Bangladesh Genocide Archive http://www.genocidebangladesh.org An online archive of chronology of events, documentations, audio, video, images, media reports and eyewitness accounts of the 1971 Genocide in Bangladesh in the hands of Pakistan army. Sat, 08 Nov 2014 18:34:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A khaki dissident on 1971 http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/a-khaki-dissident-on-1971/ http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/a-khaki-dissident-on-1971/#comments Mon, 03 Jan 2011 13:49:22 +0000 http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/?p=562 by Colonel Nadir Ali, retired Army Officer , Punjabi poet and short story writer

“It is Mujib’s home district. Kill as many bastards as you can and make sure there is no Hindu left alive,” I was ordered. I frequently met Mr Fazlul Qadir Chaudhry, Maulana Farid Ahmed and many other Muslim League and Jamaat leaders. In the Army, you wear no separate uniform. We all share the guilt. We may not have killed. But we connived and were part of the same force

During the fateful months preceding the dismemberment of Pakistan, I served as a young Captain, meantime promoted to the rank of the Major, in Dhaka as well as Chittagong. In my position as second-in-command and later as commander, I served with 3 Commando Battalion.

My first action was in mid April 1971. “It is Mujib-ur-Rahman’s home district. It is a hard area. Kill as many bastards as you can and make sure there is no Hindu left alive,” I was ordered.

“Sir, I do not kill unarmed civilians who do not fire at me,” I replied.

“Kill the Hindus. It is an order for everyone. Don’t show me your commando finesse!”.

I flew in for my first action. I was dropped behind Farid Pur. I made a fire base and we fired all around. Luckily there was nobody to shoot at. Then suddenly I saw some civilians running towards us. They appeared unarmed. I ordered “Stop firing!” and shouted at villagers, questioning them what did they want. “Sir we have brought you some water to drink!”, was the brisk reply.

I ordered my subordinates to put the weapons away and ordered a tea-break. We remained there for hours. Somebody brought and hoisted a Pakistani flag. “Yesterday I saw all Awami League flags over your village” I told the villagers. That was indeed the fact. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Later the main army column caught up to make contact. They arrived firing with machine guns all around and I saw smoke columns rising in villages behind them. “What’s the score?” the Colonel asked.

“There was no resistance so we didn’t kill anyone,” he was informed.

He fired from his machine gun and some of the villagers who had brought us water, fell dead. “That is the way my boy,” the Colonel told this poor Major.

I was posted there from early April to early October. We were at the heart of events. A team from my unit had picked up Sheikh Mujib Ur Rehman from his residence on 25th March, 1971. We were directly under the command of Eastern Command. As SSG battalion commander, I received direct orders from General Niazi, General Rahim and later Gen Qazi Majid of 14 Div Dhaka.

Ironically, the resistance was led by General Zia Ur Rehman (later to become Bangladesh’s military ruler) was a fellow instructor at Pakistan Military Academy. Similarly, General Khalid Musharaf, who overthrew Zia in a counter-coup, was my course mate as well as a room-mate at the Pakistan Military Academy (PMA). He was also a fellow officer in SSG. Brig Abu Tahir, who brought General Zia back to power in a counter-counter coup, was also a friend and fellow officer in SSG. He was a leftist, jailed and later hanged by Gen Zia Ur Rehman whom he brought back to power in the fateful months in Bangladesh’s history, after the murder of founding father, Sheikh Mujib Ur Rehman.

Another leftist friend was Major Zia Ud Din. He was a freedom fighter and as Naxalite remained under ground from 1971 to1989 when a general amnesty was declared.

I came back to West Pakistan for getting my promotion to Lt. Colonel, in my parent corp, Ordnance, in October 1971.From December 1971 onwards, I began to suffer memory loss till my retirement on medical grounds in 1973. I remained in the nut house for six months in 1973. As a Punjabi writer, I regained my memory and rebuilt my life. I remember every moment from the year 1971.

For operations and visits to my sub units, I travelled all over East Pakistan. I never killed anybody nor ever ordered any killing. I was fortunately not even witness to any massacre. But I knew what was going on in every sector. Thousands were killed and millions rendered homeless. Over nine million went as refugees to India. An order was given to kill the Hindus. I received the same order many times and was reminded of it . The West Pakistani soldiery considered that Kosher. The Hamood Ur Rehman Commission Report mentions this order. Of the ninety-three lakh (9.3 million) refugees in India, ninety lakh were Hindus .That gave us, world-wide, a bad press and morally destroyed us. Military defeat was easy due to feckless military leader ship. Only couple of battalions in the north offered some resistance. For example, the unit of Major Akram, who was awarded highest military medal, Nishan-e-Haider, resisted and he lost his life.

East Pakistan, part of the country a thousand miles away, was “a geographical and political absurdity” as John Gunther said in “Inside Asia Today”.

With federal capital in Islamabad, dominated by West Pakistani civil servants and what they called a Punjabi Army, East Pakistanis felt like subjects of a colony. They never liked it ever since 1947. In early sixties, my fellow Bengali officers called each other general, a rank they would have in an independent East Pakistan. We all took it in good humour. But 1971 was not a joke. Every single Bengali felt oppressed. Their life and death was now in the hands of what they called “Shala Punjabies”.

I granted a long interview, recounting what I saw and felt in 1971, to BBC Urdu Service in December 2007. The Bangladesh Liberation Museum asked for a copy of the interview. It was too lengthy for me to transcribe, translate and type. Here, I attempt to re-collect bits and pieces yet again.

