Crack Platoon's Chullu no more
He was a member of the special squad that shook the confidence of the Pakistan occupation army and unnerved them using clandestine commando attacks during the 1971 Liberation War.
"Crack Platoon", as the squad was known, conducted extremely dangerous operations on army convoys and important installations in Dhaka flawlessly. Each successful operation demonstrated that the long-cherished independence was just a matter of time.
Imbued with determination and passion for his motherland's independence, Masud Sadique Chullu joined the band of young guerrillas that eventually became a dreaded force even to the well-trained Pakistan military.
The man, who fought for freedom and dignity of the motherland, breathed his last yesterday. Masud, fondly called Chullu Bhai by his loved ones, died around 4:30pm at Apollo Hospitals in the capital.
He was 72.
Masud, the younger brother of former education minister AHSK Sadique, left behind his wife Yasmeen Sadique, only daughter Sanjana Sadique and a host of relatives, admirers and well-wishers.
His body will be kept at the mortuary of United Hospital until his daughter returns from the US. He will be buried tomorrow, said barrister Moin Ghani, Masud's son-in-law.
Born on March 29, 1945, in Keshabpur of Jessore, Masud was only 26, a fresh science graduate from Dhaka College, when he joined Crack Platoon, a special commando team of the Mukti Bahini, created under Sector-2.
Valiant freedom fighters Shafi Imam Rumi, Bodiul Alam Bodi, Abdul Halim Chowdhury Jewel, Habibul Alam, Kazi Kamaluddin, Shahadat Chowdhury, Fateh Ali Chowdhury and Mofazzal Hosen Chowdhury Maya were some of the members of this famed platoon.
The guerrillas stunned the Pakistani authorities by organising multiple attacks on police checkpoints and electricity substations, highlighting the growing tension in the country.
However, on August 30, 1971, Masud was arrested in Dhaka where he was to carry out an operation, according to the book “Tormenting Seventy One: An account of Pakistan army's atrocities during Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971".
In the book, Masud narrated painful stories of how many of them were brutally tortured by the Pakistani army to extract information and elaborated on the torture he faced when captured and taken to Nakhalpara MP Hostel camp.
The Pakistan army used to stub cigarettes out on his throat.
"From my throat to knees, they carried out the same method of torture. Once, they pushed a lit cigarette into my rectum. I lost my senses due to the acute pain. I cannot recall how long I remained unconscious," Masud narrated.
Fortunately enough, he was spared death as his elder brother was a key bureaucrat in the then-Pakistan government.
But his platoon members, including Bodi, Rumi, Jewel and Azad, were captured by Pakistani army a day before his arrest. Unfortunately, they never returned to their families.
Prominent war crimes researcher Mofidul Hoque said the urban guerrilla group, Crack Platoon, was of a special character in the country's Liberation War.
"Whereas the guerrillas conduct their operations in comparatively rural areas, the members of Crack Platoon carried out their attacks in Dhaka. That's why their ventures were risky," he said.
He also said their attacks were symbolic as they had been able to rubbish the notion the Pakistani authorities tried to propagate about everything in East Pakistan being normal.
The operations of this force were widely discussed globally during the war, he said.
"Crack Platoon is a special and important chapter of the war, and Masud Sadique Chullu played an integral part," said Mofidul, a trustee of the Liberation War Museum.
In a Facebook status, eminent cultural personality and freedom fighter Nasir Uddin Yousuff wrote, “Our beloved Masud Sadique Chullu has departed for the great beyond. Chullu Bhai, how could we forget you? .... But will the country you left behind tell your story?”