"..All through the liberation war, able-bodied young men were suspected of being actual or potential freedom fighters. Thousands were arrested, tortured, and killed. Eventually cities and towns became bereft of young males who either took refuge in India or joined the liberation war." Especially "during the first phase" of the genocide, he writes, "young able-bodied males were the victims of indiscriminate killings." ("Genocide in Bangladesh," in Totten et al., Century of Genocide, p. 298.)
“.......After I went to office on March 29, I was asked to go to Sakharibazar along with others for moving dead bodies by trucks. As there were Pakistani troops patrolling the road and fire was in front of the Judge court, we couldn’t go to Sakharibazar through that way. We entered Sakharibazar from the west side crossing past the Patuatuli police station. We checked all the homes of that area and found dead bodies of all age groups: men, women, youth, elderly, teen-agers and kids in almost every room. Most of the buildings were destroyed. Most of the female bodies were without clothes. Their breasts were cut off. We found sticks pushed into their genitalia. Many of the bodies were burnt. While the Punjabi troops showered the area with bullets, the Biharis looted their homes. We quickly filled two trucks with dead bodies and left the area. Although there were heaps of dead bodies we did not go back to Sakharibazar the same day for fear of getting killed.
I was asked to clear Mill Barrack off dead bodies on March 30. When I got there with the council truck, I saw dead bodies scattered around the place. Many bodies of young males were tied with ropes. As we cut off the rope we found that their hands were tied at the back, blind folded and faces were acid burnt so as to erase their identity. The air reeked with rotten corpses and shot bodies were found entwined with the bayonet-slit ones. Some skulls were smashed and brains seeping out. I found dead bodies of six pretty girls on the river bank: stark naked and shot dead but with blood smeared breasts and genitalia. I dumped about 70 bodies, picked from Mill-barrack, at Dhalpur garbage after taking them from Mill Barrack ghat.
Later I was asked to clear Sadarghat, Shyam Bazar and Badam Toli. I took decomposed bodies from those places to dump at Dhalpur garbage. The day I cleared Kalibari, I had also to carry bodies from a teacher’s residence behind the Rokeya Hall of Dhaka University. I carried a total of nine bodies, men and kids, from the staff quarters behind the Rokeya Hall. Moreover I also took away the dead body of a university teacher from the staircase of his residence. The body was wrapped up with mattress.
(Narrated by Pardeshi, son of a cleaner of the veterinary hospital: The Documents of Bangladesh Liberation War: Hasan Hafizur Rahman (ed). Dhaka 1984. pp 51-52)
Torture and murder of popular Awami League parliamentarian Mr Mashiur Rahman
“.....The Pakistani forces killed him by torturing for days…..They ….brutally tortured him so as to comply to their unlawful demands. Parts of his body were burnt. They also slashed his limbs and rubbed salt on the wounds. He was also given electric shocks. But Mr Rahman did not give in to the severe tortures inflicted on him. He reiterated the same words: “I’ll never say or write anything against my people”.
Mr. Rahman stood by his words till his death by torture. The only time he trembled when the Pakis hacked his left hand down with axe and ordered him to sign the papers with his other hand. Past this point he didn’t utter a single word or betrayed a groan while the Pakis hacked him into pieces.
Dainik Bangla: February 16, 1972.
"...The Biharis of Mirpur brought out processions for last few days with Naraye Takbir slogan. They were carrying sharp lethal weapons. Slaughtering Bengalis like cattle's! They were planning to kill the people of old Dhaka. Col Rashid was looking for me for “Jiban Theke Neya”. I was hiding and fleeting around from his executioners...... Silence reigned. People were calling God in dark houses. The news spread like thunderstorm around the city ‘Gen Niazi surrendered’.
The whole city was enveloped in darkness. The whole city was deserted. The morning brought back the joy of life. The joy of freedom. The freedom fighters are returning home. They came in groups. All had long beard and hair. Starving faces! They were crying for the loss of their dearest ones. People went out on the street with food and water to offered their heroes.