What drove me mad? Well I felt the collective guilt of the Army action which at worst should have stopped by late April 1971. Moreover, when I returned to West Pakistan, here nobody was pushed about what had happened or was happening in East Pakistan. Thousands of innocent fellow citizens had been killed, women were raped and millions were ejected from their homes in East Pakistan but West Pakistan was calm. It went on and on .The world outside did not know very much either. This owes to the fact that reporters were not there. General Tikka was branded as “Butcher Of Bengal”. He hardly commanded for two weeks. Even during those two weeks, the real command was in the hands of General Mitha, his second-in-command. General Mitha literally knew every inch of Bengal. He personally took charge of every operation till General Niazi reached at the helm. At this juncture, General Mitha returned to GHQ. General Tikka, as governor, was a good administrator and made sure that all services ran. Trains, ferries, postal services, telephone lines were functioning and offices were open. There was no shortage of food, anywhere by May 1971. All in all, a better administrative situation than Pakistan of today ! But like Pakistan of today, nobody gave a damn about what happens to the poor and the minorities. My worry today is whether my granddaughter goes to Wisconsin University or Harvard. That nobody gets any education in my very large village or in the Urdu-medium schools of Lahore, where I have lived as for forty years so called concerned citizen, does not worry me or anyone else.

In Dhaka, where I served most of the time, there was a ghostly feeling until about mid April 1971. But gradually life returned to normal in the little circuit I moved: Cantonment, Dacca Club, Hotel Intercontinental, the Chinese restaurant near New Market. Like most human beings, I was not looking beyond my nose. I moved around a lot in the city. My brother-in-law, Riaz Ahmed Sipra was serving as SSP Dhaka. We met almost daily. But the site of rendezvous were officers’ mess, some club or a friend’s house in Dhan Mandi. Even if I could move everywhere, I did not peep into the hearts of the Bengalis. They were silent but felt oppressed and aware of the fact that the men in uniforms were masters of their lives and properties. I frequently met Mr Fazlul Qadir Chaudhry, Maulana Farid Ahmed and many other Muslim League and Jamaat leaders in one government office or the other. Prof. Ghulam Azam and Ch Rehmat Elahi also used to meet me to provide me volunteers to carry out sabotage across the Indian Border.

Dr Yasmin Sakia, an Indian scholar teaching in America, told me once an anecdote. When she asked why in the 1990s she could not find any cooperation in tracing rape-victims of 1971, she was told by a victim,” Those who offered us to the Army are rulers now.”

One can tell and twist the tale. The untold part also matters in history. Two Bengali soldiers whom I released from custody, were issued weapons and put back in uniform. They became POWs along 90 thousand Pakistani soldiers and spent three years in Indian jails. I discovered one of them serving as a cook in 1976 in Lahore. I had regained my memory. “Kamal –ud-Din you?” I exclaimed on sighting him. “Sir you got me into this!”

The Pakistani Army had thrown them out. The other guy teaches in Dhaka now.

The untold part of the story is that one day I enquired about one soldier from Cammandos unit. He used to be my favourite in 1962. “Sir, Aziz-ul –Haq was killed”, the Subedar told me rather sheepishly.

“How?” was not a relevant question in those days. Still I did ask.

“Sir! first they were put in a cell, later shot in the cell”.

My worst nightmare even forty years later is the sight of fellow soldiers being shot in a cell. “How many ?” was my next question. “There were six sir, but two survived. They pretended to be dead but were alive,” came the reply.

“Where are they ?”

“In Cammilla sir, under custody”.

I flew from Dacca to Commilla. I saw two barely recognizable wraiths. Only if you know what that means to a fellow soldier! It is worse than suffering or causing a thousand deaths. I got them out, ordered their uniforms and weapons. “Go, take your salary and weapons and come back after ten days.” They came back and fought alongside, were prisoners and then were with difficulty, repatriated in 1976. Such stories differ, depending on who reports.

All these incidents, often gone unreported, are not meant to boast about my innocence. I was guilty of having volunteered to go to East Pakistan. My brother-in-law Justice Sajjad Sipra was the only one who criticized my choice of posting. “You surely have no shame,” he said to my disconcert. My army friends celebrated my march from Kakul to Lahore. We drank and sang! None of us were in two minds. We were single-mindedly murderous! In the Air Force Mess at Dacca, over Scotch, a friend who later rose to a high rank said, “ I saw a gathering of Mukti Bahini in thousands. I made a few runs and let them have it. A few hundred bastards must have been killed” My heart sank. “Dear! it is the weekly Haath (Market) day and villagers gather there,” I informed him in horror. “ Surely they were all Bingo Bastards!,” he added. There were friends who boasted about their score. I had gone on a visit to Commilla. I met my old friend, then Lt. Col. Mirza Aslam Beg and my teacher, Gen. Shaukat Raza. Both expressed their distaste for what was happening. Tony, a journalist working with state-owned news agency APP, escaped to London. He wrote about these atrocities that officers had committed and boasted about. It was all published by the ‘Times of London’. The reading made me feel guilty as if I had been caught doing it myself! In the Army, you wear no separate uniform. We all share the guilt. We may not have killed. But we connived and were part of the same force. History does not forgive!

