Neglect obliterates memory
The mass killing ground and the torture cell, used by Pakistan occupation army during the 1971 Liberation War at the then Wapda complex in Barisal district headquarters, lie in utter neglect as the authorities concerned did nothing more than putting up a signboard to preserve the historic site. PHOTO: STAR
The mass killing ground and torture cell of the Pakistan occupation army during the Liberation War at the then Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) campus still remains in utter neglect, over four decades after the country's independence.
Barisal City Corporation Mayor Shawkat Hossain Hiron on June 14 in 2012 unveiled the curtain of a board marking a proposed project to preserve the historic spots, but there is no headway in the work.
Visiting the spots yesterday, this correspondent found that even the signboard of the project also broken and damaged.
"The Pakistani army launched an air raid on the then Barisal district headquarters on April 17 in 1971. After occupying the town on April 25, they opened their regional headquarters and a cantonment at the WAPDA complex on the bank of Kirtankhola River," said MG Kabir Bhulu, a veteran freedom fighter.
"The barbaric occupation force and their local collaborators used WAPDA campus as mass killing and torture ground till December 8 in 1971, when Mukti Bahini (freedom fighters) took control of Barisal town.
"But that mass killing ground, torture cell and other places reminiscent of the glorious Liberation War in Barisal city have remained in utter neglect even after four decades of the victory," he said.
Sushanta Ghosh, who worked on the mass killing grounds of the region under a project of Liberation War Museum, said Barisal Sangskritik Sangathan Samanya Parishad (BSSSP) in 2009 took an initiative with the help of the museum authorities and Barisal City Corporation (BCC) to construct a memorial complex at the WAPDA mass killing and torture ground.
Syed Dulal, president BSSSP, said BCC in coordination with BSSSP and Liberation War Museum planned to preserve this historical place and construct a walkway at a cost of about 50 lakh taka.
Tarik Ali, a trustee of the museum, handed over a design of that complex to the city corporation authorities in May 2011, said Nikhil Chandra Das, chief executive officer of the city corporation.
But the project is yet to be implemented as no fund has been sanctioned for the work, said Nandita Das, chief planning officer of BCC.
BCC is preparing a project proposal for the Muktijoddha and Badhyabhumi Smriti Complex and it will be placed before the local government ministry soon, BCC officials said.