Timeline of the Bangladesh Liberation War

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 200 people are injured at Jaydevpur during clashes between demonstrators and the Pakistan Army.[4] Nearly 50 die.[5]
  • 24 March: Pakistan Army opens fire on Bengali demonstrators in Syedpur, Rangpur and Chittagong. More than a thousand people are killed.[6][5]

Events during the War

  • 25 March to 25 May: Pakistan Army starts genocide in the form of Operation Searchlight in Dhaka and rest of the country, attacking general civilians, political activists, students, and Bengali members of armed forces and police. 25 May 1971[7]
  • 26 March: At 1.15 am, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is arrested by the Pakistani 3 commando unit.[8][9][10][11] Independence of Bangladesh is declared by Sheikh Mujibiur Rahman few minutes before he was arrested by Pakistani 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 Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.[11][12]
  • 31 March: Kushtia resistance begins.
  • 11–17 July: Sector Commanders Conference 1971.
  • 13 October: Dhaka guerrillas kill Abdul Monem Khan, governor of East Pakistan.
  • 28 October to 3 November: Battle of Dhalai in which 3 companies (215 soldiers) of the Jat Regiment (2 JAT) of Indian Army defeated a battalion (800 soldiers) of 30th Frontier Force Rifles (30 FFR) of Pakistan Army.[16][17][18] Hamidur Rahman of Mukti Bahini was posthumously awarded the Bir Sreshtho, the highest recognition of bravery in Bangladesh.[19]
  • 31 October to 3 November: Battle of Dhalai: Allied 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.
  • 14 November to 4 December: Battle of Kamalpur resulted in surrender by Pakistani Army to the Indian Army on 4 December much before the end of war which ended later on the 16 December.[20][21]
  • 20 to 21 November: Battle of Garibpur: India attacked Pakistani forced and captured 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.
  • 3 December: Bangladesh Air Force destroys Pakistani oil depots.[22] 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.
  • 4 to 5 December : Battle of Gazipur in which Indian Army and Mukti Bahini captured Gazipur
  • 5 December : Battle of Basantar; Indians attack and take over Pakistani territory opposite Jammu.
  • 6 December:1st independent district in Bangladesh.The district named Jashore (Jessore) was 1st district in Bangladesh got independent. Bhutan becomes the first country to recognise Bangladesh after India. Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra becomes Bangladesh Betar.
  • 7 to 16 December: Battle of Sylhet, 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 from Pakistan.
  • 9 December: Meghna Heli Bridge liberated from Pakistan
  • 10 December: Liberation of Laksham. Two Bangladeshi ships sunk mistakenly by Indian air attack.
  • 11 December: Tangail Airdrop, which liberated Poongli Bridge on Jamuna river
  • 11 December: Liberation of Hilli, Mymenshingh, Kushtia and Noakhali. USS Enterprise is deployed by the US in the Bay of Bengal to intimidate the Indian Navy.
  • 13 December: Soviet Navy deploys a group of warships to counter USS Enterprise. The U.S. moves in the direction of Southeast Asia, averting a confrontation.
  • 14 December: Selective genocide of Bengali nationalist intellectuals. Liberation of Bogra.
  • 16 December: End of the Bangladesh Liberation War. Mitro Bahini takes Dhaka. Pakistan Army surrenders to Mitro Bahini represented by Jagjit Singh Aurora of the Indian Army faction of the military coalition.
  • 22 December: The provisional government of Bangladesh arrives in Dhaka from exile.

See also


  1. "March 1, 1971". Liberation War Museum. Retrieved 9 June 2019.
  2. Ahmed, Helal Uddin (2012). "Seventh March Address". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. (eds.). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
  3. March 10, 1971 – Liberation War Museum[permanent dead link]
  4. "19th March 1971". Liberation War Museum. Retrieved 9 June 2019.
  5. https://web.archive.org/web/20190416231955/https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/61806931.pdf
  6. March 24, 1971 – Liberation War Museum[permanent dead link]
  7. Salik, Siddiq, Witness to Surrender, p90, ISBN 984-05-1373-7
  8. Brig.Zahir Alam Khan memoir "The Way it Was"
  9. Gupta, Jyoti Sen (1974). History of freedom movement in Bangladesh, 1943–1973. Naya Prokash. p. 278. OCLC 891183528. It was past midnight ... the Pakistani Major looked up at Begum Mujib and said: 'Sorry, we are taking him away'.
  10. Khan, Fazal Muqueem (1 November 1973). Pakistan's crisis in leadership. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
  11. Matinuddin, Kamal (1994). Tragedy of errors: East Pakistan crisis, 1968–1971. Wajidalis. ISBN 978-969-8031-19-0.
  12. Ema Śaphiullāh, Ke (1989). Bangladesh at war. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
  13. Locals still have nightmare about supreme sacrifices of Lt. Azim, 200 others The New Nation, Internet Edition, 8 May 2009
  14. A Tale of Millions, Islam, Major Rafiqul Bir Uttam, p 211
  15. Jahanara Imam, Ekatturer Dinguli
  16. Sinh, Ramdhir (2013). A Talent for War: The Military Biography of Lt Gen Sagat Singh. New Delhi: Vij Books India Private Limited. ISBN 9382573739.
  17. Battle of Dhalai: The Bangladesh Campaign 1971, Defence Journal.
  18. "Notable battles in the 11 Sectors". Dhaka Tribune. 17 December 2013. Retrieved 27 November 2015.
  19. Unb. "War heroes honoured". The Daily Star. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
  20. Singh, Maj Gen Sukhwant. India's Wars Since Independence The Liberation Of Bangladesh, Volume 1. Lancer Publishers. ISBN 978-1-935501-13-8. The third attack met the same fate. The failure of two successive attacks and the resultant casualties dispirited the attacking troops, and the higher command developed second thoughts about Kler's ability to handle live operations
  21. 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.
  22. মুক্তিযুদ্ধে বিমান (Airplanes of liberation war), The Daily Prothom Alo, 25 December 2009 (in Bengali)