Name:  Mosabber Hossain

Father’s Name:  Shaheed Moazzem Hossain (Killed by Pakistan Army in 1971)

Vill:  Nijpara, P.O. Kaunia, P.S. Kaunia

Dt. Ranagpur

Educational Qualification:  B.A. (Hons) in History.

Age in 1971:  13 yrs

Occupation in 1971:  Student.  Present Occupation: Business

 

 

Q.                      Do your remember anything about 1971?

 

A.                       Yes, at the time we used to live in Lalmonirhat. Our home is in Nijpara village of Rangpur district. My father was an employee of the Railway Department. He was the Head-Clerk in the

office of the Deputy Mechanical Engineer (DME). He was posted in Lalmonirhat. We had our residential quarter in the Shahebpara area. I was then a student of class VIII of the Lalmonirhat Model School. Now it is a Govt. High School. Lalmonirhat was then a thana(police station) under the Kurigram subdivision of the Rangpur district. But it was also a district of the Railways.

 

Q.                      How was the situation in Lalmonirhat during the non-coperation movement of 1971?

 

A.                       We heard the Mar 7 speech of Bangabandhu on the radio the following day. As a follow up 

there were continuous meetings, processions, demonstrations etc in Lalmonirhat. I do not remember exactly the date; I think it had happened around the middle of March. Three Pakistani soldiers belonging to the Militia or some such outfit came to Lalmonirhat. Seeing them around the Bangalis became very angry followed by a fierce altercation between the two sides. At one stage the Bangalis became furious and they killed the three Pakistanis. As a consequence of this incident the already existing bad relations between the Bihari community of Lalmonirhat and the Bangalis further aggravated to the extreme stage. In those days the Biharis used to dominate Lalmonirhat in all matters. At that time there were 60 % Biharis against 40 % Bangalis in Lalmonirhat area. So the killing of the three Pakistanis by Bangalis raised the tension between the two communities to breaking point. And then the Pak army cracked down in Dhaka and other areas of Bangladesh in the night of Mar 25. Then we came to know through foreign radio news that Bangabandhu had been arrested by Pak army. The whole country turned into a battle field to win freedom for Bangladesh. The Pak army had not yet reached Lalmonirhat. I remember they came to Lalmonirhat on April 3. It was a Friday. When on April 3 they entered Lalmonirhat they were  resisted near the Teesta bridge. The Bangalis  resisted the Pakistan army as best as they could on the other side of river Teesta. I saw people armed with shot guns, air-guns, lathis and anything they could lay their hands on tried to resist the Pak army. But the Pakistan army could not be stopped. Around 3 o 4 in the afternoon the Pak army slowly entered Lalmonirhat. It was about evening time that I saw them enter the town. Entering Lalmonirhat they started shooting indiscriminately. They were the only ones firing guns .The resistance put up by the Bangalis broke down. When the non-cooperation movement was going on in March and the excited Bangalis were giving  rough time to the Biharis my father gave shelter to a lot of Biharis in our official bungalow. My father was a social worker since younger days. He joined Anjuman-i-  Mofidul Islam, a social welfare organization in 1939 and became its General Secretary in 1942. During  Pakistani days he was President of Kaunia Union Council for 4 yrs. I heard from my mother that there was a big flood in Rangpur in 1968. In our area my father used to go from door to door to help the flood victims with whatever relief material he could afford. In those days there was no school in our area. My father contributed six acres of his own land to build a school with his own resource. He was lifelong secretary of the school. After independence the school was named after my father as “Shaheed Mofazzal Hossain High School”. My father was always willing to help people within his resources. In the month of March when the Biharis were in a life and death situation he gave shelter to the Biharis and fed them but when the Pak army entered Lalmonirhat on April 3, the Biharis did not give us shelter. They turned us out of their homes. They told us that they had problems, they couldn’t give shelter to the Bangalis. These people were all colleagues of my father. Then we tried another house of one of my father’s Bihari colleagues. They also refused to give us shelter. After sundown we became scattered. The Bangalis then were trying to save their own lives. My father and mother left us to save their lives. In the beginning I was with my father. My mother was hiding elsewhere, in another quarter. The railway residential quarters were built side by side. In the night of April 3 some Bangalis, about 25 or 30 in number, took shelter in a room. The women hid themselves in an adjacent room with the children. In desperation they had decided that they would stick together no matter what would happen to them. Then suddenly  we heard some women screaming desperately, ‘ (Banchao, banchao). save us, save us’ as if they were packed into cars and  taken away elsewhere. It was about 11-12 midnight. The agonizing night some how passed without any harm done to us. On April 4, the Pakistanis started killing Bangalis. First, they killed Dr. Rahman, a very fine gentleman and a very popular physician of the area. He was a Bangali and the Railway Hospital doctor. He was shot and killed. We didn’t hear anything else on 4th April. We spent the whole night in agony in that closed room without food or water. We didn’t hear of any other acts of cruelty that night.

