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Most mass graves in 3 southern districts still unmarked

Eighty-five percent mass killing grounds in three southern districts of Bangladesh are yet to be marked and conserved even 45 years after the victory of Liberation War.

The researchers of genocide studies of Bangladesh Liberation War told our correspondent in Barisal that they collected information about at least 68 mass killing grounds in Barisal, Jhalakathi and Pirojpur districts of southern region of the country.

Memorials of only three mass graves were constructed at the cost of public fund and eight memorial signs were erected under private funds and initiatives in this regions.

Rest 57 are yet to be marked, documented and conserved properly with facts and figures of the martyrs.

Sushanta Ghosh, leading the research team, said according to the reports published in media, statements of witnesses, documents preserved by the family members of the victims, at least 15 to 20 thousand innocent people were killed by West Pakistani army at those mass killing grounds during the war.

Besides, many people who were injured and traumatised died later, Sushanta added.

Out of 68 mass killing grounds, 33 were under Barisal, 9 in Jhalakathi and 26 in Pirojpur districts.

The 33 mass killing grounds of Barisal district 3 were in Sadar upazila, 4 in Gournadi, 6 in Agoiljhara, 3 in Bakerganj, 5 in Banaripara, 2 in Babuganj, 5 in Wazirpur, 2 in Muladi and 3 are situated in Mehendiganj upazilas.

Bidhan Sarkar and Bappi Majumdar, co-researchers of Genocide Searching and Studies team, said although witnesses could locate the killing grounds and identify some names of the martyrs, to collect and verify those information, helps from different organisations of the government is necessary.

Departments like land, statistics, death and birth registration of local government, succession certificates from judiciary, could help in documenting the collected facts, they added.

Moklesur Rahaman, commander of Barisal City Muktijoddha Sangsad, said history of the Libration War was distorted many times, derailed, forgotten and exaggerated in last 45 years because of our negligence.

“To preserve history of the Liberation War, we are calling up on the government to start conservation programmes as soon as possible,” he added.

Tariq Ali, trustee of Liberation War Museum (LWM) said, “we visited some areas where Pakistani army conducted genocide. We engaged researchers to collect facts. We are in the process of publishing the findings.”

Marks of the Liberation War would be lost if the government does not take immediate steps, he added.

Md Ahsan Habib Kamal, mayor of Barisal City Corporation said, BCC has started conservation and beautification activities under a project costing Tk 3 crore at WAPDA mass killing ground area.

“Bunker, torture cell and other sites would be preserved under this project,” he added.

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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.