Dreadful Kanthalbari genocide day today
Published: 04:08 PM, 9 June 2021
Eyewitnesses still remember the dreadful genocide and atrocities locally known as Kanthalbari genocide committed by the then Pakistani occupation forces on June 9 in 1971 in seven villages of Sadar Upazila of Kurigram district.
According to freedom fighters and eyewitnesses, the Pakistani occupation forces with their local collaborators surrounded seven villages from three sides, set fire on the houses, looted properties and killed 35 innocent villagers on that day.
More than 100 shops at Kanthalbari Bazar and houses of 500 families of Shibram (Kanthalbari), Sarderpara, Sannyashi, Fakirpara, Pramaniktari, Taluka Kaloa and Khamar villages were turned into ashes giving the area a fearfully burnt desert-like look.
The occupation forces opened indiscriminate brass fire from automatic weapons killing 35 innocent people of these villages and adjoining areas before leaving the area with looted properties after four-hour-long atrocities.
President of local cultural organisation ‘Dishari Sangskritik Gosthi’ and senior journalist Abdul Khaleque Farooque said that 19 names of the Kanthalbari massacre have so far been collected by local freedom fighters.
“However, identities of other sixteen martyred best sons and daughters of the soil are still unknown,” Khaleque, also a college teacher, regretted.
The 19 identified martyrs are - Fazal Bapari, Abul Kashem, Sohrab Uddin, Noor Bakht, Monta, Tengri Bewa, Montaz Ali, Abdul Jalil, Jahur Ali, Madrasa student Shahadat, Aliar Rahman, Monoddi, Azim Uddin, Nuh Khondker, Basanta Kumar, Hasimuddin, Rajab Ali, Jahur Uddin and Ghechu Mahmud.
Talking to media, eyewitness Jamal Uddin of village Shibram narrated how his villager Azim Uddin was brutally murdered by the occupation forces.
“The killers opened indiscriminate fire at Azim Uddin in front of his wife Suratjan Begum, charged bayonets on his bleeding body and threw him into burning fire,” Jamal Uddin noted, remembering the atrocities.
“I still remember the inhuman scene and recall everything that happened on that day,” he added.
Freedom fighter Abdul Mazid of the same village said the Pakistani occupation forces and their local collaborators killed innocent Bangalees by opening holesale gunfire, set fire on their houses and burnt those into ashes.
“We abandoned houses along with all family members just before the attacks to somehow save our lives on that day like many others who also fled and took shelters in the nearby bushes and forests,” said another eyewitness Jahir Uddin of the village.
Former Commander of Kurigram district unit of Bangladesh Muktijoddha Sangshad (BMS) freedom fighter Sirajul Islam Tuku and freedom fighter Harun Ar Rashid Lal also narrated the horrific Kanthalbari genocide.
Former Commander of Kanthalbari union unit of BMS Abdul Awal said the relatives of Kanthalbari martyrs still tremble with fear to describe the atrocities committed against humanity there on June 9 in 1971 by the Pakistani occupation forces.
“We have set up a temporary monument at Kanthalbari Bazar at local initiative,” he said, and demanded construction of a permanent monument to immortalise the martyrs and inform young generations about the supreme sacrifice of their forefathers.
‘Dishari Sangskritik Gosthi’ and ‘Dishari Pathagar’ will hoist black flag followed by a discussion to observe the day tomorrow maintaining the health directives amid the Covid-19 pandemic to pay rich tribute to the Kanthalbari martyrs.