Surrender of Pakistan
On December 16, 1971, a day familiar to every Bangladeshi, Aurora accepted the surrender of Pakistani forces led by General Niazi. The signing of the document ended the war, and led to the formation of Bangla Desh, the name of the new country (later reduced to a single word) was used in the instrument of surrender, which declared: “The Pakistan Eastern Command agree to surrender all Pakistan armed forces in Bangla Desh to Lieutenant-General Jagjit Singh Aurora, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Indian and Bangla Desh forces in the Eastern Theatre.” Aurora accepted the surrender without a word, while thousands cheered. He was hoisted on soldiers’ shoulders amid shouts of jai Bangla (victory to Bangla).
Niazi then had to be swiftly spirited away when crowds began calling for him to be lynched. Back home, he was widely criticised for submitting to such humiliation. More than 90,000 Pakistani fighters were taken prisoner after the ceremony. The total number of uniformed personnel consist of about 79,676 of which 55692 are Army, 16354 are of paramilitary and 5296 are civilian police personnel. In addition, about 800 PAF and 1000 Pakistani Navy personnel 1. In honour of his contribution to Bangladesh liberation, he was awarded the ‘Bir Pratik’ gallantry award by the newly formed Bangladesh nation.
After his retirement Aurora spent several years as an MP in the Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Parliament) for the Sikh party, the Akali Dal.
He fiercely opposed the 1984 army attack on the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the Sikhs’ holiest shrine, to flush out armed Sikh militants who had taken up positions inside. He was also a leading activist on behalf of the victims of anti-Sikh riots in Delhi in 1984, which followed the assassination of the Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, by her Sikh bodyguards.
He died on May 3, 2005, aged 89. He is survived by a son and daughter. After his death, the eternal gratitude of Bangladesh to General Aurora was emphasised in a message to India, from Morshed Khan, the Bangladeshi Foreign Minister, stating: “Aurora will be remembered in the history of Bangladesh for his contribution during our war of liberation in 1971, when he led the allied forces.” The site of the Pakistani surrender is being converted into what will be called Independence Square, with an eternal flame.