Journey through Bangladesh
Memories of the Shahidnagar Massacre
Ahmed Humayun Kabir Topu
FOR the people of Shanthia upazila, April 19th always brings back memories of Shahidnagar. In 1971 during the Liberation War one of the largest mass killings took place in in 'Dab-Bagan', Shahidnagar village in Shanthia upazilla under Pabna district. Over two hundred people in villages were killed that day.
In one of the largest mass killings in the country during the year of the war, several hundred people including many freedom fighters were killed. A number of them were lined up and shot under a coconut tree. The area of Dab-Bagan is situated at Shahidnagar village in Shanthia upazilla, Pabna district. A memorial has been built for them.
According to the history, freedom fighters put up their resistance when the Pakistani forces were entering in the village at noon of April 19. The members of E.P.R (East Pakistan Regiment), Police, Ansar and the freedom fighters jointly took their stance against the occupation.
The freedom fighters hid out in the Dab-Bagan area, when the fight broke out between the two sides. The fight started at noon that day. The Pakistan army retreated after facing strong resistance. Numerous freedom fighters were martyred at the time. Of them were E.P.R Habildar Momtaz Ali, Habildar Abdur Razzak, Nayak Habibur Rahman, Shipahi Iman Ali and Ramzan Ali. The Pakistan army burnt the dead bodies of the martyrs. At least 50 members on the Pak side were also killed.
After the initial defeat the occupation beefed up their forces and launched another attack the same night. This sudden attack defeated the resistance. They proceeded to torch houses and kill more and more people.
The occupation troops destroyed the villages of Bhadrabati, Kurial, Shatiakola, Baragram and some other adjoining villages in Shanthia upazila. Over two hundred people died that day. The Shahidnagar Massacre Day was observed this year. A documentary film was also made. A discussion was held at Shahidnagar memorial on April 19 this year.
Valiant freedom fighter Md. Monzur Alefi chaired the discussion and state minister for power and energy Advocate Shamsul Haque Tuku spoke as chief guest on the occasion. Among others Bera municipality mayor Md. Abdul Baten, Shanthia upazila Parishad chairman Nizam Uddin, Sujanagar upazila parishad chairman Ahmed Firoz Kabir, Pabna Sadar upazila chairman Md. Mosharaf Hossain and the local leaders spoke among others on the occasion.
The speakers on the occasion demanded the trial of war criminals and for a writing of the true history of the liberation war.
Demanding the punishment of war criminals, speakers said Bangladesh was liberated by the supreme sacrifice of freedom fighters and innocent people. They also said to honour the martyrs we must punish the war criminals.
(R) thedailystar.net 2009