, "The struggle this time is the struggle for our emancipation! The struggle this time is the struggle for independence!".[2]
  • 9 March: Workers of Chittagong port refuse to unload weapons from the ship 'Swat'.
  • 10 March: Expatriate Bengali students demonstrate in front of the United Nations Headquarters and calls for UN intervention to put an end to violence on Bengali people.[3]
  • 16 March: Yahya Khan starts negotiation with Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
  • 19 March: Nearly 50 people die as Pakistan Army opens fire on demonstrators at Jaydevpur.[4]
  • 24 March: Pakistan Army opens fire on Bengali demonstrators in Syedpur, Rangpur and Chittagong. More than a thousand people are killed.[5]

Events during the War


  • 25 March: Pakistan Army starts Operation Searchlight in Dhaka and rest of the country, attacking general civilians, political activists, students, and Bengali members of armed forces and police
  • 26 March: At 1.15 AM, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is arrested by the Pakistani 3 commando unit.[6][7][8][9] Independence of Bangladesh is declared by Father of the nation BongoBondhu Sheikh Mujibiur Rahman few minutes before he was arrested by Pakistani occupation army. At 2.30 pm Independence of Bangladesh was declared by Awami league leader of Chittagong M. A. Hannan on behalf of Bongobondhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman from Kalurghat. This is Bangladesh's official Independence Day.
  • 27 March: Independence of Bangladesh is again declared by Maj. Ziaur Rahman on behalf of Father of the Nation Bongobondhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.[9][10]
  • 31 March: Kushtia resistance begins.



  • 5 May: Gopalpur massacre.[11]
  • 15 May: Indian army starts aiding Mukti Bahini.[12]
  • 20 May:The Chuknagar massacre takes place at Khulna where the Pakistan army kills nearly 10 thousand people
  • 24 May: Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra finds home in Kolkata.


  • 11–17 July: Sector Commanders Conference 1971.


  • 1 August: The Concert for Bangladesh in Madison Square Garden, New York by George Harrison and friends.
  • 16 August: Operation Jackpot, Bangladesh naval commando operation.
  • 20 August: Flight Lieutenant Matiur Rahman's attempt to defect by hijacking a fighter.
  • 30 August: Pakistan Army crackdown on Dhaka guerrillas.[13]



  • 13 October: Dhaka guerrillas kill Abdul Monem Khan, governor of East Pakistan.
  • 28 October: Battle of Dhalai Outpost, Srimongol.
  • 31 October to 3 November: Battle of Dhalai: Indian attack from Tripura into East Pakistan to stop Pakistani cross-border shelling.


  • 9 November: Six small ships constitute the first fleet of Bangladesh Navy.
  • 16 November: Battle of Ajmiriganj, an 18-hour encounter between Mukti Bahini and Pakistan army. A famous freedom fighter, Jagatyoti Das, is martyred.
  • 20 to 21 November: Battle of Garibpur: Indian attack in Boyra salient in East Pakistan
  • 21 November: Bangladesh Armed Forces is formed.
  • 22 November to 13 December, and sporadic fighting to 16 December: Battle of Hilli: Indian attack on Bogra in East Pakistan.

December (The 1971 Bangladesh-Indo-Pakistan War)

  • 3 December: Bangladesh Air Force destroys Pakistani oil depots.[14] Pakistani air attacks on India result in India declaring war on Pakistan.
  • 4 December : Battle of Longewala; Indians stop a Pakistani invasion directed at Jaisalmer.
  • 5 December : Battle of Basantar; Indians attack and take over Pakistani territory opposite Jammu.
  • 6 December: Bhutan becomes the first country to recognise Bangladesh after India. Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra becomes Bangladesh Betar.
  • 7 December: Liberation of Jessore, Sylhet and Moulovi Bazar.
  • 8 December: Operation Python: Indian naval attack on Karachi, West Pakistan.
  • 9 December: Battle of Kushtia: Indian attack from West Bengal into East Pakistan.
Chandpur and Daudkandi liberated.
  • 10 December: Liberation of Laksham. Two Bangladeshi ships sunk mistakenly by Indian air attack.
  • 11 December: Liberation of Hilli, Mymenshingh, Kushtia and Noakhali. USS Enterprise is deployed by the USA in the Bay of Bengal to intimidate Indian Navy.
  • 13 December: Soviet Navy deploys a group of warships to counter USS Enterprise.
  • 14 December: Selective genocide of Bengali nationalist intellectuals. Liberation of Bogra.
  • 16 December: End of the Bangladesh Liberation War. Mitro Bahini takes Dhaka. East Pakistan Army surrenders to Mitro Bahini represented by Jagjit Singh Aurora of the Indian Army faction of the military coalition.
Freedom of Bangladeshi people.
  • 22 December: The provisional government of Bangladesh arrives in Dhaka from exile.

See also


  1. March 1, 1971 – Liberation War Museum
  2. Ahmed, Helal Uddin (2012). "Seventh March Address". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A.. Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. 
  3. March 10, 1971 – Liberation War Museum
  4. March 19, 1971 – Liberation War Museum
  5. March 24, 1971 – Liberation War Museum
  6. Brig.Zahir Alam Khan memoir "The Way it Was"
  7. Gupta, Jyoti Sen (1974). History of freedom movement in Bangladesh, 1943–1973. Retrieved 6 December 2014. 
  8. Khan, Fazal Muqueem (1973-11-01). Pakistan's crisis in leadership. Retrieved 6 December 2014. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Matinuddin, Kamal (1994). Tragedy of errors: East Pakistan crisis, 1968–1971. Wajidalis. ISBN 978-969-8031-19-0. 
  10. Ema Śaphiullāh, Ke (1989). Bangladesh at war. Retrieved 6 December 2014. 
  11. Locals still have nightmare about supreme sacrifices of Lt. Azim, 200 others The New Nation, Internet Edition, 8 May 2009
  12. A Tale of Millions, Islam, Major Rafiqul Bir Uttam, p 211
  13. Jahanara Imam, Ekatturer Dinguli
  14. মুক্তিযুদ্ধে বিমান (Airplanes of liberation war), The Daily Prothom Alo, 25 December 2009

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