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FOOTAGES OF 1971 LIBERATION WAR

Killing fields of 1971: Our grief, our strength

Around 3,000,000 people were brutally killed by the Pakistan forces during the nine months of Liberation War in 1971, the only instance of killing so many people within such a small duration, and were left dumped and buried in hundreds of mass graves and killing fields in Dhaka and across the country, which are still there as the witnesses of the heinous brutality.

However, these mass graves and killing fields are hard to find now as they are almost lost owing to lack of efforts to preserve these sites where many martyrs were buried or thrown in the marshes, canals and rivers after being killed, or were burnt alive. Till date, 23 killing fields have been identified in Dhaka metropolitan area, according to the Liberation War Museum. The museum authorities believe that the figure would be higher once all killing fields are discovered.

Also READ: Mass grave in utter neglect

In Dhaka, a few of the killing fields or mass burials were found near Physical Training Institute at Adabar, northern parts of Mohammadpur, western parts of Rayer Bazar and at brick kilns of Bosila.

In Mirpur area, six large ones were identified at Mirpur Bangla Collage, Jallad Khana, Harirampur graveyard, Muslim Bazar, Raine Khola and Shial Bari.

READ more: 45 years later, how fares the largest mass grave of Gaibandha?

More killing fields have been found at Tejgaon, Jagannath Hall and Rokeya Hall at Dhaka University, Machh Potti of Thatari Bazar, Dhalpur, Ramna Kali Bari and Jagannath University.

Among the major mass killing grounds in the country -- 11 are in Chittagong, 9 in Gaibandha, 6 in Nilphamari, 5 in Munshiganj, 3 in Rajbari, Jessore, 4 each in Faridpur, Narsingdi, Kishoreganj, Panchagarh, Thakurgaon, 2 each in Tangail, Serpur, Rangpur, Sunamganj, Jhenaidah, Khulna, Pirojpur and 1 each in Lalmonirhat, Dinajpur, Habiganj, Bagerhat and Bhola.

Jalladkhana Killing Field Memorial

Named as Jalladkhana during the war, the horrific well of Jalladkhana Killing Field Memorial still bears the marks of butchery that took place 45 years back.   

According to the in-charge of the memorial, KM Nasir Uddin, people, mostly the young generation, pay visit to the site with a curious heart wanting to know the history of Bangladesh’s glorious Liberation War in 1971.  

Every Saturday, students from different schools in Dhaka come here to listen about the atrocities that did not spare the lives of innocent people.

They are being reminded how the then West Pakistani (now Pakistan) army and their local collaborators conducted a systematic and mass killing at a deserted Wasa pump-house named Jalladkhana in 1971.

Inaugurated on June 21 in 2007, Jalladkhana Killing Field Memorial is the result of an excavation in the year 1999 by the Liberation War Museum along with the support of the Bangladesh Army.

The project succeeded in recovering 70 skulls and 5,392 bones of men, women and children. They also found an assortment of personal belongings of those who were killed during the nine-month-long War of Independence.

The Pakistan Army chose the well in the pump-house to dispose of the bodies. The countless names found from just six locations written on the gravestone-like pillars in the triangular courtyard gives disturbing proof of the extent of the massacre that has left behind a lifetime of grief to the families of the victims.

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ABOUT FREEDOM IN THE AIR

Freedom in the air is a non-profit project aimed at building a rich repository for all sorts of contents on Bangladesh's Liberation War of 1971. Besides producing exclusive video interviews of war heroes and experts and a turn-by-turn daily interactive calendar of 1971, The Daily Star Online gathered very rare declassified diplomatic cables, the sensational Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report that proved genocide by Pakistan army, significant collection of rarely seen photographs and international newspaper reports. There is an exceptional collection of TV reports, video footages and documentaries which The Daily Star does not own but using with courtesy of the original owners and those who uploaded.