The developments in Maldives prompt the credible democracies of the world such as US and India to make use of the emerging space and time to firmly encourage the establishment of democratic process. From the time ex President Nasheed began misusing his leadership and he went wrong. Nascent democratic systems need nurturing particularly when a country has emerged from three decades of autocratic rule. By arresting a judges, Nasheed displayed his immaturity which was followed by number of arbitrary decisions for which confidence of parliament would have been desirable in the absence of established constitutional provisions and rules. The opposition saw this as an opportunity to mislead people that the President was as good as an autocrat who had acted unconstitutionally. This would have been right opportunity for both the big democracies e.g. US and India to help Maldives and the President from downslide.
In April 1971,the unit was deployed in to ensure security. The battalion moved to intensive training with a squadron of PT-76 amphibious tanks. The training continued for a few months. Later the regiment was moved to Gobordanga where it was engaged in imparting training to the Mukti Bahini.
By early November, the situation along the border continued to worsen. Due to the ceaseless firing by the Pakistan army and the frequent cross border operations launched by them, the Indian population in the border areas was suffering casualties. To prevent the Pakistan army from continuing with such hostile actions, It was necessary to secure some of the launching pads being used by them for their cross border operations and this could only be done by crossing the border and securing ordered to secure Garibpur by first light of 21 November 1971. It was appreciated that the enemy would react violently Punjab was directed to take up defensive positions there to face the inevitable enemy’s counter attack.
By the first light on 21 November, around Garibpur by conducting bold manoeuvres in the face of the enemy. Finding their lines of communication threatened, the enemy launched a heavy assault on the defensive positions which were exceptionally heavy on the platoon locality which was being defended by Subedar Malkiat Singh and his platoon. Fierce fighting continued for a long time, with the enemy desperately trying to break through the defences, using infantry and tanks, and the defenders equally resolutely, holding on to their positions. The role played by Subedar Malkiat Singh was indeed praiseworthy as he continuously kept moving from trench to trench, encouraging his men to keep firing against the advancing enemy. yards of the platoon defences and was engaging the Punjabis with machine gun fire and hand grenades.
Showing total disregard to his own safety, Malkiat Singh, who was wounded,
crawled towards the enemy and destroyed the enemy machine gun, killing both the machine gunners. At this critical juncture, Sub Malkiat Singh was once again hit by enemy fire and this time he succumbed to his injuries and became a martyr to the cause of freedom. Throughout the engagement, Subedar Malkiat Singh displayed exceptional bravery and frontline leadership, of a very high order. For this courageous action of gallantry and valour, Subedar Malkiat Singh was posthumously awarded the Maha Vir Chakra (MVC).
LT COL QUAZI SAJJAD ALI ZAHIR, BIR PROTIK IS A VETERAN FROM THE BANGLADESH ARMY. A RECIPIENT OF HIGHEST NATIONAL HONOUR OF BANGLADESH ‘SWADHINATA PADAK’ HE IS PRESENTLY THE PROJECT DIRECTOR OF BANGLADESH ARMY HISTORY PROJECT.