Source: Viewpoint, a Pakistani a non-profit venture having a long history of struggle for democracy, human rights and justice in Pakistan.

http://www.viewpointonline.net/a-khaki-dissident-on-1971.html

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Bangladesh War of Independence: West Pakistani Soldiers Kill Catholic Priests http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/bangladesh-war-of-independence-west-pakistani-soldiers-kill-catholic-priests/ http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/bangladesh-war-of-independence-west-pakistani-soldiers-kill-catholic-priests/#comments Sat, 01 Jan 2011 18:26:01 +0000 http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/?p=554

Photo Courtesy: Father Evans (Holy Cross Church, Luxmibazar, Dhaka),
Father Veronesi (Bishop’s House Archives, Khulna), Father Marandi
(Catholic Beginnings in North Bengal by by Luigi Pinos, P.I.M.E.)
Layout and Design: Joachim Romeo D’Costa

The Pakistani ruling elite always considered the Hindus in East Pakistan as enemies and agents of India. During their nine-month long deadly crackdown in 1971, West Pakistani soldiers not only demolished many Hindu temples, but also killed a sizable number of Hindu priests, besides Hindu intellectuals, influential persons and common folks in different parts of the eastern wing of the country.

Comparatively, Christians did not suffer that much death and destruction as suffered by the Hindus. Yet, they were not totally spared. In certain pockets of East Pakistan, death and destruction visited them as well. In many mission church and school compounds, internal refugees –Hindus, Muslims and Christians — fleeing West Pakistani military crackdown and barbarity had taken shelter. They were fed and clothed. In this process, a good number of local priests and foreign missionaries — both Catholic and Protestant — faced threats and harassment from the West Pakistani military personnel.

Three Catholic priests — two foreign and one East Pakistani — were brutally killed, too. They were:

  • Father William P. Evans, C.S.C. (1919 – 1971):

Father William P. Evans, C.S.C., killed on November 23, 1971, was an American priest and missionary, belonging to the Congregation of Holy Cross. After coming to East Pakistan, he served at different capacities in various Catholic parish churches and, one time, at the Bandura Little Flower Seminary. Finally, he was the parish priest of Golla Catholic Church in Nawabganj Upazilla of Dhaka District.

Although he was a foreigner, he loved the Bangalis dearly and empathized with them and their aspirations. He aided many internal refugees and gave moral support to the muktijuddhas (fredom fighters) of the locality. West Pakistani army personnel in that area was aware of his support of the freedom fighters.

On November 13, 1971, as usual once a week, he was going by a boat to offer Mass at Bakshanagar Village, a mission station a few kilometres away from Golla. As his boat was passing by the army camp at Nawabganj, the soldiers signaled the boat to make a stoppage at the camp. When the boat reached the shore, soldiers grabbed Father Evans and struck him so hard with the rifle butt that he fell on the ground. His body was bayonated several times and ultimately he was killed with two bullets. Then they threw his corpse into the river that carried it several kilometres downstream.

Ordinary people recovered his body and brought it to Golla Church compound. Thousands of Catholics, Muslims and Hindus of the area came to pay their last respect to this holy man before his burial at the church graveyard.

Father Evans’ innate smiling face, love of people, humility, humour, and empathy drew people of all faiths to him. He was called a “holy man.” Till now, many people visit his grave.

In the Little Flower Seminary at Bandura in the early 60’s, he was our rector. From time to time, he used to give us writing assignments in English and after checking them would give his comments. On my assignment sheets, he would often remark: “Short sentences, but complete thought. Keep up the good work.” My later journalism and writing career in life was the result of his inspiration.

Father Evans has been honoured in different ways in Bangladesh. The Tribeni Chhatra Kallyan Sangha (youth organization) in 1972 started to give “Father Evans Scholarship” to poor but excelling students. In 1973, this organization had also started “Father Evans Memorial Football Tournament”. Later Shurid Sangha (another youth organization) in old Dhaka started its annual “Shaheed Father Evans Memorial Basketball Competition” among different youth organizations.

Source: Bangladeshey Catholic Mondoli (The Catholic Church in Bangladesh)
by Jerome D’Costa (Dhaka: Pratibeshi Prakashani, 1986), pp.302-303

  • Father Mario Veronesi, S.X. (1912 – 1971):

After West Pakistani military started their crackdown on the East Pakistanis (now Bangladesh) from March 25, 1971 onwards, many people of all faiths began to take refuge in church compounds — both Catholic and Protestant. In Jessore town, a number of such people took shelter in the church compound where Father Mario Veronesi, an Italian Xaverian priest and missionary, was the parish priest.

On April 4, 1971 it was the Palm Sunday. Father was taking care of the internal refugees who had taken shelter in his church compound. When the soldiers with their rifles and sub-machine guns entered the compound and were proceeding towards the building, Father Veronesi came out to meet them with his raised hands. He had a large red cross badge on his chest because there was also the Fatima Hospital adjacent to the place. The soldiers immediately started to fire at him and the building. He got bullets in his chest and died there. The soldiers then entered the church and shot and killed four of the refugees.

Initially, he was buried in Jessore. Later his body was taken to Shimulia Catholic Church compound and re-buried near the grave of another Italian Xaverian missionary Father Valerian Cobbe, S.X., who was killed on October 14, 1974 by robbers.

After the independence of Bangladesh in December, 1971, a Muslim student, named Ismail Hossain, wrote a letter to Father Valerian Cobbe and paid tribute to Father Mario Veronesi: “At last we have achieved independence and freedom! We rejoice and thank God and ask him to help our nation progress and live in tranquility. The memory of so many victims is the thing that saddens us most and gives us great pain. The best members of our society have died. Father Mario Veronesi is among these martyrs of our independence. We feel very proud of him: he paid the highest price for our independence!”

This 58-year-old Italian was a priest for 28 years, 19 of which he spent in East Pakistan. He worked in various capacity in different parish churches under the Diocese of Khulna. He is best remembered for working for the upliftment of the poor.

