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Blood and Tears - Chapter 4: Massacres in Chandraghona, Rangamati PDF Print E-mail
Written by Qutubuddin Aziz   
Friday, 26 March 2004 00:50
Article Index
Blood and Tears
Chapter 1: The Ides of March in Dacca
Chapter 2: Terror in Narayanganj
Chapter 3: Human Abattoirs in Chittagong
Chapter 4: Massacres in Chandraghona, Rangamati
Chapter 5: Fire and Death in Khulna
Chapter 6: Satkhira Aflame
Chapter 7: Hell in Dinajpur
Chapter 8: Carnage in Parbatipur
Chapter 9: Slaying in Thakurgaon, Hilli
Chapter 10: Slaughter in Laksham, Rajbari and Faridpur
All Pages
Wajihunnissa, 35, whose husband was employed in the Central Excise Department and was posted at Chandraghona, gave this account of the March 1971 slaughter of non-Bengalis in her township:
“In the second week of March 1971, Awami League gangs visited the non-Bengalis in our locality and assured them that no harm would touch them if they surrendered their weapons. My husband, Maqsood Alam, who was an excellent marksman, complied with their instructions and gave up his gun.....

“In the third week of March, roving bands of armed Awami Leaguers terrorised the non-Bengalis and extorted money from them. They had blocked all the escape routes.

“On March 26, an armed group of Awami Leaguers called at our house and ordered my husband to go with them to his office, I knew that it was a ruse and that they were after the blood of my husband....

“On March 27, another killer gang raided my house. They told me and the three brothers of my husband that the Deputy Commissioner of Rangamati had instructed that we should be taken to his office to protect us. As we prepared to go, the killers asked me at gunpoint to stay back. They roped my brothers-in-law together and put them in a truck......

“In the afternoon, a huge mob of Bengali rebels raided our locality and looted the houses of non-Bengalis. Our menfolk had been kidnapped. A killer gang ransacked my house and looted everything, except the ceiling fans and wardrobes. They drove the non-Bengali women and children, like cattle, to a large compound where we were ordered to stay. For fifteen days we were starved, and we prayed to God for help. On April 13, our captors learnt that the Pakistani troops were marching towards Chandraghona. The rebels ordered us to fall in line and we knew that they would open fire on us. Some of us tried to break loose and there was a melee. All of a sudden a shell fell and burst a few yards away from the compound where we were herded by our captors. We saw in the far distance a company of Pakistani soldiers, waving the Green and Crescent flag, racing towards us. Our cowardly captors took fright and scampered like mice running away from a cat. The Pakistani troops gave us water and food. They freed 200 non-Bengali women and children who were held captive in another camp in Chandraghona. We learnt that all the non-Bengali men who had been kidnapped by the rebels from Chandraghona were slaughtered and dumped into the Karnaphuli river......

“The federal Army accommodated us in a Relief Camp in Chittagong. After the Indian Army and the Mukti Bahini captured Chittagong in the third week of March 1971, they unleashed death and destruction on the non-Bengalis. My little daughter caught a chill in the wintery cold; no hospital was willing to treat the child of a Bihari. She died in my arms. I was moved to a Red Cross Camp after some days. In February 1974, was repatriated to Karachi.”

Witnesses from Chittagong said that in April 1971, the Bengali rebels looted the Karnaphuli Paper and Rayon Mills and slaughtered the non-Bengali staff and their families. Not many escaped the massacre. Hundreds of teenage girls, kidnapped after their fathers or husbands had been murdered, were ravished by their Bengali captors in houses used for mass slaughter and sex assault. It is estimated that more than 5,000 non-Bengalis perished in the massacre in Chandraghona in March-April 1971. This is far in excess of the initial figure of 3,000 dead given out by the Government in its August 1971 White Paper on the East Pakistan crisis. Rebel soldiers of the East Bengal Regiment and the East Pakistan Rifles looted all the cash from the Karnaphuli Paper and Rayon Mills and spared the lives of some senior staff members after they paid them huge sums of money as ransom.

Rangamati is a picturesque town situated in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Forty-five miles from Chittagong, it lies on the bank of the Karnaphuli River. In March-April 1971, the Awami League’s rebellion engulfed it in the flames of conflict and the non-Bengalis were exterminated by the hundreds. In April 1971, all the non-Bengalis living in Rangamati were rounded up by armed gangs of rebels and slaughtered before the federal Army arrived. The Circuit House in Rangamati, which attracted tourists from far and wide, was used as the operational base by the rebels from where they directed the campaign to liquidate the non-Bengalis in Chandaraghona and Rangamati.

Abid Hussain, 34, who was employed in the Karnaphuli Paper and Rayon Mills, lived in a small house in Rangamati because he could not get a staff quarter in the Mill premises. Repatriated to Karachi with his wife in February 1974, he testified:

“The first major incident in the Karnaphuli Paper and Rayon Mills occurred on March 18 when Awami League militants incited the Bengali millhands to kill the non-Bengali staff and their families and occupy the Mill. Realising what lay in store for us, I rushed to my house and, along with my wife; we took shelter in the house of a God-fearing and trustworthy Bengali friend.....”

“Roving bands of Awami Leaguers had terrorised the non-Bengalis in Rangamati all through March 1971 and kidnapped many of the non-Bengali men for slaughter. But in April 1971, the Bengali rebels rounded up all the non-Bengalis, herded them in school buildings and gunned them to death before the federal Army came”, he said.

“I had shifted to a friend’s house in Chittagong after the federal Army had beaten the rebels. When I visited Rangamati again, there was hardly any non-Bengali left”, he added.