........Arun: Zahir bhai is shooting now
Arun: Yes. 99 thousand Paki army surrendered. Zahir bhai is making a documentary film on them. We hugged each other and cried. Zahir bhai was wearing a Mao Tsetung coat…….I took the camera. Thousands of Paki soldiers were walking around. They surrendered their arms and all the belongings. I took photos. Hundreds of photos. I was still scared. One can trust the snake but not the Pakis. They could still shoot us.
We then came to Rayer bazaar. The dead body of a lady was on the ground. Some people were saying she was a professor, but wasn’t sure which college she was from. The air reeked terribly of decomposed corpses. There was a brick-field few yards ahead. Hundreds of dead bodies dispersed around the brick yard. I thought the dead bodies of Prof Munier Chaudhuri and Shahiduallah Kaiser must be among there. But how could I identify them out of thousands of decomposed dead bodies? Then I said to Arun “ Arun I’m going down to check the dead bodies out”.
I was checking the dead bodies despite the odor made me nauseating. All unknown faces! None was identifiable. While checking out the dead bodies haplessly scattered around us, I found a known face. It was of Shams Irani. He used to play the role of villain in our studio. Shams is form Nayabazar. While I was lifting Shams’s dead body, his legs fell off his knees. Fiddling the slime full of rotten flesh, I fished out both the knees.
Despite all our day-long efforts, we did not find the dead bodies of either Shahidullah Kaiser or Prof Munier Chaudhuri. As I climbed up I threw out. The odor got into my bones. I felt dizzy. In whisper I said “Arun are you shooting?” ‘ Yes” said Arun.
‘I can’t shoot today’ I uttered. I feel so down today’. While we were leaving Khashru came towards us with two collaborators (Razakars) of Paki army. Khashru (later film star) said “ Amjad bhai I gonna shoot these two bastards, have them on camera”. Khashsru shot them, Arun took the snap. I turned my face away.
We’ve been shooting since the dawn of the Independence Day. The freedom fighters are back home. How shall we evaluate our great Zahir Rayhan?
Amjad Hossain: Film Director
The Rape of 71: The Dark Phase of History
…..We have collected numerous evidences on the rape, molestation and torture of Bangalee women by the Pakistani army. Rauful Hossain Suja, the son of martyr Akbar Hossain of Pahartali, Chittagong, went to the FOY’S LAKE KILLING ZONE to look for his father’s dead body. They found dead bodies of approximately 10,000 Bangalees, most of them were brutally slaughtered. In their desperate search for their father’s dead boy, they found dead bodies of 84 pregnant women whose abdomens were slashed open. This type of brutality took place almost every where in Bangladesh. Raped women were also locked up naked in various military camps so as to deny them termination of their anguish through suicide.
As per our statistics on the abortion centers and hospitals around the country, less than 10% of the total raped women visited those centers. In most cases the abortions were done locally and efforts were taken to keep those incidents secret due to social situation. The doctors and specialists, like Dr Anwarul Azim, involved in the hospitals and abortion centers agreed to this statistical information. In reality the raped women who became pregnant after September and less than three months pregnant in early 1972, they did not go the abortion centers and hospitals at all. In our account, the number of women of this category was at least 88,200. Moreover, in those three months, raped 162,000 women and 131,000 Hindu refugee women simply disappeared, assimilated into the vast population, without any report at all.
Dr MA Hassan
Rape of Dhaka University students in 1971
“ …..Some army officer raided the Rokeya Hall, the girls' hostel of Dacca University, on October 7, 1971. Accompanied by five soldiers, Major Aslam had first visited the hostel on October 3, and asked the lady superintendent to supply some girls who could sing and dance at a function to be held in Tejgaon Cantonment. The superintendent told him that most of the girls had left the hostel after the disturbances and only 40 students were residing but as a superintendent of a girls' hostel she should not allow them to go to the cantonment for this purpose. Dissatisfied, Major Aslam went away. Soon after the superintendent informed a higher army officer in the cantonment, over the telephone, of the Major' s mission.
However, on October 7, at about 8 p.m. Major Aslam and his men raided the hostel. The soldiers broke open the doors, dragged the girls out and stripped them before raping and torturing them in front of the helpless superintendent. The entire thing was done so, openly, without any provocation, that even the Karachi-based newspaper, Dawn, had to publish the story, violating censorship by the military authorities. In seven days after liberation about 300 girls were recovered from different places around Dacca where they had been taken away and kept confined by the Pakistani army men. On December 26, altogether 55 emaciated and half-dead girls on the verge of mental derangement were recovered by the Red Cross with the help of the Mukti Bahini and the allied forces from various hideouts of the Pakistani army in Narayanganj, Dacca Cantonment and other small towns on the periphery of Dacca city.
