The tea-garden valleys of East Pakistan's Sylhet district were the scene of furious fighting early this week as Mukti Bahini soldiers kept up relentless pressure on Pakistani army positions.
GV & SV Mukti Bahini and civilians digging trenches (2 shots)
SCU Mukti Bahini soldier clearing soil with hands
SV & CS Mukti Bahini discuss positions over radio(2 shots)
SCU Soldier in trench (2 shots)
SV Two soldiers run from dug-outs
SV Soldier firing
GV & CU soldiers talking over field telephone (2 shots)
SV Soldiers in undergrowth (3 shots)
SV Soldier walking toward camera with gun on head
SV & CU's of mortars being fired by Mukti Bahini (4 shots)
Initials OS/2203 OS/2320
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The tea-garden valleys of East Pakistan's Sylhet district were the scene of furious fighting early this week as Mukti Bahini soldiers kept up relentless pressure on Pakistani army positions.
Pounding the enemy with mortar fire, the Mukti Bahini -- or Bangladesh Liberation Force -- cleared the way for an airborne assault by Indian troops which captured the town of Sylhet itself.
The basic strength of the Mukti Bahini guerrillas, many of them former soldiers of the East Pakistan Rifles, is believed to have risen markedly since hostilities began. From a core of about 50,000, they are now estimated to have some 50,000 men in active combat, drawing new recruits from the millions of refugees who fled East Pakistan in March with the declaration of martial law.
This film was shot on Sunday (5 December) by Visnews cameraman Prem Prakash, who was accompanying the guerrillas as the fighting intensified.
This production is colour follow-up to same story services in black and white, Prod. No.14645.
SYNOPSIS: Sylhet district -- in peace, the heart of East Pakistan's tea-growing industry. In war, it was a focal point early this week for the actions by Mukti Bahini guerrillas against the Pakistani army.
The Mukti Bahini -- or Liberation Forces of the Bangladesh movement -- are believed to have 150,000 soldiers throughout East Pakistan. The East Pakistan Rifles -- who made up much of the original core of 50,000 -- have been augmented from amongst the millions of refugees who fled into India after martial law was declared in March.
And in this, the country's north-east corner, the terrain is in their favour. Small valleys that form in every tea-garden afford maximum protection for mortar groups. Resounding echoes form the firing make it hard for Pakistani troops to pinpoint the guerrillas' location.
The Mukti Bahini were operating in conjunction with the Indian army divisions moving up in the area. This film was shot on Sunday. Within two days, the guerrillas had paved the way for an airborne assault by Indian troops which captured the town of Sylhet itself.