Journey through Bangladesh
The Mass Killings of Makalkandi
IT was the 18th of August, the day of the brutal mass killing of Makalkandi. Eighty-five people were killed on this day in 1971, including eleven from a single family. The people of the region still can not forget the horrors of the day.
A traditional village, Makalkandi sits on a low-lying area in Baniachang upazila of Habiganj district. The village, with its Hindu majority community, had the acclaim of being a progressive village in those days. In the morning of 18 August, 1971, the villagers were preparing for Manasha and Chandi puja at the old temple. All of a sudden a contingent of Pakistani army men stormed into the village and surrounded the temple. They ordered the devotees to get in a line in front of the temple, and opened fire on them. As many as eighty-five, including eleven from a single family, succumbed that day. Most of the victims were women or children.
Minati Rani Chowdhury, 76 says, "I don't know how I am alive. God saved me. They snatched away my son from my lap," she says, "I can never forget the day". Bangsha Mohan Das, 85, who also escaped the horrors that day, says, "I was shot and I fell to the ground. At the end of the day I found myself alive. They put all of us in a line before opening fire. I have been receiving treatment for a long time and though I am disabled, I am still alive.
They set the village houses ablaze after the mass killing. Some of the people who had escaped the brutal incident, suffered for years before their death.
The upazila administration in 2008, built a small memorial to keep alive the memories of those who scarificed their lived on that fateful day. Some of the people, who had embraced martyrdom that day include, Toroni Das, Dinesh Das, Thakur Chandra Das, Manoranjan Das, Provashini Bala Das, Chitranga Bala Das and Sohagi Bala Das.
(R) thedailystar.net 2009