 

Q.                      Do you know whose house it was?

 

A.                       It was the residence of a Railway Guard (like the captain of a ship). He was a Hindu gentleman.

We spent April 5 in that house. The 25 or 30 others, all Bangalis  all my father’s colleagues and their children and us stayed together thinking that we would thus be safe. I still remember about April 5. It would be about 4 or 4.30 pm. Suddenly a few young men entered into our house and then they said, ‘There are Bangalis in this house, catch them. They are wanted by the army’. Those who came were all non-Bengalis. They were repeatedly saying that the army wanted us. Soon a large number of Biharis came in groups. They caught us by any manner they could. Since then I have never seen my father. They captured my father from that house and took him away. At this time I tried to escape along with an uncle of mine who was hiding in the adjacent room which looked like a kitchen. My uncle said,’ Son you come and stay with me. Let us lock the room from outside so that when someone comes he would think that there were no inside.’ I think I performed this task but I don’t remember how I did it. My uncle’s name is Mansur. He was not my father’s own brother, but a colleague. We lived in adjacent residential quarters. I used to call him ‘Mansur chacha (uncle)’. Then I stayed in that room with Mansur uncle. I saw my father hiding in the toilet bolted from outside to escape capture by the Biharis. But the Biharis caught him while he was hiding in the toilet. They also caught others. We two were hiding in the kitchen. A little later two Bihari fellows, aged about 20-22 yrs came and said, ’Let us see if there is anyone in the kitchen’, and they opened the door and saw us hiding there. One of them caught hold of my collar and the other fellow caught hold of my uncle and took us to a spot from where we could see the ‘killing (slaughter) ground ‘. It was the rickshaw stand of Lalmonirhat. It is still a rickshaw stand At one time it was the bus stand of Lalmonrhat. We were taken to this slaughter ground. There were many others brought from different places.

   It happened on April 5. at about 4-5 p.m. When I was taken away the Biharis I saw my mother sitting on the road. I asked her why she was sitting there but my mother didn’t answer. I then screamed to tell her that the Biharis were taking me away and begged of her to save me from their hands. There was no body else to save us. My mother said,’ I am waiting here for your father .They have taken your father to the army. The Biharis said that if I give them all the money  and gold we have, they will secure the release of your father.’ I think my mother had about 8/10 ounces of gold and some money. She said that she had already given the gold and money to the Biharis. The Bihari boys were dragging me to the bus stand in front of my mother and ‘my mother was waiting for her husband on the road’(he said in English). She was waiting for my father. My mother was so worried about her husband that it seems she had forgotten her son. After I had screamed and begged a couple of times she came to her senses. Then my mother appealed to them a couple of times and suddenly I heard rifle shots. Hearing the shots I was terrible frightened and then I saw all those people the Biharis had caught and filed them in a row just collapsed on the ground. I could see the whole proceedings from where I was standing on the road. The Pakistani soldiers did the shooting. A cruel act of cold blooded massacre took place right in front of my own eyes. I was only thirteen years old then. I still vividly remember the scene of that day. As soon as I heard the shots with a jolt I freed myself and I ran fast  before the two Bihari boys could sense what was happening. I went straight where the women and children were hiding near where I had taken shelter with my uncle Mansur  before I was captured by the two Bihari boys from the toilet. There were shooting around by Pak army and Mansur chacha’s son was killed in the shooting. There were several others who were shot including a couple of fiends of mine. One of the victims, a friend of mine who was a good football player named Tota,  was killed along with his father by the Pak army.

