Name: Wazed Mia

Fatherís Name: Asad Sarder

Vill: Chuknagar

P.O. and Union: Chuknagar

P.S.: Dumuria, Dt: Khulna

Education: Illiterate

Age in 1971: 28/29 yrs

Occupation in 1971: Chowkidar

Present Occupation: Night Guard.

 

 

 

Q.     Do you remember about the general elections of 1970?

 

A.     Yes, I do. Before the elections Sh. Mujibur Rahman Sahib came to Chuknagar Bazar. He made a speech. Many people came to hear his speech. I also went to the meeting. I was a supporter of Awami League. I still support Awami League. In that election we got a very large number of votes and the Awami League won with a very big margin. But the Khans did not transfer power to our leader Sh. Mujib. And then the war started.

 

 

Q.     What happened after the war started?

 

A.     The Khans carried out terrible repression and torture on us.

 

 

Q.     Did you hear that the Pakistan Army attacked Dhaka on the night of March 25, 1971?

 

A.     Yes, I did. I heard the Khans slaughtered many men, women and children in Dhaka.

 

 

Q.     How did you come to know about it?

 

A.     Through word of mouth. And then the Khans came to our village.

 

 

Q.     What did the Pakistan Army do when they came to your village?

 

A.     They did a lot of torture and repression on the local population. They killed a lot of people of Chuknagar Bazar (Market).

 

 

Q.     What else did they do?

 

A.     They did a lot of cruelty. It cannot be described in words. They caught women and carried out terrible repression on them.

Q.     From where did the Pakistan Army round up women? From around here?

A They were all from Chuknagar. From all those who were captured by the Pak Army a few are still alive. They had taken a large number of them; some of them died. Four of them are still alive.

Q.     Who are they?

 

A.     For example, Anilís wife. Her name is Charubala. I remember her name. One of them was Hakimís wife. And another was Fazarís wife. If I remember correctly Balaiís wife was also one of the victims. The Khans raped them.

 

 

Q.     Were you present here on the day the Pak Army carried out massacre at Chuknagar?

 

A.     Yes, I was present here. Military killed many people. It happened on a Thursday in the month of Jaistha (Bengali month). I do not remember the date.

 

 

Q.     What do you know about that dayís incidents?

 

A.     At the time there were a large number of people in the village who came from many areas. They started pouring in from Monday through Tuesday and Wednesday, and some came on Thursday morning. I do not remember the date. It was sometime in the month of Jaistha. One group came and another group left. The whole place was packed with men, women and children. And then on Thursday morning we had a lot of new-comers. Almost everyone from Dakop, Baithaghata came to Chuknagar, our village, and halted. It seemed no Hindu remained in Dakop and Baithaghata. They had all come here. From here they would go to India. Our village was on the route to India. In those days there were not so many transports. So most of the people were walking along the road. Those who were lucky could manage some sort of transport, at high cost obviously.

 

 

Q. Did the local people help the refugees in crossing over to India?

A.     Excepting one or two no one did. If the Awami Leaguers talked they were beaten up. So they went into hiding. Even then they tried to help them secretly as much as they could. The refugees were robbed all over the place. Many people snatched away their bags, they looted money, ornaments and almost any kind of possession from the Hindus travelling to India. Not only the Razakars, some of our people snatched away the belongings of the Hindus. Meher Molla and Asadul snatched ornaments from Hindu women. Their homes were near our village. And then after shooting broke out the Razakars decamped with 10/12 boats each loaded with personal belongings of refugees on their way to India.

 

 

Q.     Where were you when the Pakistan Army started shooting in Chuknagar?

 

A. I was at home then. When the shooting started we took the children and hid ourselves in our house.

 

Q. How far is your home from Chuknagar Bazar?

 

A. If someone shouted loudly at Chuknagar we could hear from our village; let us say about a rashi.

 

 

Q.     How far is a rashi, explain it in terms of a mile.

A.     Let us say, it is one-fourth of a mile. Suddenly shooting started, first we took the children and hid ourselves in the room and then the shooting became very rapid and it became unsafe and we dipped into the pond and tried to keep ourselves as long as possible under water. The pond belonged to me. There were plenty of trees and shrubs around the banks of the pond. Bullets were whizzing by over our heads. We remained in water till about 4 pm. The firing continued for almost 4/5 hrs, starting from around 10/11am and continued till 3 pm or so when it stopped.