Excerpts from Genocide in Bangladesh (1972) by Kalayan Chaudhury, Orient Longman, pp 157-158
"....There is no doubt whatsoever about the targets of the genocide": They were: (1) The Bengali military men of the East Bengal Regiment, the East Pakistan Rifles, police and paramilitary Ansars and Mujahids. (2) The Hindus --"We are only killing the men; the women and children go free. We are soldiers not cowards to kill them ..." I was to hear in Comilla [site of a major military base] [Comments R.J. Rummel: "One would think that murdering an unarmed man was a heroic act" (Death By Government, p. 323)] (3) The Awami Leaguers -- all office bearers and volunteers down to the lowest link in the chain of command. (4) The students -- college and university boys and some of the more militant girls. (5) Bengali intellectuals such as professors and teachers whenever damned by the army as "militant."
Anthony Mascarenhas, The Rape of Bangladesh [Delhi: Vikas Pub, p. 116-17.)
“Heavy boot steps at the door. We parted from each other after hand shake. So far we clang together, all three. Now we moved to three corners. I was behind the door. Heavy brush fire cracked the door. Suddenly two massive explosions! Grenade charge. The killer said “ Say Joy Bangla, sister fucker, where is Sheikh Mujib?” With a pencil torch the marauders checked their ravage. Then those monsters marched towards the next door. Their relentless rampage continued till the morning. In the mean time fire broke out in my room. Smell of gunpowder was choking me. I was past all pains. Pressed under the cracked door. With great efforts I crawled out from under the door to see what happened to Sushil and the other friend. Where are they? Nothing was found as I went fiddling around the room. How on earth so much water and slime came into the room? As I was coming to my senses, I realized that their bodies were blown into pieces due to heavy brush fire and grenade charge. The whole floor was flooded with raw blood. Martyrs they were......I tried to stand. But I could not. My left leg felt like shorn off my body. Fingers of my hands were all numb. Bleeding and injuries all over my body. The foot of my left leg is almost severed from my body. I wrapped my foot with the short-sleeved shirt I was wearing. Surrounded me were gun shots, grenades and screams of the dying........”
Recounted by Prof Haridhan Das, Department of Physics, Victoria College, Comilla.
Quoted from “Genocide in Dhaka University: 1971, The Jagannath Hall” by Prof Ratanlal Chakraborty, Dept of History, University of Dhaka
A Bangalee woman: raped to death by Paki troops
The story of one shy little girl in a torn pink dress with red and green flowers has a peculiar horror. She could not have been a danger to anyone Yet I met her in a hospital at Krishna Nagar, hanging nervously back among the other patients, her hand covering the livid scar on her neck where a Pakistani soldier had cut her throat with his bayonet. “ I am Ismatar, the daughter of late Ishhak Ali,” she told me formally. “My father was a businessman in Kushtia. About two months ago he left our house and went to his shop and I never saw him again. That same night after I went to bed I heard shouts and screaming, and when I went to see what was happening, the Punjabi soldiers were there. My four sisters were lying dead on the floor, and I saw that they killed my mother. While I was there they shot my brother--he was a bachelor of science. Then a soldier saw me and stabbed me with his knife. I fell to the floor and played dead. When the soldiers left I ran and man picked me up on his bi-cycle and I was brought here.”
The hospital in Agartala, the capital city of Tripura, is just half a mile from the border, and is already overcrowded with the victims of rampaging Pakistani Army. There is a boy of 4 who survived a bullet through his stomach, and a woman who listlessly relates how the soldiers murdered two of her children in front of her eyes, and then shot her as she held her youngest child in her arms. “The bullet passed through the baby’s buttocks and then through her left arm.” Dr R Datta, the medical superintendent, explains. “But she regained her consciousness and dragged herself and the baby to the border.”
