Volume 2 Issue 35 | June 07, 2008 |


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Behind the Scene

From Sylhet

Reminders of Liberation

Iqbal Siddiquee

THE day is a reminder of horrors for the peace-loving villagers of Burunga. Like so many other villages, mass killings took place at village of Burunga in Balaganj upazila on 26th May, 1971. As many as 78 people were killed at that time in the hands of the Pak Army men at the premises of Burunga High School. The army and their people held a meeting at the school on 25th May and announced plans for a meeting to form a peace committee the next day while identity cards would be distributed among the villagers. The presence of all the villagers was announced as mandatory.

The next morning, collaborator-leader Abdul Ahad Chowdhury (Saad Miah), Dr. Abdul Khalique and others along with Captain Nur Uddin on a jeep reached Burunga High School at 9 am. A group went to the village and called the villagers to reach the school for joining the meeting to form the peace committee. The Hindus and Muslims were separated. Some were set free while others were asked to stay. Others were asked to recite from the Quran as well as sing praises for Pakistan.

Some of the Muslims were then asked to tie up four Hindus with ropes. Former chairman Badsha Miah tried to protest. Sensing danger, Srinibash Chakravarty managed to open one of the windows of the room, in which the Hindus were kept. But, he could not get out of the room. The headmaster of the school Priti Ranjan Chowdhury and a young man Ranu Malakar managed to jump out the window. Seeing this, the army men fired gunshots at them.

About 90 people, both the Hindus and Muslims were brought out from the school rooms and were put on 3 queues on the school premises. The army captain Nur Uddin said, “You all are the collaborators of the Mujib Bahini. You people tell me what we should do to you.” Abdul Ahad Chowdhury and Abdul Khalique told the captain, these people should not be kept alive, since they are the people of Sheikh Mujib. Within moments brush firing from 3 LMGs started. The school premises were blood stained in minutes. Advocate Ram Ranjan was allowed to remain sitting on a chair and at one point he was asked to move to his house. He walked but then he was shot and killed from behind.

Miraculously, some people who were on the back row remained alive even with bullet wounds that day. 77 bodies lay there the whole day. The next day the army had some people dig a ditch behind the school for burying the bodies.

A survivor Srinibash Chakravarty said, “I had nothing to do that day except see the killing of my brother and father, along with others of the village. Even with bullet wounds on the body, I had to remain lying on the bloodstained ground to save my life.

After the liberation, the place was preserved as a mass grave. A boundary and a small gate are all that's there. The place is still not very well maintained.


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