 

Q.                      On that day April 5,  according to your own estimate roughly how many people were captured by the Pak army and the Biharis in Lalmonirhat?

 

A.                       I think on Apr 5, about 250 to 300 people were arrested by Pak troops and Biharis. Most of them were railway employees and their grown up children. Very few were from outside.

 

Q.                      How many did you see being shot?

 

A.  Those who were killed in the afternoon, I guess would be around  40 to 50 in total. They were

      continuously bringing the victims in groups and shooting them.

 

Q.                      It seems they were killing them in batches.

 

A.                       Yes. After killing them the dead bodies were loaded in vans or on rickshaws and taken to

      Lalmonirhat and dumped in an open space. A Memorial was later built at the spot. That

      place is also owned by the Railways. The place is like a slaughter ground or mass grave. Almost

all the shaheeds (Martyrs) of 1971 were buried there or just their bodies were dumped      unceremoniously.

 

Q.                      What did you do after Apr 5?

 

A.                       I stayed in the same house where I had taken shelter. My mother was waiting till 9 or 10 pm

      hoping  that my father would return. Then she returned broken hearted. She said to me,’ Son

      your father will never return’. Just then a friend of mine came to our house at around 9 pm. He

      had a bullet wound on his chest. His name is Bidyut. He is still alive. These days he lives in 

      Dhaka. I guess he is still working in the Railways Department. He was hit by a rifle bullet

      which pierced his chest through on the right hand side with profuse bleeding, Bidyut was caught

      by the Biharis and taken to the Pak army. He said he saw my father and Mansur uncle who were

      both standing in the same file with him. Then the Pak army opened fire on them and then he

      didn’t  remember anything more. As he described his painful experience this far, he fainted.

      Helpless as we were, we poured water on his head and some one cleaned his wounds and put a

      bandage with a piece of cloth to cover it. He was senior to me in the school by one year and

     taller than me and physically strong and looked like a grown up man. That could have been the

     reason why the Biharis caught him, and because of his strong physical condition he could recover

     from this very grave injury. After he regained consciousness he described his experience to us.

     We spent the night in that room and throughout the night we heard people screaming all around,

     ’save us save us…’.. Most of them were women. The main road passed beside our room. Thr-

     oughout  the whole night the screaming we could the women scream. In the morning April 6, we

     all returned  to our own railway quarters. The others went to their own residences.

 

Q. What do you mean by ‘we all’?

 

A. We had another family with us, the family of Sharif Sahib.

 

Q. At this time how many were there in your family?

 

A. The army had shot my father. This we heard from Bidyut, the boy who was also in the firing line

     with my father and  about whom I have spoken before. We were ‘confirmed’ that my father was

     dead. We never got back my father’s dead body. They (Pak army) were killing any one or every

     one who was within their range(shooting). Any one who was a Bangali was their target This is

     the reason why we did not try to find my father’s dead body. My elder brother was a college

     student in Dhaka. He was stuck up there. He did not know that our father was killed. He did not

     know this sad truth that our father was dead till the country became independent. Through the

     entire period of liberation war he stayed with my uncle Idris in Dhaka. My uncle’s full name is

     Mohammad Idris. He was an artiste in the Dhaka design centre, now renamed as Bangladesh

     Small and Cottage Industries Corporation. My elder brother could not come home. So we were

     four in the family. My eldest sister who lived in Rajshahi telephoned my father about two weeks

     before the tragedy that she had dreamt that the Biharis were beating my father. My father said

     that since he did not do anything wrong or bore enmity against anyone why should the Biharis

     beat him and thus didn’t take warning seriously. Even after my sister cautioned my father he gave

     shelter to the Biharis in our house. And then the same Biharis killed my father. There was another

     reason why my father did not leave Lalmonirhat when most Bangalis had left the town. He could

     do so because he had an uncle who lived not far from Lalmonirhat. We could easily go and stay

     there but there were many Bangali families who had no place to go. They requested my father not

     to leave them. ‘With you around we find some strength in our mind’, they said. These people

     were from other districts. Then my father did not think of leaving Lalmonirhat. So leaving my

     eldest brother, we four brothers and sisters stayed with our parents. My mother’s name is

     Azizunnessa Khatun. She died this year at the age of 78. There was another family with us about

     whom I have already mentioned earlier.