Another woman, the bones in her upper leg shattered by bullets, cradles an infant in her arms. She had given birth prematurely in paddy field after she was shot. Yet, holding her newborn child in one hand and pulling herself along with the other, she finally reached the border.
“Although I know these people, I am continually amazed at how tough they are.” says Datta. Still, there are some who cannot cope. I step over two small boys lying on the floor, clinging to each other like monkeys. “Refugees say their village was burned about a week ago and everyone in it was killed except these two,” the doctor says. “We have had them for three days and we don’t know who they are. They are so terrified by what they saw they are unable to speak. They just lie there holding onto each other. It is almost impossible to get them apart even long enough to feed them. It is hard to say when they will regain their speech or be able to live normal lives again.”
“I am certain that troops have thrown babies into the air and caught them on their bayonets”
“I am certain that troops have raped girls repeatedly, then killed them by pushing their bayonets up between their legs.”
John Hastings, A Methodist missionary worked in Bangladesh for 20 years.
General Tikka Khan was briefed not only by General Yahya Khan but also by Mr. Bhutto then riding the crest of a popularity wave as the new savior of Islam. Gen Tikka in turn briefed his Army Senior Commanders and picked up a staff who would understand why a Muslim Massacre by a Muslim Army, Hindu slaughter, why all intellectuals were to be killed in cold blood, why all young Bengali Muslim girls were to be raped, not to satisfy lust but as a religious duty to produce a new generation of blue-blooded true Muslims.
When the Sheikh had finally turned down all sentimental arguments, pleading for still further sacrifices on the part of Bangladesh in the interest of Islam (as understood in Punjab), Bhutto made his appearance in Dacca for no reasons at all. He had arrived to strengthen the shaky hands of Yahya Khan, the Martial Law Administrator, and to advise him what action to take with hell raisers like Mujeeb.”
“ The first major slaughter appears to have taken place on 23 March, 1971, a day before the talks were ended and Gen Yahya flew back to Islamabad. On this day thousands of people started collecting near Chittagong port. mostly they consisted of innocent laborers. There was no government order prohibiting assemblies. Without warning, automatic fire was opened upon them and soon the e whole area was littered with dead bodies. The dead were later found to be over four thousand. Their bodies were thrown into the sea.
On 25 march 1971, the Pakistan forces entered Dacca University and went straight for Jaggannath Hall, which was a hostel for Hindu students. Over one hundred students were butchered mercilessly in their rooms.
Next morning Army units again arrived. They gathered all those who were wounded the previous day including Dr GC Deb, the Head of the department of philosophy, Dacca University, and ordered them to collect all the dead bodies from different rooms and pile them up in the courtyard of the hall. It was a difficult and painful task for bleeding and disabled persons but orders had to be complied with. After this painful task was over, all the wounded including Dr GC Deb were lined up close to the dead bodies and shot dead mercilessly.
On 25 March 1971, all the hutments of poor people, mostly Muslim rickshaw pullers of Babupara Basti (slum) near New Market, Dhaka, were set ablaze with incendiary bombs. Machine guns were already in position to mow down any one who tried to escape from being burnt alive. No one was to be spared. Children and women met their fate along with their men folk. Over one hundred thousand were burnt in this inferno. They were all Muslims. Their only fault was that they formed a part of a large mass of people who wanted to earn enough to be able to live their miserable lives.
1. On 26 March the same treatment was meted out to Muslims occupying huts along the railway line between Nikhot and Hatkhola. Incendiary bombs and Machine guns took a heavy toll of people who had no chance even to see the butchers of the Army.
2. In Naya Bazar Basti, in old Dhaka city, on the same day, Muslim Awami League supporters were given the same treatment, but their young girls were removed to Army camp for rape as a measure of mercy.
3. On the night of 25 March, Pak forces attacked East Bengal Rifles HQ in Chittagong. This formation consisted of loyal Bangalees who had served as a Pakistan Army for about 25 years. But they were not to be trusted any more since they were known to be sympathetic to Mujib’s movement for autonomy. About a thousand men who were under training to serve Pakistan were lined up and machine-gunned.
4. Curfew was first clamped down on Sylhet town on 25 March 1971 about which none of the inhabitants were given any notice. An old man was coming out of the mosque after prayers when he was shot dead. The Army men then asked his two sons to remove the dead body. As soon as they came near the dead body they were both shot dead also. This pile of three bodies was allowed to rot in open view as a lesson for others who might venture out to the mosque for prayers.