Source: www.xaviermissionaries.org/M_Stories/Martyrs/Vern7.htm

  • Father Lucas Marandi (1922 – 1971):

Father Lucas Marandi, belonging to the local Santal ethnic group, was a diocesan priest for 18 years under the Diocese of Dinajpur, East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). In 1971, he was the parish priest of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church at Ruhea in Thakurgaon District. He had a strong patriotic feeling for his country when the West Pakistani army began their bloody crackdown on the East Pakistani on March 25, 1971.

Thousands upon thousands of East Pakistanis in various districts and localities were fleeing the merciless attacks of the West Pakistani soldiers. Many were taking refuge in different border districts of India.

Father Marandi received the news that four Catholic mission centres of the Diocese of Dinajpur were abandoned after the military plunderings. In the Ruhea area itself, most of the members of the minority groups and many Muslims left their abodes and fled to nearby India. His parishoners, through messengers, were appealing him time and again to leave Ruhea and join them in India.

Finally, Father Marandi decided to move. He got the church bullock cart loaded with the parish archives and his personal belongings. He told the cart driver to move towards the border that was marked by the shallow Nagor River, six miles ( kilometres) away. He then reached the riverbank on his motor cycle.

When the cart reached the designated spot, the cart and he himself on the motor cycle crossed the river together. On reaching the Indian side of the river bank, he turned toward the Ruhea Church and kept on looking intently for quite some time. His companions could realize that something ominous was going on in his mind. When someone told him to make a move towards India, Father Marandi turned toward him and said gravely: “No, it has all been a mistake! Let’s go back to Ruhea!” He then crossed the river and started to return to his church.

Father Lucas Marandi was all alone in the Ruhea church compound except a few Catholics living nearby. After three days, on April 21, 1971, a West Pakistani army jeep pulled up at the priest’s residence. Father greeted them and offered them tea and biscuits. They then left for the north. He felt quite relieved of his tension, but temporarily. After three hours the jeep returned.

Father Marandi came out again, but the soldiers pushed him inside his residence and started to torture him for the next 15 minutes or so. They bayoneted his face beyond recognition. Blood splattered all over the walls. When they left the compound, mortally wounded Father was dying.

A few Catholics who lived nearby rushed in to see what had happened. Seeing his grave condition, they decided to take him to India by the very bullock cart that Father had used earlier. Before reaching the destination, Father Lucas Marandi expired. His corpse was taken to the Catholic Church at Islampur on the Indian side of the border where he is still buried.

Sooner they left the church compound then a bunch of local looters appeared and ransacked the church and priest’s residence and carried away everything available.

Source: Catholic Beginnings in North Bengal by Father Luigi Pinos, P.I.M.E.
(Saidpur: Catholic Church, 1984), pp.26-27)

These three priests are the testimonies of the crimes against humanity perpetrated by the ferocious and brutal West Pakistani soldiers.

Used with permission from Jerome D’Costa:

http://bangladeshcanadaandbeyond.blogspot.com/2009/03/bangladesh-war-of-independence-west.html

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War Crimes File – A Documentary BY Twenty Twenty Television http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/war-crimes-file-a-documentary-by-twenty-twenty-television/ http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/war-crimes-file-a-documentary-by-twenty-twenty-television/#comments Sat, 19 Jun 2010 10:03:44 +0000 http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/?p=542 Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin’s role in Bangladesh Genocide:

In March 1971, Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin, a journalist at the Daily Purbodesh, was an active member of the Islami Chaatra Sangha (ICS) – the student wing of the Jammat-I-Islami which actively opposed Bangladesh liberation war and aided the Pakistani military.

In August 1971, the Jamaat-e-Islami, according to its own newspaper the Daily Sangram, set up the Al-Badr Squad comprising members of the ICS to violently combat the forces supporting Bangladesh’s liberation. Mueen-Uddin became a member of the Al-Badr.

Newspaper reports immediately after the intellectual killings in December 14, 1971 naming Mueen-Uddin as the prime suspect based on confessions by captured Al-Badr leaders.

Evidences:

In 1995, in a Channel 4 documentary, researchers presented a series of evidence and eyewitnesses that directly implicated Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin as the leader of the gang in at least two disappearances and killings, and one attempted disappearance. A documentary titled War Crimes File, directed by Howard Bradburn and produced by Gita Sehgal for Twenty Twenty Television broadcast as part of the Dispatches Series by Channel 4 was aired on 3 May 1995—recording eye witness accounts of Mueen-Uddin’s involvement in disappearances of journalists and other intellectuals in December 1971. David Bergman was the main researcher and reporter. [Webmaster’s note: The information was corrected as per an online news-portal’s  report]

The Video:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Part 6:

From TORMENTING SEVENTY ONE, An account of Pakistan army’s atrocities during Bangladesh liberation war of 1971:

It (the documentary War Crimes File) created much sensation in London after it was showed in Channel Four of BBC. Elaborating the target of making the documentary, one of its makers and chief researcher David Bergman said the conscious world, including the European community raised their voice against the mass killings and war crimes committed in former Yugoslavia’s Bosnia. A strong demand was raised that the war
criminals have to be punished. At that time he came to know that three war criminals of Bangladesh are residing in London in disguise. They also became leaders of the Bengalee community there. They are involved with various fundamentalist and communal groups. They made the film to unmask the war criminals and bring them to book.