 

Q.     Could you see anything then?

 

A.     Only firing of guns, just monotonous clattering of guns without interruption. Sometimes it stopped for a minute and then it would start again. I didnít see anything. A little later I came out of the pond and crawled up the bank. I saw people desperately running around not far from my house. Some were running in the direction of shooting and some in the opposite direction. A large number of people died in the shooting. Men, women and children were shot like birds. As I saw this terrible scene I jumped again into the pond. I thought all of us would surely die. After the shooting stopped at around 4 pm I got out of the water and slowly walked towards the bazaar. When I reached the bazaar I saw countless dead bodies, all around corpses filled the whole area. There was nothing else. There was no one alive to be seen around. I never saw such a dreadful scene in my life and I got terribly scared. I ran towards my home and immediately left for Boising along with all my family members. Reaching Boising we found the Naksalis (Communists of Chinese variety) indiscriminately committing murder. On Thursday there was shooting by the army, and then killing by the Naksal in Boising. Finding no other alternative we returned home in the morning of Saturday taking some risk. A man called me and said that I was wanted in the Union Council office immediately and told me to go to the Chuknagar Union Council office. Accordingly I went to the Union Council office. At the time I was working as a Chowkidar (village watchman) under that office. So I had to go because the chairman called me. If I didnít go it could mean trouble for me. One Huq Sahib was then the chairman of the Chuknagar Union.

 

 

Q.On the day of shooting was there anyone else hiding in your pond?

 

A. Several other people jumped into the water. Many of them were from my village. Altogether there were about 30/40 of them. They were also neck deep into the water

 

 

Q.     Did the Pak soldiers come up to your house?

 

A.     Yes, they did.

 

 

Q.     Didnít they see you?

 

A.     No, the Khans didnít see us. They passed along the road. But they entered into a couple of houses but they didnít find anyone. We were hiding in the pond covered by water lilies; so no one could see us, neither they suspected that we were hiding in the pond. And then they proceeded towards the Hindu para (area).

 

 

Q.     What did the others do who were also hiding in your pond?

 

A. Getting out of the pond some ran for safety and some others came to my house. I gave them shelter. There were 4/5 of them in my house. And then in the evening I went to Boising.

 

 

Q.     Did you go to Boising alone?

 

A.     No. My family members were with me. There were also several refugees in the group.

 

 

Q.     How many refugees were there with you?

 

A.     Nine of them. They were all from Baithaghata. I took them with me. There was one in the group whose name was Shefali. Later I made her my God-sister. Her husband was killed by the military. Shefali is still alive.

 

 

Q.     Where did you meet her?

 

A.     I was walking down the lane to the jetty ghat on my way to Boising. And then at some spot I found Shefali wailing sitting near the head of her dead husband. There were 2/3 other dead bodies and a few children with her. I felt very sad to see this. I went close to her and after a few words trying to console her I requested her to come with me. I took them with me on my boat. All together they were 5 or 6 of them. Some of those who took shelter in my pond stayed behind in my house. Returning on Saturday from Boising, I found the dead bodies were still there. A little later after I returned the chairman sent a man to me and I went to his office. After I reached the council office the chairman sahib told me that I would have to dispose of the dead bodies. Then I told him how I could do the job all by myself. It was not possible for me without help. The chairman said that there were some other people in the office and I could take their help. He had called 22 men including me. Among them there were a few from Bihari para. The chairman said that he would pay us for collecting and throwing the dead bodies into the river. He gave each of us two thousand taka in cash. Out of fear and the greed for money we, all 22 of us, started throwing the corpses into the river and cleared the area.

 

 

Q.     How did you do it?

 

A.     We lied the corpses around bamboo poles with ropes and carried them on our shoulders to the river bank.

 

 

Q.     Where did you dump the bodies?

 

A.     All in the river. We started disposing of the bodies since the Saturday. We continued through the Sunday and part of Monday. By this time most of the bodies started rotting. On Monday most of the bodies were dumped into ditches, 8 or 9 of them into one ditch. And then the ditches were filled with soil. We had dug several ditches by the side of the road.

 

 

Q.     Did you finish disposing of the bodies by Monday?

 

A.     Yes, we did. We disposed all of them.

 

 

Q.     How many bodies had you disposed in total?

 

A.     I think we counted around 4000 and then we didnít count.

 

 

Q.     Till which day did you count 4000?

 

A.     Till Monday noon time. Starting from Saturday we counted 4000. Twenty two of us carried out the job. And then there were some others in the Bazaar and Patharkhola which we didnít count..

 

 

Q.     Were there more undisposed corpses around which were not counted?

 

A.     Yes, about 300 of them.

 

 

Q.     No more corpses?

 

A.     There were uncounted ones in the river. There were too many of them. The military fired into the river and killed around 4 or 5 hundred of them.

 

 

Q.     How did the Pakistani soldiers fire into the river?

 

A.     There were many people on boats. When shooting started many of them jumped into the river. The Khans shot them also. The bodies were carried by the downstream. We had a man who was known as Khan Shahib. He was the one who brought the military for shooting. All these killings were done by him.

 

 

Q. Who was this Khan Shahib?

 

A. This Khan Shahib was from Diana which is near the Khulna town. He used to live in our Chuknagar Bazaar. He is the one who showed the military everything. We heard that the Biharis were also with them.

 

 

Q.     Was the Khan Shahib a Bengali or Bihari?

A.     Bihari.

 

 

Q.Were the local people connected with this massacre?

 

A. Yes, they were.

 

 

Q. Who were they?

 

A. A few people from our village.

 

 

Q. Do you know them?

 

A. Ali Reza was there, Golam Hossain was there. Seraj Morol, Shahabuddin Morol and then Wahab Shahib were there. These people conspired with the military and killed all those good men to the last soul.

