Operation Searchlight - The Black Night of March 25, 1971

Operation Searchlight was a code name for a ruthless military operation by the Pakistani government (West Pakistan) to remove the movement of freedom-loving Bengali people in 1971. The main goals were to arrest and/or kill the Bengali political leaders, intellectuals, and student leaders. Moreover, their motives were to disarm and capture the Bengali military, police and other forces (officers and soldiers) and to take their arms and tools etc.  The then Pakistani rulers actually wanted to silence the voice of the people of East Pakistan.     

Timeline: From 25th March (1971) to the middle of May (1971) in the big towns of Bangladesh.

Implementation: The men who were in charge of operation searchlight:
General Rao Forman Ali >>> Dhaka,
General Khadim Raja  >>>  other regions of Bangladesh,
Lieutenant General Tikka Khan ("Butcher of Bengal") supervised the whole operation.

The 25th march of 1971 was a dark night for the history of Bangladesh. The Pakistani soldiers started the Operation Searchlight with an indiscriminate attack on the demonstrating Bangalis in the Farm Gate area at 11-30 pm. The army captured Bangabandhu from his house at 1.30 am. Furthermore, they made attacks on Rajarbagh, Peelkhana and the residential quarters of the teachers of Dhaka University & student halls killing a large number of students including 9 teachers.

Consequences: This operation caused approximately ten million refugees to flee to the neighbour country India. It started a 9-month bloody war and Bangladesh achieved its freedom from Pakistan with Indo-Soviet (Russia) backing.  

Now Bangladesh observes 25th march as genocide day. 


  1. Thanks for sharing this information with us