Volume 2 Issue 61| July 4, 2009 |


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Behind the Scene

From Sylhet

Abdul Mannan: A Man in Sports

Iqbal Siddiquee

IT was the 8th of June, 1971. The Pakistan Army shot and killed Shahid Abdul Mannan, a sports organiser and social activist of Beanibazar as the man went to free his wife and children.

Born in a Muslim family of Kasba Barobari, Beanibazar thana on 1 January, 1927, Abdul Mannan got his primary school education and passed his junior exams from Kasba Primary School and Rukshinimohan ME School before going to Karimganj in Assam to join his businessman father. There he passed matriculation from Nilmoni High School under Calcutta Board. While continuing his studies, this sports buff soon got involved with Karimganj Sporting Union and Town Club. He was Founding Secretary of the Shining Club, Karimganj. Also, he was a member of Calcutta Mohammedan Club. Alongside the family business, Abdul Mannan got more involved with organising sports and games in the region. But soon he had to move since after Partition in 1947, Karimganj became a subdivision of Assam.

Abdul Mannan formed the Panchakhanda Referee Board in 1948 with a goal of raising the standard of football. Mannan was also made Secretary of the Panchakhanda Football Association, which earned well in those days. The man was well known for refereeing in that whole region. He also played an important role in establishing educational institutions.

This peaceful man had no particular political involvement, but he was a conscious citizen. The local unit Awami League Chief Abdul Aziz was his elder brother. Being a target of the Pakistan Army men at the start of the Liberation War, Abdul Aziz managed to leave the country for India. Mannan decided against going to India, and that decision cost him a lot.

The Pak army attacked his house on the morning of 7th June. As he was not in the house, they picked up his wife and younger daughter and took them to the police station. Mowlana Furkan approached the Baloch captain Habib and requested their release. Habib agreed but asked Mannan to come in person.

Mannan reported to the police station knowing the risks. The army released his family but detained him. In the afternoon of the following day, they shot Mannan dead at a nearby hillock. People remember this man with grave respect. The man left behind his wife, a son and two daughters.

After the war, a football tournament named Shahid Abdul Mannan Gold Shield was organised at the PHG High School playground at the Beanibazar upazila headquarters. However, it has not been possible to continue this over the years.


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