Operation Jackpot and the Establishment of Bangladesh
This report was first published on December 16, 2019 and is being republished today on the occasion of the establishment of Bangladesh.
When George Harrison of the Beatles sang his song about the situation in Bangladesh on August 1, 1971 in Madison Square Garden, New York, which was filled with 20,000 spectators, not only did the whole stadium erupt, but the song drew world attention From there it attracted millions of refugees to India.
But since March 1971, reports of crackdowns by the Pakistani military against its own people have been circulating outside the country.
At the same time, eight Bengali crew members of the Pakistani submarine PNS Mangro, which was training in French waters, decided to leave the submarine and join the Bangladesh independence movement. Operation X: The Untold Story of India’s Court Naval Sandeep Anathon, author of War in East Pakistan, 1971 and executive editor of India Today magazine, explains that on March 31, 1971, at the entrance of the Indian Embassy in Madrid, the capital of Spain, these Pakistani navy personnel who fled France Knocked
In 1964, Gardeep Bedi, an Indian Civil Service officer stationed there, checked his passports and accommodated him in a cheap hotel nearby. He consulted with Delhi about them and from there the order came that arrangements should be made to send these officials to Delhi immediately. He further wrote, He was put on a flight to Delhi. He was first sent to Rome from Madrid. But before he reached Delhi, his news was leaked to the media and the officials of the Pakistani embassy in Rome also came to know about it.
Officials from the Pakistani embassy arrived at the airport to celebrate the eight. There was a scuffle between them and the officials, but their leader, Abdul Waheed Chaudhry, told the diplomatic staff in no uncertain terms that they were going to fight for the independence of Bangladesh.
After the eight submarines arrived in India, they were stationed at a safe haven of the Indian intelligence agency RAW in Delhi. At that time, the director of naval intelligence of the Indian Navy, Captain MK Mikey Roy, came up with the idea of using these navy personnel who had fled Pakistan to sink and damage Pakistani ships in East Pakistan.
Thus Operation Jackpot was launched and Commander MNR Samant was given the responsibility. Near the India-East Pakistan border where the Battle of Plassey took place, a camp was set up to train Mukti Bahini fighters fighting for Bangladesh’s independence, known as ‘Camp to Plassey’ or ‘C to P’. ‘S code name.
The day at the camp began with the national anthem of Bangladesh, Amar Shonar Bangladesh, and everyone there saluted the green and orange flag of Bangladesh.
“There was no electricity or water,” recalls Vijay Kapil, the camp’s commander. At night we lit lanterns, the water came from the hand pump. A total of nine tents were set up. We would get up at five in the morning. After PT or morning exercise, they were run barefoot in the fields.
Then Indian Navy commandos would tell them how to secretly plant bombs. The Bengali submarines fleeing Mangro understood the training in Hindi, which was translated into Bengali. After that they were taught to swim. By then it was time for lunch. ‘
After an hour and a half of rest, they were trained to shoot at statues the size of human beings. After sunset, when these people were very tired, they were trained to swim again at night. Altogether, they spent about six hours a day in the water.
“During this time, two bricks were tied to his stomach with a cloth so that he could be trained to swim with weights.”
Changes in eating habits
The people trained in the camp were selected from the refugees from East Pakistan. Weeks had passed since he had eaten properly. In the beginning, they were so fond of eating rice that they would fall on them before the rice boiled.
The trainers decided that if they were to be used properly, they would have to make significant changes in their eating habits.
“When these people came to India, they were suffering from food shortages,” says Commander Vijay Kapil. Their bones were out. He was brutalized by the Pakistani army. He had witnessed the rape of women with his own eyes and had endured the atrocities of the Pakistani army.
The naval commandos who trained them noticed that these people get tired very quickly and make a lot of mistakes when it comes to swimming. A message was sent to Commander Samantha at Fort William, Calcutta, to arrange for better food for him.
From then on, a fighter was given two eggs, 120 grams of milk, one lemon and 80 grams of fruit every day. The effects soon began to show, and their form began to change. Training in the use of the Lampet Mine
They were given three weeks of critical training in warplane damage, the use of lampposts, and the timing of attacks.
“Lamped mines are used to detonate underwater,” says Commander Vijay Kapil. The Indian Navy did not have a large number of them. We could not import them due to lack of foreign currency.
“Even if their supply was ordered from foreign countries, Pakistan would have been informed immediately. So we decided to make them in ordinance factories in India. It was a kind of time bomb planted with a magnet. The swimmers would put them on the plane and run away, exploding shortly afterwards.
Interestingly, a large number of condoms were also arranged during the entire operation.
When the demand reached Fort William, Commander Samantha’s eyebrows rose, but he was told by Commander Marts with a laugh that it would not be used for what he was thinking.
Sandeep Anathene said: “Actually, this lamp was a kind of fuse that worked like a melt plug. It dissolved in 30 minutes while it took the diver at least an hour to complete his operation.