 

Q. What do you mean by we four?

 

A.  Me, a younger brother and two sisters. We two brothers and two sisters stayed in Lalmonirhat,

      also my mother. One brother was in Dhaka. We were five brothers and sisters in total. I have told

      before there was another family with us, Mr. Sharif’s family. The Pakistanis killed Mr. Sharif

      and his son named Tota. He was a very well-known football player. He used to play in tourna-

      ments. Tota was killed along with his father Mr. Sharif. After the father and the son were killed

      the rest of the Sharif family and we stayed together.

 

Q.                      Who were the surviving members of the Sharif family?

 

A.                       His wife, and I think  five daughters and two sons  were in the family. One son of her who

was a friend of mine some how escaped from Lalmonirhat and saved his life. The other son was

killed by the Pak army. Our two families stayed together in our railway quarter. When we returned to our house there was absolutely nothing left.  Everything was looted by the Biharis. That night we starved. Next day some of our neighbors gave us rice, some brought dal (lentil) and we somehow managed to survive for four or five days.

 

Q.                      What did you do then?

 

A.                       We stayed together. If we had a meal during the day we had nothing to eat at night. We carried

on like this. We had no way of contacting anyone. My eldest sister was then a student of Rajshahi University studying English (hons) and so was Sharif uncle’s eldest daughter Mariam, now a professor of the Rajshahi University.. We got a letter from an unknown person saying that both our father and Sharif uncle were alive and they wanted to talk to us. Some Biharis had their eyes set on the two young girls and they were trying to get them out of the house by some means or the other. I was the only male member in the two families and although I was still very young, I decided against going out of the house. A couple of Bihari boys came to our house twice to take us to meet our fathers. I told them to bring our fathers to us. We were terribly scared. We didn’t know what to do, where to go?

 

         Then a week passed. We finally decided to go to the village Chatogol where my father’s

      maternal uncle lived. It was abut 4 km from Lalmonirhat. One day very early in the morning

      before the sun rose we left for Chotogol. We were like a batch of weary destitute, eleven of us

      altogether heading for Chotogol, our only hope. We found shelter there. When we passed by

      Lalmonirhat on our way we didn’t find a single home unhurt. Almost all the houses were burnt

      down. Some were burnt  to the last piece of bamboo pole. Within a radius of a couple km

      around Lalmonirhat this was the picture in general. Such was the efficiency with which the act

      of destruction was carried out by our enemies. We had walked all the way down to the village

      which seemed to be somewhat safer for us at that time. Nevertheless, we were all the time

      worrying about our two elder sisters. We stayed there for 15 days.

Q.                      Did any other family besides yours take shelter in this house?

 

A,  No. No other family other than us. My father’s uncle was not a wealthy man as such but even

      then they did so much for us. On the other hand he felt sorry why didn’t we go there before all

      this could happen. My nana’s (grandpa) name was Ramzan Ali. He had a grown up son, But at

      that terrible time there was no ‘scope’ for any one to come and take us out of Lalmonirhat. The

      roads and streets were full of Pak Army and armed Biharis. No Banagali could escape death once

      he came within their eyeshot. This is the reason why no one from our village, which is not very

      far, came to rescue us from the railway quarters. One of my uncles lived in his native village

      Kaunia which is also our village home. He had already received the news that my father was

      Killed by the Pak army. He sent some people to take us to his home. But how could we go? Our

      village home is beside the Teesta bridge. This was an area dominated by the Pak army and the

      Biharis. The bridge was burnt down. It took 15 /20 days to communicate with my uncle.