The British government took steps for investigation into the three war criminals after the Bangalee community in UK as well as the human rights organisations there raised their voice for punishment of the trio. The British government also sought cooperation from the Bangladesh government. The then BNP government didn’t take any step in this regard. However, the Awami League government assured the UK of
cooperating with them. The government on its own also filed an allegation with Ramna police station in Dhaka (case no 115, date 24.9.1997).
We came to know it was buried after some interrogation and brief investigation. Fiona Mckay, a lawyer who runs a human rights organisation in London, said she thought though the British government is very enthusiastic, Bangladesh government is not so keen. She informed that senior officials of Scotland Yard Rees, Detective Chief Superintendent and Walton, Detective Inspector were appointed to investigate it.

Despite the interest of the British government and its people about the trial of Bangladesh’s war criminal, reluctance of Bangladesh government is a great shame for the nation.

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Rape of Bengal: Humanity’s Darkest Hour http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/rape-of-bengal-humanitys-darkest-hour/ http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/rape-of-bengal-humanitys-darkest-hour/#comments Thu, 31 Dec 2009 06:15:08 +0000 http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/?p=528 Photo: Potrait of Ahmed Makhdoon, a staunch Sindiyat nationalist, written on his mind, inscribed in his heart and injected into his soul

Photo: Potrait of Ahmed Makhdoon, a staunch Sindiyat nationalist, written on his mind, inscribed in his heart and injected into his soul

– AHMED MAKHDOOM

ساٸين سسداٸين ڪرين مٿي سنڌ سڪار؍ دوست مٺا دلدار؍ عالم سڀ آباد ڪزين شاھ

ON 16TH December 1971 one of the most horrifying and horrendous, shameful and scandalous, disgraceful and dishonourable, ignominious and infamous act of cowardice and inhumanity came to an end after nine month long saga of chaos, genocide, arson and rape. It is on this day that the barbaric, savage and brutal Pakistan army – about 96,000 animals in uniform – surrendered in Dhaka to the Indian army. The preceding nine months of horror, tyranny and terror will go down in the history of mankind, without any doubt as its darkest hour.

And, I saw with my sinful eyes the rape of the daughters of Bengal and the massacre of the millions of innocent sons of Bengal take place right in my own front yard. And, I lived to tell the world what I saw!

Saturday, 7th November 2009, I was in London, where I attended a gathering – organised by Liberation Group at Irish Cultural Centre – gathering of the tortured, troubled, truncated, tormented and terrorised nations of the world–being brutally bludgeoned by the tyrants of the day. As a humble son of Jeejal Sindhrree, I was there, together with my evergreen warrior sister, Suraiya, and a young, proud dedicated Sindhi with a Sindhi cap, Saaeen Aachar Bozdar.

There were Palestinians, Iraqis, Kurds from Iraq and Turkey, Polisario from Morocco and Bengalees from Bangladesh. We were thoroughly entertained by a remarkable group of Turkish Kurds – with their traditional music and songs. There were speeches too by various nations screaming, sacrificing, striving, struggling g for freedom and human rights.

I, too, had an opportunity to present the case of my brutalised motherland, and fatherland, Sindh, savaged by the vultures, wolves and werewolves of the erstwhile, godless, gutless, senseless country known as Pakistan.

Although not much of a singer, I was so much impressed and inspired by an Irish gentleman and a young Kurdish girl and the lilting melodies of Turkish music band, that I had to come on the floor and dance and sing too in my course voice – I sang a song of Sindh, in sweet language of my motherland, “Peirein pawandee saan, chawandee saan, rahee vancju raat Bhambhore mein.”

پيرين پوندي سان؍ چوندي سان؍ رھي وڃ رات ڀنڀور ۾؍

This prompted a middle-aged handsome Bengalee brother to come forward and embrace and hug me. He told me about Bangladesh and asked me where I was at the time Bengalees got their independence. Here is what I told him……

1964 – I joined Juldia Maritime Academy, Chittagong, on a two-year Maritime Studies Course. We were three Sindhis at that time – from 2nd and 3rd Batches of the Academy: Saaeen Altaf Shaikh, who later became a Chief Engineer and a well-known Sindhi travelogue writer, Saaeen Bashir Vistro, my ggothaaee ڳوٺاٸي (from nearby village in Sindh, where I spent my childhood), who later on became a Master Mariner and a senior officer in the Shipping Company in Karachi, and myself.

We had Bengali friends who used to regularly take us to their homes in Dacca, Chittagong, and elsewhere in the then East Pakistan and introduce us to their folks. We had a special relationship with these cultured, artistic-minded, literate, highly sober, astute and loveable Bengalis. In return, we Sindhis were adored, respected and pampered with love and gifts and treated as members of their families.

One of my best friend was a Bengali from Dacca, Nurul Amin. They were seven brothers and had a little sister whom they used to call “Champa,” a sweet, cherubic, angel-faced girl of twelve, with pony tails and a flower in her hair. What a talented little angel she was! She used to play piano – a must item in almost every Bengali’s home – and used to sing with such a sweet and graceful voice that we used to sit transfixed and mesmerised as we heard her play the rhythmic tones of piano and sing.

There was one particular song that I loved to listen over and over again, and she used to always oblige me and my constant demands (farmaaish) and requests. The song was:

“Shaat bhaaee champa, jago rei jago rei; ghuum ghuum thaakei na ghuumei ree ghorei…..”
شات ڀاٸي چمپا جاگو ري؍ جاگو ري؍ گھوم گھوم ٿاڪي نا گھومي ري ھوري؍

This song was about seven brothers and their little sister (just like her own family). Till this day I have not forgotten that cherubic pony-tailed face, and that golden voice and the sweet melodies of her song, “Shaat bahee champa….”

1971 – I was a young Navigating Officer on board a ship and we were in Chittagong, the premier port of the then East Pakistan, loading Jute for Rotterdam and Antwerp.

