Agartala, Nov. 27: The recovery of 700 bullets with markings of Pakistan and manufactured in 1963-1971 has sparked speculations over their ownership and origin.
Yesterday, labourers engaged by office-bearers of the Tripura Lawn Tennis Association for earth-cutting found the rifle bullets while digging the ground. Subsequently, A.K. Bhowmik, secretary of the association, informed police and the bullets were taken to West Agartala police station.
The officer in-charge of West Agartala police station, S. Biswas, said the bullets have manufacturing marks of the period between 1963 and 1971 and “PA”, which may mean that they were manufactured in Pakistan.
“Forensic tests will be conducted to unearth everything but apparently they seem to have been brought and buried into the ground for some reason by Bangladesh liberation fighters who had a base camp in the Malancha Niwas area from where the bullets were found,” said Biswas.
In 1971, when the Bangladesh Liberation War began Tripura had been one of the major bases of operations for the liberation fighters as well as the Indian army and BSF. More than 15 lakh Bangladeshi evacuees, equivalent to the then population of Tripura, had taken refuge in camps that dotted almost the entire Tripura. There were also hundreds of camps of security forces, Bangladesh liberation fighters called 'Mukti Vahini', field hospitals and other facilities within the state. In the following decades after the liberation war had ended in December 1971 many leftover arms and ammunition were recovered from different parts of Tripura.
Commenting on the issue, Bhowmik said recently the state government had allotted one acre of land close to Malancha Niwas, located in northern Agartala near G.B. Hospital, for building tennis court and other facilities including the association office.
“Having taken possession of the land we commenced primary pre-construction work like earth-cutting. Yesterday our labourers found the bullets; though the matter is being looked into by the police and forensic department I am more or less convinced that they belonged to the liberation fighters of Bangladesh because there was a large camp here,” said Bhowmik.