‘Restore killing field at Mirpur Bangla College’ | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 26, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 26, 2008

‘Restore killing field at Mirpur Bangla College’

Students form human chain demanding punishment to war criminals


Students stage a human chain in front of Mirpur Bangla College yesterday calling to restore the killing ground on the campus and punish the war criminals.Photo: Anisur Rahman

A day before the Independence Day, students of Bangla College paid homage to the brave sons of the soil who were martyred or tortured on the college campus by the Biharis and the Pakistani army during the War of Liberation.
They formed a human chain yesterday demanding punishment to the war criminals, proper restoration of the killing grounds across Bangladesh and building a memorial on the mass grave at the college in city's Mirpur area.
Freedom fighters, members of the guerilla groups and cultural activists joined the human chain expressing solidarity with the students' demand.
Md Zahiruddin, a second year BSS student of the college, said, "The mass graves of the country are subject to negligence by the authorities. These killing fields are witness to the most important episode of our history."
"We simply cannot ignore the fact that many Bangalees embraced martyrdom on our college campus during the liberation war. We want to show them our deep respect and gratitude by establishing a memorial here," he said.
Anwara Begum, known as 'Nani buri' among the college students, is one of the witnesses to the gruesome killings that took place 37 years ago. "They killed several young men right beside the hostel under a gaab tree," she recalled.
"I still remember the stench of the decomposed bodies lying scattered on the campus," said Anwara who used to work as an ayah at the college in 1971.
"The only reason they spared me because I was saying my prayers when they came to torch my hut," said the old women now living in a slum opposite to the college.
Syed Shahidul Haque Mama, commander of then 'Mama guerilla group' said the demand for trial and punishment of the war criminals has come to the limelight once again.
"None of the previous governments punished the war criminals. It is a shame that the killers are roaming freely on the land of independent Bangladesh. They should be punished for their heinous act," said the freedom fighter.
Mama Bahini led many guerrilla assaults on the Pakistani soldiers and Biharis stationed in Mirpur, Mohammadpur, Lalmatia, Dhanmondi and Rayerbazar areas.
Before independence Mirpur was predominately a Bihari area where the Urdu-speaking people maintained control even up to January 1972 -- 45 days into the surrender of the Pakistani forces and the Biharias on December 16, 1971.
After the war was over, human remains were found at many places in Mirpur. Six killing fields were located in this area including the one on the Bangla College campus.
During the nine-month war many Bangalees were tortured, shot and beheaded in these killing grounds and later buried in mass graves in and around Bangla College.
Md Lutfor Rahman, a member of Mama Bahini said they had started assault on the Biharis first at Bangla College. "We entered the campus in the afternoon of 16th December and found many beheaded bodies all around."
Bangla College was founded in 1962 at Bakshibazar in old Dhaka. In 1965, the campus was relocated in Mirpur on a 19-acre land.
In the beginning the campus had only one building surrounded by barbed wires with vast fields, trees and small villages. During the War of Liberation the campus was closed and used by the Pakistani occupation army and Biharis as a camp.
Today the campus has a large field in front of the academic buildings, a pond and a small lawn at the back. Around 15,000 students are studying in the college currently.
Apart from forming the human chain, the students have opened a website www.banglacollege.com to upload information about the killing grounds. The sought help from the witnesses to killings and torture in 1971.

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