Establishment of Bangladesh: Why did General Niazi surrender?
Major General JFR Jacob, a staff officer in the Indian Eastern Command, played a key role in the 1971 Bangladesh war.
It was Jacob who was sent to Dhaka by Manik Shah to disarm the Pakistani army. He was the one who talked to General Niazi and persuaded him to surrender. Jacob has also written two books on the 1971 war.
Rehan Fazal of the BBC Hindi Service called on him and asked if the general impression was that the Indian political leadership wanted the Indian Army to leave for Bangladesh in April 1971 but the Army opposed the decision. What is the story behind it? Major General JFR Jacob said that General Manik Shah called him and told him to prepare to enter Bangladesh as the government wanted us to intervene there immediately.
“I tried to tell them that we have a mountain division, we don’t have a bridge and the monsoon is about to start, we don’t have the military and basic facilities to enter Bangladesh. If we go there.” So, I’m sure we’ll be stuck there. ‘So, I said, it should be postponed until November 15, when the land is completely dry.
General Jacob said that Manik Shah’s plan did not include the capture of Dhaka but “I told him that if we want to win the war, it is necessary to capture Dhaka because its strategic importance is that it It is also the geographical heart of Pakistan.
But he said that if we take Khulna and Chittagong, Dhaka itself will come under our control. I don’t know what the reason was, all I know is that we only got a written order to open and occupy Chittagong. Air Marshal PC Lal has also confirmed this. He said that the capture of Dhaka was not part of the plan and there was a lot of disagreement in the Indian headquarters about it. Attacking Pakistan, General Jacob said that it was absolutely right. “I met the army deputy chief and was told that the date of the attack was set for December 5, but Manik Shah did it a day earlier because four was his lucky number.”
Recalling the day of December 16, he said, “I got a call from Manik Shah asking Jacob to go to Dhaka and lay down his arms.” When I reached Dhaka, the Pakistani army sent a brigadier to pick me up. Fighting was going on between the Mukti Bahini and the Pakistani army and the sound of gunfire could be heard. As soon as we got in the car, the Mukti forces fired at her because it was a Pakistani army car.
I raised my hand and got out of the car. They wanted to kill the Pakistani brigadier. We somehow managed to reach the Pakistani army headquarters.
When I read the surrender document to General Niazi, he said, “Who said we are surrendering? You have only come here to call a ceasefire.” There was a discussion about this. I told them that we have made a very good offer to you and we cannot offer a better one. We guarantee the safety of you and your families but you do not accept this offer. Then no one will be responsible for us.
He did not respond. “I told him I would give you thirty minutes. If you do not agree, I will order a resumption of hostilities and bombing of Dhaka,” he said. Saying this, I went out, but in my heart I began to think about what I had done. I have nothing and they have 26,400 troops in Dhaka and we have only 3,000 and that too thirty kilometers outside Dhaka. What will I do if they don’t? “
“I went in thirty minutes later and the document was on the table. I asked him if he approved it, but he didn’t answer. I asked the question three times and then picked up the paper from the table and said I am assuming that you approve of it.
Asked why Pakistanis surrendered even though they had troops to protect Dhaka, General Jacob, referring to the action of the Hamoodur Rehman Commission, said, “When General Niazi was asked if he had Dhaka. I had 26,400 troops while India had only 3,000. You could fight for at least two more weeks.
The Security Council was meeting, if you could fight one more day, India might have to go back, then why did you accept a humiliating defeat and surrender unconditionally. Niazi’s response was that I had been forced to do so by General Jacob. They blackmailed me and threatened to kill our families. Niazi’s statement was completely wrong and the commission found Niazi guilty.