      I have mentioned about Mansur uncle before. He was hit by 5 rifle bullets but he survived. He

      died in 1982 but that is a different story altogether.

 

Q.                      Will you please narrate the incident leading to his death?

 

A.                       Mansur chacha was a colleague of my father. I have mentioned earlier he and I were hiding

together in  a toilet on April 5. Biharis had captured him and taken to the shooting ground. Most

probably my father and he were in the same file when they were shot by the Pak army. He was hit by bullets but he didn’t die. The Pakistanis thought he was dead and so they his body in the slaughter ground. I heard this from Mansur uncle  later on. A sweeper came and was dragging away the dead bodies for disposal when my uncle begged of him, “You are my God- father, please save me. The sweeper was surprised to see one of the dead men was alive.” Suddenly I heard some one say, ‘Baba (Oh father), please give some water’. I looked at him, he was my own son Nuru. Like the sweeper I was also stunned. He was then a student of B.A. class. How could I give him water, from where and how? Mansur uncle said, “my son wanted a drink of water from me and I was not able to give him some. Both of us were bullet hit and seriously wounded. Earlier it had rained, and it was still raining, and there was water all around mixed with human blood. I crawled with great difficulty and collected some water into my palm and just manage to pour a few drops over my son’s lips. A little later my son breathed his last in front me, his father.” Mansur uncle continued to narrate his story. He said after this happened he begged of the sweeper to save his life no matter how much money he would ask for, just to take him to the other side of the rail lines about half a kilometer away. The sweeper was weeping, he never saw so many deaths before. With great difficulty he helped me reach the other side of the railway track to Coochbihar in India. The very next day the doctors there operated on me to save my life. Uncle Mansur got back his life. He lived  for about 12/13 years after this tragedy. He narrated this painful story to me.

 

         Any how, one day very early in the morning, we left our nana’s house in the Chargram villagae

      in a bullock cart for our (father’s)village. We had with us our nana’s son(maternal uncle). At the

      time the Pak army and the Biharis used to guard the Teesta bridge round the clock. We went

      far south to avoid the bridge and reached a village named Nazimkhan in Kurigram district. It is a

      sort a village within the Rajarhat police station. Somewhere around here we had crossed the

      Teesta river on the way to our destination. We were all the time worried about being captured

      and killed by the Pak army or the Biharis. Finally we managed to reach our village home. But

      we could not stay there too long. My father’s blood brother Fazlur Rahman’s father- in-law’s

      village Modhupur was a two day journey by bullock cart. Both our families took shelter there. It

      was the month of May. We stayed there for some months.

         We stayed in our uncle’s father-in-law’s home till August. My eldest maternal uncle Mr. Yasin

      was a contractor in Rangpur, the district headquarters. He was my mother’s own blood brother.

      One day, towards the end of August, he returned to Modhupur. Although it was very difficult to

      drive Jeeps, he came in one of those and took us to Rangpur. We stayed in Rangpur with our

      uncle till the liberation of the country although for a few days we had to take refuge in the

      village. Munshipara, an area in the Rangpur town close to the main road, our uncle’s

      ancestral home.

 

 Q. Did both of your families stay there?

 

 A. No. After about two months they left Rangpur for Natore, their ancestral home. It took them a

      whole week to cover the distance on foot. Their home was in one of the villages of Natore. One

      of sister Marium’s cousin accompanied them to Natore. He thought it would be unsafe for

      them to stay in Munshipara. Later on we somehow got the news of their safe journey to

      Natore.

 

Q.                      You said you went to Rangpur towards the end of August, what did you see there?

 

A.                       The situation in Rangpur was absolutely frightful. My maternal uncle’s home was in Munshi-

para near the main road. During our stay in Munshipara we heard screaming of women every night. Peeping through the window of our family room which was close to the main road every night we saw the Pak army moving with machine guns and aiming at targets with their firearms. Close to our uncle’s home there was a street junction and here the Pak army had set up an observation point where a military jeep was parked for 24 hrs of the day. As the night wore on screaming of women all around, ”save us, save us” became louder and louder throwing a spell of terror throughout the night. The city’s town hall,  which was once a cinema house, became the centre of torture and rape by the Pak army. I was young,  even then, I understood such acts of terror. The area was close to our uncle’s residence. Almost everyday I saw the army’s misdeeds.

