Families of six Birangana (war heroine) freedom fighters in Sunamganj's Derai and Shalla upazilas are passing days in fear of torture and fresh humiliation in public allegedly by the family members of some local war crime accused.
The situation worsened, following a recent programme, which was organised to honour six Birangana freedom fighters and later postponed in the face of agitation allegedly by the family members of some detained war crime accused.
On March 29, local union unit of Jubo League, youth wing of the ruling Awami League, arranged a programme in the premises of Brajendraganj RC High School in Derai upazila to honour six war heroines from Derai and Shalla upazilas, locals said.
The programme was, however, suspended, following agitation by a group of protesters, allegedly led by family members of some local war crime accused.
The faction also brought out a procession, chanting 'humiliating slogans' against the war heroines.
The recent incident has made the Biranganas and their family members more panicked, as they are the key witnesses in the cases filed against some local influential people for committing crimes against humanity during the country's Liberation War in 1971.
On November 12 last year, three Biranganas -- Peara Begum, Muktaban Bibi and Jamila Begum of Ujangaon village in Shalla upazila -- were given recognition as freedom fighters at the 59th Jatiya Muktijoddha Council meeting.
Alongside them, three other Birangana freedom fighters -- Kulsuma Begum, Kumila Das and Alekjan Bibi, who got their recognition earlier -- were also invited in the March 29 programme.
“After all these years, though the government has given recognition to my mother and the other Biranganas, family members of some war crime accused often try to humiliate them,” Peara's son Shimul Hasan Mukti said.
“Recently police arrested several local war crime accused and their family members think we triggered the arrest,” Mukti said.
Alongside many others, Shoyeb Miah, Golap Miah and Jalal Uddin, relatives of some recently detained war crime accused, chanted 'humiliating slogans' and forced the organiser to postpone the programme on March 29, he said.
Earlier, following a warrant, issued by the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT), police arrested five war crime accused from Derai and Shalla upazilas on December 19.
They are Mohammad Jubair Monir, Jakir Hossain, Siddiqur Rahman, Tota Miah and Abdul Jalil.
The lives of the Birangana freedom fighters were in peril till they got their recognition, said Shams Shamim, author of '1971 Chorer Gaoer Osruto Akkhyan', adding that it got worsened after the recent arrests of some war crime accused.
Derai Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Shariful Islam said, “Being informed, I along with Shalla UNO and officers in charge of police stations concerned visited the area and talked to locals.”
“Primarily, we found that the incident was triggered by a conflict between two factions of local Jubo League. One arranged the programme, while the other protested it,” the UNO said, adding that they did not find any proof of chanting slogans against the Biranganas.
Meanwhile, Birangana freedom fighter Jamila Begum filed a General Diary (GD) with Shalla Police Station in this regard on Thursday, Officer in Charge of the police station Ashraful Islam said.