Chuknagar Genocide Day tomorrow
KHULNA, – The ultimate victory of December 16, 1971 was the outcome of nine months of sustained successful armed resistance of the Bengali nation but the period was marked by a series of genocides and the Chuknagar Massacre is believed to be the worst one as it witnessed the slaying of at least 10,000 people in hours.
The victims, mostly minority Hindus, were fleeing their homes to take makeshift refuge in neighboring India while the carnage took place at the small frontier business town of Chuknagar at Dumuria of Khulna as they believed it to be a safe passage.
“There were bodies over bodies, numerous bodies… I did not get any room to step out evading the blood stained bodies,” ABM Shafiqul Islam, currently Principal of Chuknagar College, a witness to the massacre, said today as he
recalled the memories in choked voice while tears rolled down his cheeks.
Professor Muntasir Mamun in his research on the massacre said people started to gather at Chuknagar since mid-April to cross the border in groups.
By the 15th May, big crowds from the nearby localities flocked to Chuknagar as the rumor of approaching Pakistan occupation troops spread like fire. According to a conservative account, around ten thousand people were in
Chuknagar waiting to cross the border, the scene of the mass killing on May 20 of 1971.
“Around 10am, two trucks carrying Pakistani troops arrived at Kautala (then known as Patkhola). The Pakis were not many in number, most possibly a platoon or so. As soon as the Paki trucks stopped, the Pakis alighted from
the truck carrying light-machine guns (LMGs) and semi-automatic rifles and opened fire on the public. Within a few minutes a lively town turned into a city of death,” the description read.
ABM Shafiqul Islam, also the president of Chuknagar Smrity Rakkha Parisad said, the invading Pakistani troops had taken position on two sides of the local bazaar and started spraying bullets indiscriminately.
“Many of those who evaded the bullets, lost their lives in stampedes of fleeing thousands,” he told BSS. Haque, who was student at that time said bodies were lying everywhere as “I was looking for my father at Dibya Rural Secondary School beside the river Bhadra just after the massacre”.
“The tide of blood was falling into the river …. I briefly halted at one place when I saw a female baby was trying to have milk from her deceased mother’s breast. I was shouting and crying. I would not forget this seen in my life,” he said with tearful eyes.
There was no official statistics about how many people were killed in Chuknagar but most witnesses said the figure would be over 10,000 as 1971 veteran and local commander of the freedom fighters SM Babar Ali gave an
account of the incident in his “Swadhinatar Durjoy Abhijan”.
To mark the day, ‘Chuknagar Smrity Rakkha Parisad’ has chalked out different programmes tonight. The programmes include placing wreath at the Chuknagar Srityshoudha, a memorial built in memory of Chuknagar massacres victims, mourning procession, a candlelight vigil and discussion meeting. Former Minister Naryan Chandra Chanda, MP, is expected to attend the programme as the chief guest.