The solution was to put a condom on the fuse. The divers would take off the condom on the fuse before attaching the lamp to the Pakistani ship and float away from there, ”said Aarti Mukherjee.
More than 150 Bengali commandos were deployed inside the East Pakistan border, and Naval Intelligence Chief and Commander Samant decided to launch a simultaneous attack on ships stationed at four Pakistani ports.
All commandos were given a lamplight mine, a National Panasonic radio and 50 Pakistani rupees.
Sandeep Anathan explains: ‘Walkie-talkie was an alternative to contact them but it could only be used for a distance of 10 to 12 km, so it was decided that India should send a message to these commandos. The state radio station ‘Akash Wani’ should be used.
“During World War II, radio was used by both sides to send such secret messages. So everyone was asked to listen to the radio continuously. It was decided that when Aarti Mukherjee’s song ‘Amar Potol Aaj Ke Pratham Jabe Sausar Bari’ was sung from Akash Wani’s Calcutta station ‘B Kendra’, it would mean 48 hours to attack. Time saved. Toyota pickup truck management
On August 14, 1971, at six o’clock in the morning, a song by Hemant Kumar was played from Akash Wani’s Calcutta station, “Ami Tomai Juto Shoniye Chi Chi Chi Lam Gan.”
It was also a kind of code that meant the fighters had to attack four ports, including Chit village, that night.
Sandeep Anatheen explains: “In those days, there were hundreds of buses and three-wheeled auto rickshaws in Chitgaon. There were very few private cars. There were very few cars that could go around the city without anyone noticing. The Mukti Vahini fighters had to move out of the city to carry out the mission.
Khurshid, an activist of Mukti Vahini, came up with a solution. He managed a Toyota pickup truck of the Water and Power Development Authority from somewhere. The first lamp was placed in it and covered with drumsticks.
“The truck was taken to the village of Anwara, where detonators were fitted to the lampposts in a safe house and condoms were placed on their water-soluble plugs.”
In the middle of the night of August 14, 1971, in East Pakistan, more than 100 Bengali fighters took off their clothes and wore rubber ‘fins’ on their floating trunks and legs. He tied the lamp to his chest with the help of a towel.
On the other hand, at the Navy’s headquarters in Delhi, Captain Mickey Roy was waiting for a special phone to ring in front of him.
Captain Samantha, who led the entire operation at Fort William in Calcutta, was listening to the same coded song as he was writing his report.
Shah Alam made the first leap
At midnight on August 14, 1971, in the village of Chit, Mukti Vahini fighter Shah Alam first jumped into the water and swam a kilometer towards a Pakistani ship parked there. The entire operation was controlled by Abdul Wahid, a fugitive from PNS Mangro in France.
“They were trained to swim in the river and go to the ships standing there,” says Sandeep Anthein. There they will clean the moss on the bottom of the ships with the help of a knife and stick the lampite mines and swim back to the other shore.
“Midnight was set because it was the fastest time in the river and the second reason was that the ship’s shift was changing at that time. Due to the strong waves, Shah Alam reached the bottom of the plane in just 10 minutes. He pulled out a lamppost mine tied to his chest. Throw away the towel and the condom. ‘
As soon as the magnet of the mine got stuck in the plane, Shah Alam started swimming back. He threw his “art” floating trunk and knife and put on his dhoti again.
Exactly half an hour later, at 1:40 pm, a series of underwater explosions began in the entire Chit village port. The Pakistani ship Al-Abbas was the first to be hit by the blast and sank.
Suddenly there was chaos. The soldiers there panicked and started firing indiscriminately in the water. The explosions continued. The Al-Abbas, Orient Barge No. 6 and Ormazad ships began to fill with water from the holes made in the Lampet Mine and soon all three ships sank.
Several loud blasts were also heard in Narainganj, Chandpur, Chalna and Mongla that night. During the entire operation, ships of Pakistan Navy weighing 500, 44 tons were sunk and ships weighing 14000 tons were damaged.
Commander Vijay Kapil says: “The Pakistanis had by then deployed their three divisions of troops in East Pakistan. They chased away the Mukti Vahini fighters and brought them to the Indian border.
Due to these blasts, Niazi had to withdraw his troops from there and the pressure on the Mukti Vahini fighters suddenly eased and most importantly, the Mukti Vahini Captain Samant returned home on December 3, 1971 to India and Pakistan. Fighting broke out between the two countries and on December 16, 1971, 93,000 Pakistani soldiers surrendered to the Indian Army.
The captain, who had been away from home for 22 months, returned to his home in Visakhapatnam, but only for a few days. His daughter Ajjola still remembers that day. “She was OK. It was as if he hadn’t slept for days. The doctor saw them and said that it was better to let them sleep. One thing I noticed was that they were very quiet. ‘
“My mother made her favorite food. Fish curry, curry and rice. For us, all the festivals were on the same day. We will never forget the joy we saw on our mother’s face. We were more than happy that he was alive. “
“But our father did not stay with us for long. He had to go to Bangladesh immediately. He went there to help establish the army.