Name:†† M.B. Sattar

Fatherís Name:†† Rahimuddin Howladar

VillKalagharP.O,†† Kaliganj Bazar

Union:†† Rangasree,.P.S.Bakerganj

Dt. Barisal

Age in 197132, Educational Qualification in 1971 B.A.

Occupation in 1971Head Master, High School

Present Occupation:†† NGO Worker

 

 

Q.                Were you attacked in 1971?

 

A.††††††† Yes, I was attacked in different places at different times. We tried to prevent the Razakars while looting and they attacked us. After this the Pakistan bahini attacked us, like the one in Shyampur village. We had our Muktibahini there. It was under the command of Capt. Nasir. We were attacked by the Pak bahini. There was a bitter fight. The Pakistanis burnt down one of our villages. Nineteen of our group became Shaheed. Our headquarter was in Padreshibpur. The Pakistanis or the Razakars refrained from attacking Padreshibpur because of political and international reasons. The Christian community was in majority here. That is why we thought the place was safer for us and we camped there because they (the enemy) knew it was a Christian area. If America or some such countries came to know that the Christian community was attacked there would be reaction at State level. This is the reason we were safe. We were lucky. To day I like to remember an expatriate gentleman with respect. He was a Canadian father. I have forgotten his name. In reality he was an adviser to us, the Muktijoddhas of that area. He used to help us with money, and in many other ways that he could.

 

Q.                When did the Pakistanis attack your area?

 

A.                 Most likely in July/August. These attacks were launched through the Razakars†† and members of the Peace Committee. Our Manik Chowdhury of Garuria Union was killed and so were many others. Their leader was Mujibur Molla who was a senior leader of the Peace Committee of Barisal district. Even personally he tortured many people. In Kaloshkati also people were subjected to torture. Houses were burnt down. It happened in Garuria also. Many houses were burnt down in areas around Kaliganj. Ruposhi village was completely reduced to ashes. The Pak soldiers did not know anything about the area. The Razakars and the so-called Peace Committee members showed them the way to these areas where there were concentrations of Mukti bahini and to launch attack on them. In my area they killed many people, raped women, and looted and burnt homes. The well-known Zeminder of the area who was known as B.Roy Chowdhury or Natu Babu was also killed.

 

 

Q.                What do you know about rape?

 

A.††† †††††I know about several rape cases. But I will not disclose those because of socialimplications. Within my knowledge there are 7 or 8 of them that I know in my area. It happened more in the Hindu area of the village Ruposhi.

 

Q.†††††††In your area when did the Muktibahini become active? What was peopleís perception about them?

 

A.†††††††The Muktibahini became active in the month of April or May. I think it started in the beginning of May. In the beginning the operations started first in my area in Bakherganj thana when a Muktibahini group was raised in the Padreshibpur area. First, I was associated with a group then known as LMF led by Masum. But later on I felt that they had a different concept and thinking about the liberation war. They took our liberation war as a long term struggle and so I left them. Later on I came to know that Masum Shahib was a disciple of Shiraj Shikdar. In fact we were somewhat afraid of underground political parties. From there some of us communicated with another group led by Zafar Shahib and joined them. Then we started our activities again. Later on another bahini was organized under the command of Nasir. This bahini grew under the leadership of Babu Mia and Lal Mojumdar. In short there were three bahinis operating in Bakherganj area. Till the day before the Bakherganj thana was captured, these three groups did not forge unity. When we all succeeded in capturing the thana, only then coordination between the three groups took place.

 

Q.†† ††††What are the areas you fought?

 

A.†† †††††I did not go anywhere beyond Bakherganj. Wherever there was a fight between the Pak army and Zafar bahini, I was with them. I have already mentioned about Shyampur. I also participated with them in Kalshkati operation.

 

Q.†††††How many members of your bahini became Shaheed in those actions?

 

A.During the capture of Bakherganj thana several of our fighters were killed. The Pak soldiers built a long mud wall around the thana. Not only our fighters but also those belonging to Capt Omarís bahini also took part in the actions. It took place in the beginning of December. Only in the December battle many of our troops became martyrs. Shentu of Peshkarbari was one of them, Karim of Darial, our next door neighbour Arki, Nazrul Islam. More than seven of them became Shaheed. I do not remember the exact number of them.