 

 

Q.     How did these people get together with the military?

 

A.     They were friendly with the military. They contacted the military and killed all the good men. They showed the way to the military, they showed them where the Hindu community lived or had taken shelter. The Razakars also informed the military and took part in the shooting. They were also with the military. They were then newly recruited.

 

 

Q.     Where did the military come from?

 

A.     I think they came from Satkhira.

 

 

Q.     Were the Razakars who helped the military local people?

 

A.     Some of them were from here and adjacent areas, others came from outside. At least 30 Razakars were here at that time.

 

 

Q.     Were the Razakars armed with rifles?

 

A.     All of them had rifles.

 

Q.     Do you know the name of anyone of them?

 

A.     One of them was Rashid, one was Kashem and the other was Abul

 

.

Q.     Where were they from?

 

A.     Rashid was from Rasulpur and Kasem was from Naren. It happened long time ago. I do not remember the names of everyone. One of them was from Fulbaria. There were Seraj, Afzal and Shafi, the last two were from Naren. There was no one from Chuknagar. Most of them were from Naren and Rasulpur. A few of them were from Barat.

 

 

Q.     Was there anyone from Malati village?

 

A.     There was one Seraj from Malati.

 

 

Q.     How did you come to know that Razakars were with the Pakistan Army?

 

A.     I had heard about it, and also seen some of them.

 

 

Q.     What did you see?

 

A.     I saw with my own eyes.

 

 

Q.     You said earlier that on that day you had hidden yourself in the pond when all this had happened. How did you see all this from there?

 

A.     It was a Thursday that I had hidden in the pond. But the Razakars had killed some people the day before which I had seen with my own eyes. That was a Wednesday.

 

 

Q.     What happened on Wednesday?

 

A.     On Wednesday the Razakars did some selective killing. They killed a mahajan (businessman, money-lender) near the chairmanís house and killed a few refugees near Malati. Then they killed Gauhar and Nizam. All these happened on Wednesday. On Thursday morning the Razakars were patrolling around Chuknagar. They had plans to rob the refugees. About 30 of them were in this group. I had seen some of them in the morning. And then the Khans came and they joined the Khans. Some of the Razakars were with the military who came near our house.

 

 

Q.     Sitting in the pond you saw the Razakars?

 

A.     I saw everything.

 

 

Q.     What did you see?

 

A.     We had a Hindu family as our neighbor. The military set fire and burnt down their house. At that time the Razakars were with the military. The Razakars told the military that it was a malaoonís (meaning Hindu) house. I heard them say so and saw it happen.

 

 

Q.     Who else did you see?

 

A.     Abul, Rashid, Amzad, Kashem and there was another fellow with them.

 

 

Q.     Were they armed?

 

A.     They had rifles with them. They had also fired and the day before they themselves killed people.

 

 

Q.     Were there any refugees among those who the Razakars had killed on Wednesday?

 

A.     The Razakars had killed 3 refugees. Later on they had done terrible repression on the people.Whenever they called me, I had to go with them. I was a chowkidar of the Union Council. So whenever they called me I had to comply with, otherwise I would be in serious trouble. I cooperated with them for fear of life.

 

 

Q.     Did you find any wounded man when you were disposing of the dead bodies?

 

A.     Yes, I had seen about 23/24 of them. They were still alive. Excepting 3 all of them died the next day. On that day some of our local people were also killed.

 

 

Q. Those refugees who came to Chuknagar must have been carrying lots of household goods with them. What happened to those after they were killed or those which had been left by the survivors? Who had claimed those?

 

A.     The refugees were carrying lots of their belongings with them. Most of them were taken away by the Razakars. Gold, silver and cash money were entirely claimed by the Razakars. They however had deposited some of the booty with the council office. The council had paid us from out of this money for disposing of the dead bodies.

 

 

Q.     How much money did each of you receive from the council office for doing this job?

 

A.They paid us lots of money. And then while collecting the dead bodies we found some money around the spot. We had surrendered some of the money to the council office and kept some for ourselves. Later on my brother and I kept the balance with Wahab Shahib and Razzak Shahib. We never got back our money. They simply kept on saying, today, tomorrow and as usual breaking their promise. I only got back Tk 500/. They just cheated us. We couldnít be tough with them. That would have been risky for us.

 

 

Q.     After this incident did any other group of refugees arrive at Chuknagar?

 

A.     No. None came this way.

 

 

Q.     After the war ended were the Razakars caught?

 

A.     Some of them were caught; some were killed by the Muktibahini (freedom fighter). Sabu was the local commander of the Muktibahini. I handed over some weapons to the Muktibahini. These were given to me by some Razakars.

 

Interviewer: Mahbubur Rahman Mohon

Date of Interview: June 25, 1997

Translator: Dr. Faruq Aziz Khan

 

Source: History from Below, Centre for Research on Liberation War of Bangladesh, p.137