Published: Monday, November 4, 2013

It was matricide

Lone survivor of Rayerbazar massacre tells how a mother's plea to be alive for her little son snubbed

Padma bridge“What an impious butchery! What a sacrilegious act! What a shame for the human civilisation!”
These words echoed through the courtroom of International Crimes Tribunal-2 as its chairman yesterday read out the charge against and the punishment to war criminals Chowdhury Mueen Uddin and Ashrafuzzaman Khan for their complicity in the killing of martyred journalist Selina Parveen.
Terming her killing a matricide, the court described the brutality of her death by bayonet charge even after she pleaded for life for the sake of her only child.
Selina Parveen, editor of Shilalipi, a pro-liberation weekly that published articles by prominent personalities including Prof Munier Chowdhury, journalist Shahidullah Kaiser, Zahir Raihan and ANM Golam Mostafa, became the target of Al-Badr as she used the weekly’s earning  to help freedom fighters.
Her son Shumon Zahid was eight when she was abducted on December 13, 1971.
In July this year, Shumon testified in the tribunal. He gave a vivid description of his mother’s abduction, which he had witnessed.
Selina’s last words that she would return in a few minutes are still fresh in his mind.
In 1996, Shumon came to know about his mother from another witness Delwar Hossain, the lone survivor of Rayerbazar massacre.
Delwar, who in 1971 had an argument with his non-Bangalee boss of a private company regarding Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, was also detained at Al-Badr’s Mohammadpur Physical Training Centre camp along with other freedom-loving Bengalees.
He testified that he had been there during Selina Parveen’s killing along with other detainees on December 15 at Katasur in Mohammadpur, currently the site of Rayerbazar Martyred Intellectuals’ Memorial.
Blindfolded, he heard a woman screaming and pleading Al-Badr men not to kill her.
The judgment quoted Delwar’s testimony of what Selina had said, “Don’t kill me. You have mothers and sisters. What if I were your mother or sister? I have a little kid; he will die, if you kill me.”

Padma bridgeShe also told the men her name, Delwar had told the court.
Even after that the Al-Badr men showed no mercy; rather they charged her with bayonet to death.
The judgment continued saying, “Selina Parveen was a mother. The appalling attack was done not only to Selina Parveen but to the mother’s line. The killing was rather a matricide. This indescribable brutality shocks the human conscience indeed.”
Talking to The Daily Star, Shumon Zahid said, “I have received a verdict after 42 years but justice is yet to be served. I will receive justice once the criminals [Ashraf and Mueen] are brought back to Bangladesh and executed.”