The country was just three days away from final victory.
On this day on December 13 in 1971 the allied force reached near Dhaka, only five to six miles away, crossing the Balu and Shitalakkhya rivers.
Pakistan troops took firm defense on the eastern bank of Balu River.
Khilgaon and Basabo were rigid field defense areas for the Pakistani Army.The allied force changed their tactics to prompt Dhaka’s fall.
Two brigades of 57th division advanced from the east. Another brigade led by General Gandharv Nagra and the paratroopers in Tangail moved forward from the Northern side.
And the 4th division crossed Madhumati River and reached on the bank of Padma River.
General Nagra reached Tangail around 9:00pm. He met two Brigadiers — Kler and San Singh – at Wapda rest house to discuss next course of action.
He praised the Muktibahini, “If they did not help us coming all the way till here without facing any battles, then we would be tired on the road due to the fighting and skirmishes.”
The allied force in the northern region started advancing towards Bogra from Govindaganj.
A Pakistan regiment with cannons and tanks waiting in Bogra created a heavy defensive resistance.
In the night, the allied force cordoned Bogra town. In midnight, three battalions attacked from northern, southern and north-eastern part of the town.
On this day in 1971, Manikganj was liberated from the clutches of Pakistan occupation forces on December 13.
On the day, freedom fighters first hoisted the National flag atop the Primary Training Institute (PTI) in bus stand area of the district as people from all walks of life took to streets to celebrate the happiness of freedom, agency reports.
On December 13, 1971, Pakistan occupation forces retreated from Manikganj in the face of fierce attack by the valiant Freedom Fighters near Manora bridge on Dhaka-Aricha High Way.
Immediately after crackdown on March 25 in 1971, the Pakistani troops entered all seven upazila headquarters in the then Manikganj Subdivision and took control of important points including Aricha Ferry ghat, Tara Ferry ghat and others significant establishments.
The occupation force conducted operations in different parts of Manikganj from their main camp at PTI and used it as torture cell. The Pakistan army killed hundreds of innocent Bengali people and dumped their bodies in the river Kaliganga at Taraghat.
A lot of women were also picked up from different places and were ganged-raped by the Army. Common people even started avoiding their movement through the camp area to save lives. Pakistan army in collaboration with their local agents Al-Badar and Rajakers forced hundreds of Hindu people to convert to Muslims in the then sub-division including Manikganj town
Under the leadership of Captain (Retired) Abdul Halim Chowdhury, the freedom fighters formed a unity named ‘Biplobi Parishad’. On March 26, the members of Biplobi Parishad attacked the Manikganj armory and looted all the firearms and ammunitions and distributed those to the freedom fighters on the premises of Captain Abdul Halim Chowdhury’s Cold Storage at South Seota in Manikganj town.
The freedom fighters firstly took position at Kouri village under Harirampur Upazila, 25 kilometer away from the district town. Later they divided into many groups and engaged in fighting against the occupation forces at different places.
On October 28, a fierce battle between the freedom fighters and the Pakistan forces took place on a canal at Golaidanga village under Singair Upazila where 82 Pakistan soldiers were killed and 52 others were captured with serious wounds.
The battle was led by Engineer Tobarok Hossain Ludu, Lokman Hossain and Zahidur Rahman. Two freedom fighters — Ali Akbar and Bodir — lost their legs during the battle. That was the biggest lose of Pakistan soldiers in the district during the liberation war.
In the last week of November in 1971, freedom fighters also defeated Pakistani occupation forces in some more battles. Then the freedom fighters from different areas entered the district (the then Subdivision) headquarters and hoisted the Bangladesh flags and finally declared it free on December 13.
Pakistan army left PTI, the main camp of them with bag and baggage and moved towards Dhaka.
To mark the day, a fortnight long ‘Bijoy Mela’ (Victory Fair) under the auspices of ‘Muktijuddher Bijoy Mela Udjapon Parishad’ had been being held every year since 1991. But due to COVID-19 infection, the fair is not being arranged this year and the Manikganj Free Day will be celebrated with limited programmes.