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Ctg witnessed first genocide on March 31, 1971

By Samir Kanti Barua and Miah Mohammad Arif

CHITTAGONG, March 31, 2015 (BSS) -The people of Chittagong witnessed the first grisly genocide here on this day of fiery March on 1971 at city's Maddhyam Nath Para, Halishahar, a small hamlet of low cast Hindu community .

The blood hungry butchers belonging to the Bihari community led by one Shawkat killed 79 Bengalees with axes, spades, knives and other lethal weapons within a span of few hours on that day.

Among the 79 martyrs, 40 were residents of the then East Pakistan Rifles (EPR) and 39 were inhabitants of the locality, said, relatives of the victims.

Pijush Nath, Son of Martyr Anil Bihari Nath, said the EPR members of Halishahar camp, led by Major Rafique put up strong resistance against the Pakistani military junta on the black night of March 25 in 1971 when Bengalee civilians of south Halishahar cooperated with the EPR jawans, that infuriated the Pakistani occupation forces.

On March 29, Pakistan army advanced to the EPR camp in south Kattali.

Pakistani forces on the following day cordoned the Gohona channel on the north of the city and the adjacent areas of the EPR camp on the southern parts of the city.

The EPR jawans did not find it levelheaded to face the Pakistan army with meager stock of arms and ammunition.

After a brief resistance they withdrew but 40 of them took shelters at different houses of Maddhyam Nath Para.

The local Biharis started genocide at noon on March 31. After the frantic search of all the houses they murdered the young Bengalees one after another and later also torched their houses that still haunts the horrific and traumatic incident of carnage in the minds of survivors.

One of the witnesses of the horrifying incident was Khuki Devi, the younger sister of martyr Dulal, who was then a student of Chittagong Commerce College. She said in the morning of the fateful day, a band of 10-12 EPR jawans took shelter in their house.

"My father and brothers provided them clothes and food. After changing clothes and taking food they left our house," she said adding "at noon, a group of Biharis raided our house with sharp weapons and searched for the EPR jawans," she said.

"Seeing my two brothers inside the house, the butchers instantly hacked them to death with axe. My mother, Nirubala got fainted watching the dreadful scene. They also killed my father and grandfather," she added.

Khuki Devi said, the killers dragged out the bodies of her brothers and threw those on my senseless mother and said - "take bath with your sons blood."

"The body of my mother was getting wet with the bloods of her sons," Khuki Devi said in a choked voice, who was able to hide herself under a couch but she sustained burn injuries in her left leg and arm as the blood thirsty monsters set the house on fire.

Presently, this unmarried middle aged women, who was a class eight student during the liberation war is passing her days in great misery.

Mrinal Nath, another son of Nirubala , who survived the killing, said, "I don't want any grants or sympathy for my slain grandfather, father and two elder brothers, I just demand that the government must recognize my family as the family of martyrs".

Maddhyam Nath Para, one of the posh residential area of the port city, has now developed with many sky touching high rise buildings and the memories of the gruesome killings in 1971 are faded and smothered under the countless bricks and concrete.

However, a mausoleum was built there a few years back with the initiative of freedom fighter and researcher Dr. Mahfuzur Rahman, dramatist Prodeep Dewanji, Journalist Nashir Uddin Chowdhury, columnist Sakhawat Hossain Majnu, Architect Dhali Al Mamun as a mark of highest and supreme sacrifice of the martyrs.