Behind the Scene
Still Carrying the Bullet
AKU Mia's back is rotting. The bullet he was shot with 37 years ago is still in his body and he has never been operated on. Many nights he hasn't been able to sleep at all, due to the pain. Aku Mia is once again fighting for his life. He lives with his family in someone else's hut and begs for money.
“What good does it do me to be given a great meal on Independence Day if I have to live every other day of my life in total dependence on others?” he asked. “When will the government finally realise its dues to its freedom fighters?” Getting an honourable burial is also of no consolation, it does not come of much use to a living person. Many freedom fighters like Aku Mia doubt what they ever fought for.
Aku Mia told us that he was only twenty years old at the time of the Liberation War. After hearing the announcement from Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman he joined in the battle to free his country from the Pakistani forces.
“I was eager to go ahead and do my part. I joined Sector Number-1 under the command of Major Ziaur Rahman and Major Mohammad Rafiqul Islam. I fought with other freedom fighters for the full duration of the war. I worked in Noakhali, Feni, Ramghor, Mohalchhari, Dighinala, Panchhari, Tabalchhari and Khagrachhari”, he said.
He took a perilous trip to Shubhopur of Noakhali. The Pak Army fired at them. Many of them got shot. Aku Mia was wounded after being shot 5 times. One bullet is still stuck in his back and although this does sap his strength, he hadn't lost his mettle. He fought in numerous wars at Manikchhari, Mohalchhari, Ramghor Tabalchhari, Dighinala. Most of the war took place in the last 3 months of the year 1971, he said.
Some bloody battles were fought as the freedom fighters crushed the Naga and Kuki soldiers from December 8 to 16 in 1971 and freed Khagrachhari district.
They won the fight of 1971 and the long desired freedom but he was only given a certificate after 9 months of fighting. He started to live permanently in Khagrachhari after the war.
He laments that he helped free the land but still does not have enough land to be buried in. He has no way to feed his family of six.
His wife is in poor health too. In the meantime, he is being pressured by his landlord to pay eight months worth of rent.
Nobody even wants to sit around with him for too long because of the smell of his rotting flesh. Khagrachhari Hill District Council Chairman Monindra Lal Tripura has assured him that help will come, he will be treated. This was way back in December of 2006, he is yet to see any real help.
(R) thedailystar.net 2008