Some escapees from the Awami League’s terror in Rangamati sought refuge in the shacks of Chakma tribesmen in April 1971 and they trekked back to Rangamati after the Pakistan Army had established control over it.

Witnesses said that the rebel gangs used to dump at night truck-loads of corpses into the Karnaphuli river. Many of these dead bodies floated into the Bay of Bengal and the crew and passengers on board foreign ships reported sighting many bloated human corpses in the sea.



-3 # 2010-04-12 15:23
খুবই মর্মান্তিক একটা ইতিহাস পড়লাম যা অত্যন্ত সুচারুভাবে এতদিন ধামাচাপা দেওয়া হয়েছিল। বাংলাদেশে এরকম কোন বই আজপর্যন্ত কখনই প্রকাশ করতে দেওয়া হয় নাই। এসব খুনি চরিত্রহীন মুক্তিযোদ্ধাদের কেই এখন পরিচিত করা হচ্ছে দেশের সেরা সন্তান বলে!!!! এদেশের স্বল্প শিক্ষিত ও কুশিক্ষিত মানুষগুলো যে খুব সহজেই রাতারাতি জানোয়ারে রুপান্তরিত হয় তার নমুনা আমরা সাম্প্রতিককালেই আবার দেখেছি। বিডিআর কি নির্মমভাবে তার স্বজাতিয় আর্মির অফিসারদের হত্যা করল, তাদের স্ত্রী, মেয়েদের সম্ভ্রমহানি করল। এদেরই পূর্বপুরুষ ইপিআর-এ কাজ করার সময় মুক্তিযোদ্ধাদের সাথে তাল মিলিয়ে যে গণহত্যা,ধর্ষন ও লুটপাটে লিপ্ত হয়েছিল সেটাতে অবাক হবার কিছু নেই। জাতি হিসেবে আমাদের এসব নৃশংসতার জন্য অবশ্যই ক্ষমা চাওয়া উচিত। লক্ষ লক্ষ অবাঙ্গালিদের হত্যা করে গণ কবর দিয়ে সেগুলোকেই আবার নির্লজ্জের মত নিজেদের বলে প্রচার করে কত যে নিচে নেমেছি আমরা! সাধেই কি আজ আমাদের এই অবস্থা।
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+1 # 2010-04-13 00:58

Hello Moinul Hasan you are listening one sided story and are passing your comments without knowing actual facts. Killing goes on on Bengali also by the non Bengalis especially in Pahartali Wireless colony by stopping a train coming from Nazirhat to Chittagong city and slaughtered the innocent passengers.

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+11 # 2010-04-13 16:08

Mr Sikder, you are right for so long we were used to listening one-sided story of Awami propaganda machine. Those liers knew they cannot stand the facts and thats exactly why they always censor this kind of books. What were you trying to imply by the rest of your comment? Firstly, do you know how ludicrous your claim is to accuse a tiny non-Bengali community of mass killings of the huge Bengali community while the incompetent Pakistani Army was lying dormant before 25th March? How can non-Bengalis even think of attacking Bengalis in systematic manner? Especially during the period when the region was virtually run by the mob rule of Awami thugs. Your tone is similar to that of the Hindu mobs of Gujrat, who used the same lie (accusing the Muslim minority for attacking the Hindu majority) to justify their genocidal acts.

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+10 # 2010-04-14 21:21

This video clearly proves the brutality and animal nature of Mukti Bahini.

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+3 # 2010-12-26 06:48

Muslim killing the other Muslim. Is this the lesson what their Prophet taught them? Not strange to me because those also claimed to be Muslims who Martyred the Grand Son of their own Prophet in the field of Karbala.

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+3 # 2010-05-20 14:12

It is not necessary that who killed whom, it is also not necessary to know the color or nationality of killer/victim, but it is very necessary to know whether the victim warranted a brutal death or not. Most of the Bengali and non-Bengali women and children killed during war of liberation were innocent. I was quite matured during that period, to my judgment a very few non-Bengalis should have been punished by bullet, rest could be punished according to their crime. My conclusion is that we did the same crime what Pakistanis and Biharis did.

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+10 # 2010-05-30 01:39

Last week,Indian Army's Eastern Command destroyed documents relating to the liberation war of Bangladesh.It is suspected that those were destroyed as the time approached for declassifying and making the documents available to the public.The documents showed the extent of Indian involvement in then East Pakistan even before formal war was declared on 6 December 1971.One would think that a large number of the freedom fighters was actually Indian saboteurs in disguise and they were responsible for a large number of massacres of both Bengali and non-Bengali innocent persons.

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+10 # 2011-12-16 05:36

Very well said brother Hasan. It was Mukti bahini & India's RAW which carried out brutal massacre during 1971. Separation Movement which was being carried out by Indian Agencies trained Mukti Bahini to kill Bengalis and non Bengalis. But Pak Army was accused. The main culprit were Indian Agents- Awami League and Mukti Bahini.There was a agenda to separate Pakistan to make Indian market therein Bangladesh. Now you can see that Bangladesh is a big market for Indian Products. India is making Dams on Bengali Waters and Bangladesh don't dare to say anything to them. It was to take revenge from Pakistan of Freedom on 1947.

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-1 # 2016-05-11 17:09
Since my birth I've listened only one sided story. Today I read some different kind of story. I can predict what Awami league was during the liberation war period as I can see what they are doing now. I'm not saying every person is demon but I can say, I see every bad people (Ideally and morally) always supports Awami League. Don't know why may be they know it very well...
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-1 # 2016-08-30 19:17
This is a true story I'm eyewitness, My father had business in Chandraghona co-operative market. Some one killed one of the Bihari infront of me and my elder sister. His name was Barsati and he was selling Ice creme at that area.
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