 

Q.†††What was the primary impression of the people about Muktibahini?

 

A.In the beginning people were somewhat skeptical about them, how they will fight against the Pak army. They had lack of confidence but slowly as time went by that impression faded. When this happened the villagers started respecting our freedom fighters. They extended all kinds of help and cooperation. They were mentally prepared to be with us. They offered us food, drinking water and even they used to enquire if we needed bidi (country made cigarillos)and cigarettes. In short they gave us all-round help. Those who were against our independence they never bothered to come near us. Common people, in other words almost 98 percent of the people, had sympathy for us.

 

Q.††††Who were the Razakars in your area and who were in the Peace Committees?

 

A.†††††In our Bakherganj thana Barek Molla of Kalashkati was the chief of Razakar,

and Shahu of Padreshibpur. They were commander and deputy commander. Almost every village had Razakar. The number of Razakars was quite high in Barapasha village. Mujibur Rahman Molla and Abul Hashem Howlader, Khairul Alam Khan and Abdul Malek Jamadder of Muslim League and many others like them were in the Peace Committee. In short those who were in the Muslim League and P.D.P were active in the thana level. Since we are very close to the Barisal District proper we know that Abdur Rahman Biswas* was also in the Peace Committee. Mainly Abdur Rahman Biswas, Shahjahan Chowdhury, and Abdur Rab used to run the Barisal District Rajakars. Abdur Rahaman Biswas and Shahjahan Chowdhury were very close to each other.

 

Q.††††What did you do with your arms?

 

A.†† ††††We returned our arms to the base commander Rafiqul Islam Zafar. Later on he surrendered them as the chief of the bahini.

 

Q. †††††What did you do after the war?

 

A.†† †††††Since I was a Head Master I returned to my teaching job.

 

Q.††††How many groups of Muktijoddhas were there and who were the leaders?

 

A.†† ††††I have said before we had three groups. R.S.M. Rafiqul Islam Zafarís group was known as Zafar bahini, Capt. Nasirís group was known as Nasir bahini. In reality Capt. Nasir was an officer of the Navy. I do not know what was his real designation but he was known as Capt. Nasir. Three groups were active in this area. But when we attacked Bakherganj thana we had taken help from other bahinis because it was necessary. Like Panchamali bahini of Baukhali had to come to our aid, and then Maja bhaiís bahini. Maja bhai was from Nalchiti. Every one called him Maja bhai. His real name was Mannan master. Similarly many other bahinis helped us in capturing the entire thana area.

 

Q.†††††Which were the areas where frontal war was fought with the enemy?

 

A.†† ††††It was mostly fought in Shyampur, not so much in Jhalakathi. In Garuria also there was no frontal war. In the eastern zone our navy had taken position in the river and had engaged the enemy in a frontal war.

 

Q.††††At this moment can you say something about your experience while fighting the enemy?

 

A.†††††I remember the Shyampur war more than others. Subedar Moslem exhibited great courage in that engagement. As long as Bangla(desh) will remain, people of Bakherganj will exist, Subedar Moslem will be respected. For example, we were no where near capturing the Bakherganj thana in spite of our best efforts because a 20 ft high wall was constructed all around the thana by the enemy. Firing rifle shots was of no use. Then our Subedar sahib after 72 hours took some grenades in a small bag and armed with only a sten gun crawled along the wall and entered the area inside the wall and got, so to say, under the belly of the enemy and then made a grenade charge that filled the entire area with smoke. Taking advantage of the situation we launched a vicious attack from all around and then entered inside the wall. The Pak soldiers were totally stunned. With the grace of Allah Subedar Moslem was unhurt. I do not know if this act of valor will be remembered or written anywhere or not, but as a Bangali I have my deep respect for Subedar Moslem.

 

*Mr. Biswas became President of Bangladesh during the rule of Bangladesh

Nationalist Party (BNP).

††††††††

Interviewer:†† Niranjan Dasgupta Anu

Date:†† 6 and 7 July1996

Translator:Faruq Aziz Khan