I saw with my own eyes the army fellows dragging away  screaming women from the jeep to the rooms of the huge city hall for torture and rape. This area of Rangpur was a centre of terror acts. We saw such acts through September, October, and November and then came December and we won our freedom on Dec 16 but we had to flee Rangpur on Dec 1, because it was not safe to stay there any longer. The Pak army, sensing their defeat, had already started indiscriminately torturing and mass killing of Bangalis  as their last act of terror and repression on the soil of Bangladesh.

 

Q.  Pakistan Army (was doing this)?

 

A.  Yes, Pakistan army, but there were also non-Bangalis with them. In the first week of December large scale keeling of Bangalis took place in Rangpur; specially those who were well-known and had reputation in the area. Then my uncle said that it would be very risky to stay on in that locality and so we would have to move to a safer place for shelter. Five kilometers from Rangpur to the north there is a place named Khatkhatia. We left for Khatkhatia around 6-7 Decemeber. Our Jadu Mia, I am talking about Moshiur Rahman Jadu Mia, younger brother of Sidhu Mia, had also taken refuge in this area. Sidhu Mia was a cultural and political personality at national level.

      We had a distant relative in Khatkhatia whose name was Moja (bhai). My mama (uncle) Yasin Ali  had also gone there with his family. He had a shop by the name ‘Daulatkhan’ at Rangpur town on the station road. At that time we were getting letters that it wouldn’t be too long before we would be independent. Some Muktibahini boys, hardly 20-21 yrs old carrying arms, also started coming to our area once in a while as the war was progressing. This is the first time I saw some freedom fighters. It made me very happy to see them; I thought if I could also be like them, freedom fighters. They said, don’t worry Inshallah within this month we would be independent. And  soon we were getting  news from the Shwadhin Bangla Betar Kendra about the progress of the war. The Pakistani ‘Hanadar bahini’(hordes) were surrendering in many areas around the country. And then finally on Dec 14 there was the big killing in Dhaka about which we got news.

      (This was the killing of the intellectuals).

 

Q.                      Did anything like this happen in Rangpur area?

 

A.                       Later on when we returned to Rangpur from Khatkhatia we came to know that most of the      Hindu elite families of Rangpur were killed by the Pakistanis. One of them was Babu Lal, and     many of the well known Hindu business men were killed. Later on I came to know that they were taken to a place called Damdam outside Rangpur town and there they were executed just hours before the country became independent. This happened around 12-13 Dec. These killings were done by the Albadrbahini. Albadr, Alshams were the ones who were involved in these killings. Some intellectuals of Rangpur, mostly belonging to the Hindu community  were killed by these gangs.

 

Q.                      Were there any Hindu families still living in Rangpur?

 

A.                       Yes there were quite a few; those who had no place to go and those who thought they could some how manage to survive. And then there were some who did not want to leave their homes and abandon their business interests. There were not many in the last category. Even then they were killed. I remember Mr. Babu Lal and Mr. Supati  Babu, both of them were killed. From Khatkhatia we returned to Rangpur town on Dec 15. Rangpur was free then but the whole country was not free yet. Next day Dec 16 when Bangladesh became independent I felt great; the whole town became wild with joy. Every body was armed. Most of the young boys were between the ages of 20 and 30 yrs. I also joined them. I still remember we went to the Town Hall. When I reached there I saw many Bihari boys were brought there by the Muktibahini boys on suspicion. I heard later that many of them had taken part in Bangali killing and so they were executed. When the Muktibahini boys returned home, many of them had lost their fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters  and relatives. Many of these Biharis were accused of killing Bangalis and there were witnesses to their crime. So they were executed. I saw these happen in front of my eyes. I saw many skeletons, and clothes bangles etc left behind by the victims of Pakistan army atrocities. These are all stored in my memory as past history. Next day Dec 16, Bangladesh became independent and I could go around freely all by myself and see what I never wanted to see.

