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Mass Graves of Intellectuals: An Eyewitness Account

Hamida Rahman, in her article “Katasurer Baddhabhumi” (The Mass Grave at Katasur), describes her visit to Rayer Bazar:

I soon came upon two huge bodies­­ the noses had been cut off, the ears too. It seemed as if someone had torn away pieces of flesh from near their mouths. Their hands and feet were tied. The corpses had lain there for two days because they hadn’t been identified. I cannot forget the distorted, mutilated faces of those two tall, fair men. Afterwards the people of that area buried the bodies where they lay.

A few steps ahead, at the foot of a mound of earth, lay a woman’s corpse. The woman’s eyes had been tied. The gamchha (towel) with which her eyes had been tied was still lying there. She was wearing a black Dhakai sari. On one foot she had on a sock. There was nothing left of her face. It seemed as if someone had torn and cut away the flesh so that she would not be recognized. The woman was fair and slightly plump. One breast had been cut off. The corpse was lying on its back. I could not stand the sight of that horrible, featureless face for very long. I could not recognize her. Afterwards she was identified as Selina Parveen, Editor of Shilalipi. When her relatives heard the news, they came in the evening and took her body away.

Proceeding a little farther, I came upon a skeleton with a little flesh still clinging to its legs and to its rib cage. Perhaps crows and vultures had eaten the flesh. The long hair attached to the skull, matted with dirt and mud, bore silent witness that this corpse had once been a woman.

Ahead of me l saw a group of people standing on a raised portion of land, looking down at something. As I reached them, one of them reached out a hand and pulled me up beside them. Looking down at the swamp in front, I saw a horrible sight. There weren’t just one or two corpses there; there were twelve or thirteen bodies of what had once been twelve or thirteen healthy, strapping men. They were lying there, one after the other. Next to this group of bodies lay the corpses of two men; the heart had been torn out from one of the bodies. This body was that of Dr. Rabbi.

On a nearby stack were the bodies of Yakub Ali, chairman of the Ramna Union, and Sirajuddin Hossain of the Ittefaq. Someone next to me said that Munier Chowdhury’s body had also been found here. Kabir Chowdhury had come in the morning and identified the body.

I was there for about an hour. I could not come away. One by one people kept on coming. Dr. Rabbi’s corpse seemed still fresh. His killers had torn away his heart. They knew that he was a cardiologist, that is why they had torn out his heart. His eyes had been tied, and he had fallen down. It seemed as if someone had pushed him into the ditch. The legs still seemed to belong to a living man. His face had been scratched and torn by the nails of his killers.

An eye doctor of the caliber of Dr. Aleem Chowdhury will not be produced in one day; a journalist and writer of the calibre of Shahidullah Kaiser will not be created in one day either. That such a brutal killing would be committed on the very day that we got our independence was something no one would ever have believed.

Field after field, mound after mound, marsh after marsh yielded corpse after corpse, silent witnesses to the countless numbers who had been brought here to be killed.



One Response to Mass Graves of Intellectuals: An Eyewitness Account

  1. AB Singh August 7, 2009 at 8:38 am #

    The Paki army or a bunch of criminals commited the most barbarious crime against the helpless people of Bangladesh.They have done the same in 1948 in Kashmir and they do it time & again whenever they get an opportunity.

    The Indians did a great deed in helping the valiant B’deshis in the struggle but the criminals were left to go to their homes thereafter.

    They should have been given the most horrific death for their deeds.

    None of them paid for their crimes that’s the worst part.

    Patriotic people have never forgiven the then Indian govt. especially Indira Gandhi for chickening out at that juncture.

    Indian politicians have always let down the Indian people at critical moments as opposed to its Armed forces.

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