Suddenly, we heard the guns screaming all over the ship. My wonderful friend, a Bengali, Second Officer, and the Bengali crew were massacred by the brutal, cowards and animals in uniform of the Pakistani Punjabi Army. I survived as I hid myself for four days – without any food, without any water – in the Fore Peak store of the ship.

Bangladesh was born as I came out of my sanctuary. My Bengalee brethren helped me, fed me, took care of me and showered love, affections and kindness over me. They paid for my Air Passage to Singapore, where I was to start a new life, a new beginning, a new chapter in the not-so-long history of my life, far, far away from my motherland, my fatherland, Sindh.

Singapore became my homeland for over forty years since then – and my friends the Bengalees constructed a beautiful home, cottages, palaces in my heart, mind and soul, which I would cherish for as long as I live.

Back to 1971 – what I saw in Chittagong had left deep wounds on my heart and soul – wounds inflicted by the rapists, murderers, barbarian Pakistani soldiers, as I saw streets reddened by the blood of innocent Bengalees, young girls raped and brutally cut into pieces, infants snatched from the arms of their mothers and banged viciously in cold blood against the walls and tree trunks till only the tiny feet were left in the pitiless, merciless. Filthy hands of the barbarians and savages in uniform. The young mothers were than brutally gang-raped and subsequently dismembered, tortured and bludgeoned to death. What I saw was much, much and much more – even the animals will not do the same to their pray – I do not have any words to describe the way children, men and women were lynched by these barbarous, sadistic savages as they shouted, “Allah-o-Akbar.”

I went to Dacca to meet my dear friend, Nurul Amin, and his family and especially to hear the song of Shaat Bhaaee Champa. What I heard and saw made me to scream at my Creator, “Why, Oh Lord, Why?” My dear friend was savagely murdered by the coward Pakistan Army and my sweet dear little twelve-year Champa was gang-raped by these animals, and was grabbed by these barbarians from her tiny legs and continuously hit on the walls of the house, till there were nothing but pieces of her flash and bones and blood all over.

Bengalees were now free – freedom that came at a great expense and tremendous sacrifices – free to take destiny in their own hands. JOEI BANGLA – amee tomakei bhalo bhashee.

جوٸي بنگلا؍ امي توماڪي ڀالو ڀاشي؍

I love you my brave, valiant brothers and sisters, sons and daughters in Bangladesh!. We Sindhis had loved you and will always love you, my dear Bengalees. Long Live Bangladesh! Long Live Sindh!

And, Murshid Saaeen Bhittai says:

جي مون گھر اچين سپرين٫ ھوڏَ ڇڏي ھيڏي٫ ڳالھيون ڳجھ اندر جيون٫ تنِ گھريون تو ڏي٫ جي وھين گڏ گوڏي٫ تَ دونر سڻاياٸن دل جا ………(سر بروو ۱؍۱۸)

Jei muun ghari acheen supreen, hodda chhaddei heiddei, Ggaalhiyuun ggujha andara jyuun, tani ghuriyuun to ddei, Jei wiheen gaddu goddei, ta donra sunnaayaeen dil jaa. (Barwo:1/18) Supposing, Beloved! Thou cometh hither, Leaving Thy Vanity far, far away yonder; Fabulous anecdotes aplenty hidden within, Lifting the veil surely with Thee whisper; Supposing, Beloved! Thou knelth together, Carols within heart, chant for Thine pleasure.

……… Translated by Ahmed Makhdoom

First published in Ahmed Makhdoom’s Facebook, December 17, 2009

Dr. Ahmed Makhdoom, Professor, Oceanographic Sciences and Maritime Studies, Singapore, Malaysia

Via: Bangladesh Watchdog

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A Tribute to My Father – Dr. Peter D’Costa, B.H. http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/a-tribute-to-my-father-dr-peter-dcosta-bh/ http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/a-tribute-to-my-father-dr-peter-dcosta-bh/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2009 22:20:04 +0000 http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/?p=510 By Jerome D’Costa

Photo Courtesy: Studio ‘H’ (Nawabpur, Dhaka)

My father, Dr. Peter D’Costa, B.H. (Bachelor of Homeopathy), also known as ‘P. D’Costa Sir’ to the students of St. Gregory’s High School in Dhaka, was born at Rangamatia Village of the then Dhaka District (now Gazipur District) on January 5, 1904.

After passing Class (Grade) 3 from Kaliganj Pilot School, Dt. Dhaka, he was semt to study at St. Anthony’s High School in Calcutta. After the Entrance Examinations, he taught at the same school and studied Homeopathy at night at the Dunham College of Homeopathy, Calcutta. After four years, he received his B.H. degree and was awarded the ‘Ratimanjari Dassi Memorial Medal’ for scholastic achievement.

After one year of independence of Pakistan, he returned to his village and practised homeopathy medicines. As the financial condition of the newly-independent country was not strong, he could not do well financially in his practice. In 1951, he left for Dhaka and joined St. Gregory’s High School (English Medium) as a teacher in the primary section. In 1968, he retired from teaching after suffering a stroke.

He was spending his retired life in the village when on November 26, 1971, the West Pakistani armed forces attacked the village and killed 14 persons including him and burnt down about 90% of the houses.

When we received the news that the military started wading thigh-deep water in the beel (marsh) to come to attack the village, men sent their womenfolk and children away to another village on the other side of the small canal. We did the same with my mother Agnes D’Costa, a teacher of Rangamatia Catholic Primary School, and my adopted sister.

