Satiyachara-Goran massacre, never to be forgotten
On April 3 in 1971, the occupational Pakistan army committed a massacre at Satiyachara and Goran villages in Tangail's Mirzapur upazila.
A group of EPR (East Pakistan Regiment) members attacked the occupational convoy on Dhaka-Tangail Road. It was the first armed resistance outside Dhaka and Gazipur. After which, the Pakistan forces sought revenge by killing more than 100 people, including villagers, EPR members and freedom fighters.
After committing the mass killings, the Pakistan soldiers set fire to the village with gunpowder.
They shot so many rounds that day that the trees were bereft of their leaves. Several elderly villagers told these tales while remembering the most horrific day of their lives during the war.
After the declaration of independence on March 25, the people of Tangail, led by few student leaders, started taking preparations to free the motherland from the Pakistan rulers.
Meanwhile, a group of EPR members took position at Natiyapara in Basail upazila to resist the Pakistan army moving towards Tangail.
On April 2, a number of them dug several bunkers beside the Dhaka-Tangail Road at Satiyachara and took position there.
The EPR members told the villagers to stay at home if any altercation happened between them and the occupation forces.
At 6:00am on April 3, a convoy of Pakistan army with several vehicles reached near the bunkers set up at Satiyachara.
The EPR members started firing on the vehicles carrying the troops, leaving an unknown number of them dead and injured.
The surprised Pakistan forces then started firing on the EPR members.
Later, the Pakistani forces entered the village and started killing innocent villagers and torching their houses. A helicopter was flying in the sky around the area during the massacre.
"I along with some people, including women and children, had taken shelter in a ditch in the village. The Pakistan army kept on shooting. Several people died on the spot. I also received a bullet in my abdomen," told Abdul Latif, 70, of Satiyachara.
"My life was saved as I was taken to the Kumudini Hospital after the Pakistanis' left the village drowned in blood," he said.
Bokul Begum (60), from the village, said her 20-year-old sister Lal Banu, along with her baby had also taken shelter in a ditch, but the Pakistan force's bullet killed her. Her baby, however, survived unhurt.
The Pakistanis also killed the EPR members including their commander Subedar Abdul Aziz, told Ganu Shikder (90) of the village who also suffered bullet injuries.
"The relatives of the villagers later came to the village after they heard of the massacre. They buried their loved ones' bodies for the next three days," he added.
Visiting the villages recently, this correspondent saw couple of the mass graves at Satiyachara and Goran lying covered in bushes.
"Most of these graves are lost since houses were constructed in their place later," said Abdul Wadud (70), of the village.
A memorial plaque containing the martyrs' names in the massacre, constructed in 2020 beside the Dhaka-Tangail was found in worn out condition.
"No effort was given to preserve the mass graves, in 50 years since the massacre," told S Alam (69), a resident of Satiyachara and a witness of the massacre.
"Neither the martyrs nor their families have been recognised yet," he added.