This recently built memorial at Anantapur Bazar in Hatia union of Ulipur upazila under Kurigram district is a reminder of the tragedy on November 12 in 1971 when the Pakistan occupation army aided by their local collaborators massacred at least 697 freedom-loving people in the area.Photo: STAR
Today is 'Hatia massacre day'.
People of Hatia union in Ulipur upazila observe the day with a heavy heart and due respect every year.
On this day in 1971, Pakistani army with the help of local collaborators killed at least 697 people, including women and children, of seven villages.
When the country was still fighting for freedom, one of the biggest mass killings took place at Dagar Kuthi village in the union.
The invaders also burned houses to ashes and tortured women.
Hatia union, under Sector 11 during the Liberation War of 1971, was a safe place for the freedom fighters who had set up camps. Local families assisted the freedom fighters with food and shelter.
On information from the local agents (Rajakar, Al-Badar and Al-Shams), the Pakistani occupation forces on this day launched a massive gun attack on the people of the villages just after Shehri, as it was the 23rd day of Ramadan.
The villages are Anantapur, Rumkhana, Naya Doba, Bagua, Nilkhata, Dagar Kuthi and Hatia.
Of the victims, a few were brought to a killing ground at Dagar Kuthi and shot dead while the rest burnt alive near the Brahmaputra River.
A few eye-witnesses of the killings like Zorina Bewa, 71, Bayjon, 60, Babar Ali, 76, and Mijanur Rahman, 55, said that a large number of bodies were dumped in unmarked graves beside the river while many others washed away by current.
They demanded punishment to war criminals and proper documentation of the liberation war of 1971 for the sake of true history of the nation.
A memorial was constructed at Dagar Kuthi village and later devoured by the river.
People of Hatia built a new memorial at the Hatia union parishad ground. The union parishad and the memorial are now again under the threat of erosion.
Recently another memorial has been built near Natun Anantapur Bazar in the union where the people of Hatia will gather with heavy hearts to mark the day.
According to the local freedom fighters, the names of 412 martyrs have so far been collected and they have taken steps to collect the rest of the victims.
Meanwhile, the upazila Muktijoddha Sangshad and the union parishad will jointly hold various programmes including flag hosting, rally and discussion today.