In the weekend I had come from work with the Pratibeshi weekly in Dhaka and could not return due to military and mukti bahini (freedom forces) confrontations in different places, including Kaliganj). So on this Friday, November 26, with fright, my father and I were watching the fires at the far end of the village in the west as well as hearing wheezing bullet sounds over the trees. I tried to coax my father, who could walk with some difficulty with the help of a cane, to go with me as far away as possible, but he refused and said: “If they see me old and sick and still kill me, let them do so. I would rather die at home than in the fields and jungles.”

When the bullet sounds became louder, I asked my father to go away with me and again he refused. Then I said that “I have to leave because if they find a young person, they would capture or kill him instantly.” He told me to leave immediately. I touched his hand for the last time and left home and ran towards the other village in the north. As I neared the canal, one bullet wheezed past a few inches by me and struck one of the bamboo trees and divided it in the middle. It scared the hell out of me and I shouted: “Jesus, save me!” and jumped over a cane bush and fell into the canal. I waded knee-deep water and climbed over the side of the canal and reached the other side.

Behind the houses in the field I find about three hundred villagers — men, women and children — huddled on the ground. My future wife and members of her family were also there. A few minutes later, we see two muktijuddas (freedom fighters) running past us away to the east. I shouted and asked them whether they had fired at the soldiers. When they said “yes”, my common sense told me that the soldiers would definitely come to the other side of the canal and search for the freedom fighters.

I told my future father-in-law, Joachim Costa, a teacher of St. Joseph’s High School in Dhaka, that the army would definitely come and, if they find us, would finish us all. He told me to take my engaged finance, her mother and others and walk further up towards the east. As we started to move, others also followed us. We first went to the villages of Deolia and Baktarpur and then finally, just before evening, reached Kapashia village, about three miles north-east. It was a Muslim village where we never set foot in our life. They received us with such care and empathy that we immediately felt at home. They immediately began to offer us water and muri (puffed rice) followed by emptying of some of their rooms for our stay! We will never forget this sacrificing hospitality.

Those who did not move from near the canal, that we left earlier, were ultimately killed by the army.

Please read the rest of the article here.

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Pakistani Army Desecrated Churches in 1971 http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/pakistani-army-desecrated-churches-in-1971/ http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/pakistani-army-desecrated-churches-in-1971/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2009 22:05:42 +0000 http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/?p=503 They even desecrated the church

They even desecrated the church

Jerome D’Costa

I had written the above report in early 1972 narrating the attack of the West Pakistani soldiers in late November of 1971 on our Rangamatia Village in the then Dhaka District (now Gazipur District). Fourteen persons, including my father Dr. Peter D’Costa, B.H., were killed on that day and about 90% of the houses of the village were set on fire and burnt down by the enemy.

Later they also returned and entered the Rangamatia Catholic church compound and desecrated and looted the Sacred Heart Church and pillaged the adjoining parish priest’s house and the nuns’ convent after breaking their locks.

During the deadly crackdown of March 25, 1971 night, the West Pakistani forces also fired indiscriminately in old Dhaka hitting St. Thomas Anglican Church’s belfry with a canon shell. The shell and bullet marks on the front wall were visible for sometime after that infamous day.

West Pakistani soldiers also had forcibly occupied a Protestant church at Akhaura in Brahmanbaria District and turned it into a war prison where captured Bangalis were tortured. Indian photojournalist Robin Sengupta, who covered the war between India and East Pakistan in December, 1971, gave a photo of that church in his April 2000 book (page 57) in Bengali Chitra-Shangbadiker Cameraye Muktijuddha (The Liberation War Through the Lens of a Photojournalist).

The Original Report on Attack on Rangamatia Village

Since the double-clicking of the above image does not give good enough enlarged version of the report for easy reading, I am reproducing below the report that had appeared in The Nation, the first English daily from the free soil of Bangladesh, dated February 4, 1972 (I took the liberty to add some commas, add meanings or explanations in the first bracket for easy understanding of present-day readers, and break a few longer paragraphs into shorter ones):

They Even Desecrated the Church
By Jerome D’Costa

It was black Friday, November 26, 1971. On that fateful day, the blood-thirsty army men of General Yahya had let loose a reign of terror in the village of Rangamatia, three miles north-west of Kaliganj in the district of Dacca [now written as ‘Dhaka’].

The killers of the Bengalees [Bangalis] reached Doripara, which was between Arikhola and Pubail railway stations, where earlier the railway line was destroyed by the Mukti Bahini [freedom fighters] in cooperation with the villagers, and began to barrage the village of Rangamatia with rifle and submachine gun shots in order to make further advance.

When the army men began to wade the beel [marsh] through knee-deep water, a few Mukti Bahini boys, who were guarding the village, fired at them and wounded three invaders. As the fighting young men were outnumbered by the invaders, they could not defend the village as was expected earlier. The hordes of Yahya entered the village with all the fury and set fire to the whole Christian village and machine-gunned fourteen villagers of all ages.

Rev. Father Houser, C.S.C., an American priest residing in the Mission, along with the Sisters from the convent had to take refuge in a paddy field in order to save themselves from the gruesome barbarity of the Pak forces.

Later the aggressors pitched a camp near the damaged railway bridge [half-a-mile away]. When the priest used to go to visit his people in the far-flung villages, where they had fled earlier, the army men would come to the church compound and loot the valuables. They broke open the priest’s house and took away everything worthwhile and made a mess of the church records and files. For safety’s sake earlier, many Christians had kept their valuables in the priest’s house. All of them had been stolen.

They forcibly opened the church door and broke the tabernacle on the altar, which is considered most holy by the Christians, and took away all the holy articles used in the religious ceremonies. One large statue of Christ, which was kept above the altar, was thrown down from there and broken into pieces. They also looted the nuns’ convent.

