Volume 2 Issue 41 | September 13 , 2008 |


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Journey through Bangladesh

From Pabna

Remembering the Demra Massacre

IT was Boishakh 30th, or May 14th of 1971 when over 9 hundred people including the freedom fighters were martyred at 'Demra' in Pabna district by the Pakistan occupation army with the help of their local collaborators. It was one of the largest massacres in the Liberation War across the country. The day is known as the Demra Massacre Day. No memorials have been built in the Demra mass graveyard in the 37 years since independence where several hundred martyrs lie. There are no special programmes to mark this day.

On this day in 1971, the occupation army with the help of their local collaborators mercilessly killed over nine hundred innocent people including Hindus, Muslims, freedom fighters, women and innocent young people of Demra union in Faridpur upazila under Pabna district. There was hardly a family that doesn't remember one of their own that became a martyr that day. The occupation forces and their local collaborators looted the residences of the villagers. They also burnt the houses. Looting, arson, rape and mass killing ravaged the region of Demra.

“Several hundred people, mostly Hindus, were sheltered in Demra during the Liberation War. Three to four hundred Hindus were martyred by the occupation army and the local collaborators that day,” said Shushil Chandra, son of a martyr in the village of Demra. Locals claimed that Razakar leader Asad (who was killed later) and his associates led the Pakistan occupation army.

The army killed fathers in front of their sons and daughters. They killed Lal Bihari in front of his youngest daughter when he was trying to escape with her. They attacked Boloram Roy's residence. They burnt Boloram Roy and his brother to death. They killed four sons of Narayan Chandra Das and his whole family.

“It was perhaps Friday when the army entered the village from Baghabari. The local collaborators led the occupation forces. They had cornered Bausgari, Rupsi as well as the whole of Demra that day.” Shontosh Kumar Kundu, teacher of Demra High School and eyewitness said.

“The army captured innocent villagers and freedom fighters raiding their homes. They caught over a thousand people. They checked to see who was a Muslim and who was a Hindu. They killed people in different spots. In some parts, the occupation army had killed 5, 10 or 20 people. In other places there were three to four hundred dead bodies,” Shontosh Kumar Kundu sad.

“The occupation army with the help of their local collaborators caught several hundred people from different parts of the villages and gathered in front of Demra grave yard. The occupation army forced them to line up. They were then brush fired upon,” told Shontosh, the eyewitness.

It is not clear as to exactly how many were martyred in that spot but the estimate is four to five hundred. There was no funeral following this.

“We separated the dead bodies of Hindus and Muslims as we recognised them. The Muslims were buried in Demra graveyard but the Hindu's were buried in that mass graveyard. There was no funeral. How many people were martyred on that day we don't know. It's probably over four hundred,” said Nurul Islam, who buried the martyrs among others.

Among the martyrs, names that have come up include Anil Chandra Sarkar and his son Gonesh Chandra Sheel, Satish Chandra Sarkar, Rabindranath Sheel, Monindronath Sheel, Swopon Kundu, Jatish Kundu, Hiralal Das, Barun Das, Harilal Das, Bhorot Chandra Das, Rishikesh Kundu, Bivuti Kundu, Kartik Ghosh, Madhulal Ghosh, Tin Kouri Pal, Kasimuddin and his father, Muna Majumdar, Khobir Pramanik, Khorshed Pramanik, Eusuf, Afil, Ahez, Ebad Ali, Jamal, Moksed, Ofaz Khan, Jabed Fakir.

Moksed Ali, Khalil, Abdul Gofur and Mojibar Sheikh had managed to save their lives even though they been caught. “The people of Demra want a memorial for the martyrs. We have demanded this to the authorities,” said Moloy Kumar, chairman of Demra Union Council. He said his father was killed on that day. The local Muktijoddha Sangshad also demanded a memorial.

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