 

Q.                      What did you see?

 

A.                       Rajakars,  Al-Badrs, Al-Shams, these Bahinis(killer gangs) were raised to kill innocent Bangalis.

      They couldn’t think of any thing else. The Army(Pak) did not  know everyone .The majors an

      captains or the colonels did not know any one. They used to employ the Rajakars and the other

      bahinis raised by them to catch the leaders and bring them before firing squads but these

      fellows would often go after those who were reputed to be well to do to extort money from them

      in exchange of their lives. That is how they tortured people. We had seen these happening. If the

      victim couldn’t give them money, they demanded gold ornaments and if there was nothing to be

      extorted the victims were rounded up to face the death squads. Not all these Biharis were from

      Rangpur. Most of them came from Lalmonirhat, some came from Ishwardi and Shantahar

      Wherever there were Bihari concentration, they committed these crimes. There were hardly any

      West Pakistanis (other than the army fellows) committing these high crimes.

 

Q.                      During those days many women were repressed, do you know of any such incident?

 

A.                       I have heard about repression of  women but I have not seen any with my own eyes.

      Such incidents happened in Munshipara, Dhap, Keranipara and some other areas of Rangpur town. When the criminals used raid homes at night and forcibly take away the women we could hear them desperately screaming for help but to no avail. Between September and December these horrible crimes were committed every night. Those were the days of ‘Might is Right’, thousands of innocents men were rounded up and mass killing and repression were committed.

 

Q.                      Do you know which are the areas around Lalmonirhat where such crimes were widely committed?

 

A.                       I heard such crimes were extensively carried out in Bhotmari area by the Khan Senas(soldiers).

      Some people of Bhotmari (KaliganjThana) joined the Muktibahini. When the Pak army came to

      know about it, they attacked Bhotmari and indiscriminately killed the family members of 

      freedom fighters and dumped the dead bodies in ponds. The Pak army also killed many people of

      adjacent villages and dumped their bodies in ponds. Several times the Pak army attacked the

      Sector 6 Headquarters of the Muktibahini at Burimari, but facing stiff resistance put by the

      freedom fighters the Pakistanis withdrew and moved towards the Bhakari railway bridge near

      Bhotmari railway station. From this camp the Pak army killed an unknown number of men.

      women and children of surrounding villages and as usual threw their bodies  in ponds. I heard

      that a local .Razakar Osman Moulvi helped the Pak army in committing these crimes. Some

      freedom fighters were caught by the Pak army; they were killed. The Khan senas and their

      henchmen, the Razakars, killed a large number of Hindus and Muslims of the surrounding areas

      and threw their bodies into an adjacent pond. Most of them were slaughtered like animals

      (by cutting their throats open with knives).

 

      Lalmonirhat became free on Dec 6. A large quantity  bones and skulls of the victims were

      lifted from the pond and temporarily buried on the bank of the pond. After the country became

      independent the pond was named as  ‘Slaughter Pond of Bhotmari’ (Bhotmarir Baddhya Pukur).

 

 

Q. Do you remember any incidents of  those days that you cannot forget?

 

A. Many incidents often crowd my mind and I cannot forget them no matter how hard I try. My

     mother was so hopeful that my father would be freed. She gave every bit of money she had, and

     all her golden ornaments to the Biharis who came to arrest him. They said my father would be

     freed but he was killed. I still remember my mother waiting with hope against hope that her

     husband would be released because he had never done any wrong to any one. But my mother’s

     hope never came true. The killers did not spare our father.

 

      When they took him away they said “We will release him, you  wait (on the street)” My mother

    waited and waited near the slaughter ground in the faint hope that her husband would be set free.

    Her husband never came back to her. I can never forget my mother, waiting near the slaughter

    ground, hoping against hope, that her husband would be free. But her husband never came back to

    her. We lost our father. This is the most painful, most distressing, and unforgettable memory of

    my life.

     

.     

.       Interviewer:  Dr. Sukumar Biswas

        Date of Interview:  Dec 07, 2003

        English Translation:  Faruq Aziz Khan: