Journey through Bangladesh
Shikha Shotero Reminds
It has been 37 years. The identity of the 17 freedom fighters has not been determined. The small memorial of 'Shikha Shotero' is on the Govindaganj-Chhatak road in Sunamganj district to remind us of those heroic sons of the soil.
It was the 4th of April, 1971. A contingent of the Pak army entered Chhatak thana headquarters and resorted to mass killing with the help of local collaborators that day. They brutally shot dead leading people like Haji Moina Miah, Somuj Ali and Nozir Miah of Bagbari area. On the following day, they killed Dilip Nag, Jogendra Protap Dutta, his son Nanu Dutta of Chhatak Bazar, a commercial hub of the region. The same day, they caught a student of Rajshahi University, as he had come to join the liberation war, and killed him. The body was then dumped into the Surma River.
As many as 18 young students from places in a group crossed the Surma river through village Bausha and Betura ghat at Chhatak for starting towards the Indian border. Some collaborators obtained information of the group's trip towards India to join the freedom war. Soon after, they informed their regional commander Motosir Ali of the matter. There took place a dark chapter in the history of Chhatak.
A pro-Pakistan group consisting of Rajakar Lal Miah, Mosoddor Ali and Altab Ali of the village Asadnagar, Tajul Islam of the village Mirjapur and Mojor Ali of Noilgaon along with other Razakars led by Fakir Motosir Ali captured the 18 youths. They picked the group from the Betura School field to the house of Motosir Ali Fakir. They had to pass the night there before they were brought to Chhatak next day. However, a student named Zafar Ahmed Kabiri, hailing from Sriramishi under Jagonnathpur thana of Sunamganj managed to escape from their clutches somehow. Motosir handed the group of 17 over to the Pakistan Army men.
The troops then took them to the village Madhabpur and asked the young people to dig a big ditch. Later the Pak Army buried the 17 young men there. The villagers who were around could not come out of their houses that day. The inhabitants of Madhabpur next day visited the place. Although the identity of those youngsters could not be determined, it is widely believed they might have been from nearby Biswanath, Derai and Jagonnathpur upazilas. Muktojoddhas of Chhatak thana in 1972 built a small memorial for them and called it Shikha Shotero. In 1992 the Chhatak Upazila Parishad did some renovation work on that. People still pay homage to the departed souls- the young men who made the ultimate sacrifice that day.
(R) thedailystar.net 2008