This way, the homiciders gave vent to their anger which was caused by the heroic Mukti Bahini, when a few days ago, they had killed 30 Pakistani soldiers and gained control of and flew Bangladesh flag on Kaliganj. The army tried in various ways to recapture this vital place but failed. They even used a tank to crush our valiant young men but could not succeed. As a last resort, they airraided Kaliganj, heinously attacked Rangamatia and regained control of the area after much effort.

The brave and ever hopeful people, who lost their houses and some members of their families, did not despair at all. Their will power had hardened like steel and they were ready to make any sacrifice for the independence of Bangladesh which came into reality a few days later [on December 16, 1971].

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1974 Famine: An Unfashionable Tragedy by John Pilger http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/1974-famine-an-unfashionable-tragedy-by-john-pilger/ http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/1974-famine-an-unfashionable-tragedy-by-john-pilger/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2009 11:27:18 +0000 http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/?p=465 Possibly over a million people died in the 1974 famine in Bangladesh from July 1974 to January 1975, although the Bangladesh government claimed only 26,000 people died. The causes are generally thought to be a combination of natural disasters (cyclone, droughts and floods).

Among the socio-political factors, Devinder Sharma of the Global Hunger Alliance claims that:

At the height of the 1974 famine in the newly born Bangladesh, the U.S. United States had withheld 2.2 million tonnes of food aid to ‘ensure that it abandoned plans to try Pakistani war criminal.

Here is documentary by John Pilger which depicts the tragedy and the US politics behind this.

John Pilger – An Unfashionable Tragedy – AN ATV documentary
Part 1 (9:59 Minutes), Part 2 (10:00 Minutes), Part 3 (7:06 Minutes)

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VANDERBILT Television News Archive -1971 records http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/vanderbilt-television-news-archive-1971-records/ http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/vanderbilt-television-news-archive-1971-records/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2009 10:30:17 +0000 http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/?p=459 No. Date Headline Video Type Network Begin Length 1 10/25/1971 India-Pakistan Evening News ABC 05:02:50 pm 01:30 2 11/21/1971 The Week Ahead Evening News NBC 05:50:00 pm 02:20 3 11/22/1971 India-Pakistan Dispute Evening News NBC 05:41:10 pm 02:00 4 12/07/1971 India-Pakistan / War East Evening News ABC 05:01:50 pm 02:50 5 12/07/1971 India-Pakistan / War / East Evening News NBC 05:31:40 pm 03:20 6 12/08/1971 India-Pakistan / War Evening News NBC 05:31:40 pm 04:40 7 12/09/1971 India-Pakistan / United Nations / War / East Evening News ABC 05:02:00 pm 02:50 8 12/09/1971 India-Pakistan/War East Evening News NBC 05:31:30 pm 02:50 9 12/10/1971 India-Pakistan / War East Evening News NBC 05:31:30 pm 03:10 10 12/13/1971 India-Pakistan / War East Evening News CBS 05:31:10 pm 02:50 11 12/13/1971 India-Pakistan / War East Evening News NBC 05:31:30 pm 07:10 12 12/14/1971 India-Pakistan / War East Evening News CBS 05:37:30 pm 02:40 13 12/14/1971 India-Pakistan War / East Evening News NBC 05:41:40 pm 00:30 14 12/15/1971 India-Pakistan / War East Evening News ABC 05:02:10 pm 00:20 15 12/15/1971 India-Pakistan / War East Evening News CBS 05:31:10 pm 01:40 16 12/15/1971 India-Pakistan / War East Evening News NBC 05:31:30 pm 04:10 17 12/15/1971 India-Pakistan / War East Evening News CBS 05:35:00 pm 02:40 18 12/23/1971 Pakistan / India Evening News NBC 05:51:40 pm 00:30 19 12/29/1971 Pakistan Prisoners Evening News NBC 05:45:10 pm 01:50 20 12/31/1971 West Pakistan Evening News NBC 05:37:30 pm 02:20 ]]> 0 Video: Village Massacre http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/video-village-massacre/ http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/video-village-massacre/#comments Sat, 21 Mar 2009 14:03:45 +0000 http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/?p=451 ABC News (11/30/1971): Village Massacre

Viewer Discretion Strongly Advised

Video of the aftermath of a massacre in a village near Dhaka. 75 villagers – men, women, children – were killed by the Pakistani army. Many bodies were burned, women were raped, and babies were bayoneted before the village was burned.

As the Pakistan army started to lose its grip on Bangladesh in late November of 1971, more and more foreign reporters started to venture into the country. As reporters began to enter villages and towns in Bangladesh, they discovered the aftermath of the massacres by the Pakistan army. The full extent of the genocide began to emerge in the following months.

[Click for high resolution video]

By Mashuqur Rahman

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Mahbub Ali Sachchu http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/mahbub-ali-sachchu/ http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/mahbub-ali-sachchu/#comments Sun, 04 Jan 2009 14:08:47 +0000 http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/?p=432

Mahbub Ali Sachchu was a a student of Tolaram College. Inspired by Bangabhandhu’s speech on the 7th of March he organized some arms and resistance in Narayanganj. On 26th of March 1971 when Pakistan Army started to enter Naraynganj, they faced resistance and three soldiers died. On the next day the Pakistan army cam back with more backup and started to kill people indiscriminately. They dragged people from a mosque and executed in firing squad style. Mahbub escaped from there but was not lucky as he was shot near Narayanganj govt. girls high school. Here is the full news article (Bangla):


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