5. Another instance is quoted of whole rows of praying Muslims in a Mosque, being machine-gunned, with the remarks that they were not true Muslims and hence not entitled to pray in mosque.
6. On 27 March a house-to-house search was conducted in Sylhet town from where most people had run away to the countryside. All women left in the town were raped including one who was 60 years old. After committing rape on one girl, they chopped off her breasts. The poor thing collapsed and died on the spot.
7. On 31 March during day time Pahartoli locality of Chittagong town was attacked by the Pak Army in collaboration with Bihari refugees. About 3,000 Bangalees were killed and all women raped. About 500 beautiful girls were dragged to the cantonment and innumerable men used to rape them. One of these girls is reported to have remarked it is possible to stand the pangs of rape by so many beasts but impossible to bear the heat in body which results from excessive accumulation of semen.
8. About 40% population of Dinajpur district was of Hindus. Only a few could escape to India. The remainders were wiped out by the Pak Army. Some Hindus appealed to be concerted into Islam and spared the agony of torture to death. None was excused. All were shot dead and buried in one pit. On the report of one Sital Sarkar that Hindus of Singia village about 8 miles North East of Thakurgaon were still hoisting Bangladesh flag, the total Hindu population of that village consisting of about 1500 people was done to death in about half an hour and the dead bodies dumped in two large pits dug by the Hindus themselves.
9. Chittagong town perhaps suffered most. On 5/6 April the town was cordoned off, houses looted, women raped and after the rape naked women were marched to the river for a bath-- all tied with ropes like cattle. About 50 girls were taken to Ramgarh military cantonment where each girl was raped daily by about 10 to 15 men. At the time of rape the Pakistanis would shout “Joy Bangla” the war cry of freedom fighters and ask their miserable victims to shout for help to their father, “Sheikh Mujeeb.” Here all those affected were upper and middle class Muslims.
10. On 10 April 1971, Biharis(non-Bengali Muslim migrants from Bihar, India) observed what they called a ‘Revenge Day’ in Dhaka with the full cooperation of the Pak Army.
The area chosen in Dhaka lay between Mirpur and Syamoli, since it was mainly occupied by upper and middle class Muslim government servants. The whole locality was cordoned off by Pak forces. Non-Bangalees were then let loose to satisfy all their sadist tendencies. After loot and butchery they raped every women.
Killing continued while rape was being done. About 3,000 Bangalees lost their lives. No one knows the number of women who lost their honor besides lives. Those were some of the reasons for Biharis being denied Bangladesh citizenship.
11. There was yet another cruelty practiced which has no precedence in history. During curfew hours Pak soldiers used to collect all the young boys they could find in the houses. They were blindfolded and handcuffed and taken to hospitals where their total blood used to be drained off. After which their dead bodies were thrown into Buri Ganga River. This is reported to have been practiced at many places throughout Bangladesh.
12. One Kuti Sen, a Bengali Hindu, who had not been able to run away to India, was caught and handed over to the Muslim leaguers gathered in the local football field. A Pak Army Officer gave a lecture, which was explained, to the Bengali Muslim leaguers by an interpreter. The gist of the lecture was that all Hindus were agents of India and, therefore Muslims should kill them as an act of religious duty. Kuti Sen was tied with ropes, thrown on the ground and kicked to death by all present as an act of piety.
13. On recapture of Maulabi Bazar, then a sub -division of Sylhet district, in the third week of April, the town was looted and all suspects killed. All fair looking young girls were taken to Army camp and raped. Next morning they were brought naked to the local playground and compelled to dance before the leaders of the Muslim League throughout the day. Then they were taken to Shibpur Army camp and nothing was heard about them again.
14. On 1st April 1971, a most horrifying thing happened in Holati village under the Sabhar PS of Dhaka district:
The village was surrounded on all sides by Pak Army men accompanied by Biharis armed with daggers and spears. This was a pro-Awami League Hindu village. It was set on fire where even the cattle and domestic animals got burnt alive. Those who ran out were machine gunned as usual except some girls who were saved for sadistic pleasures. Babies were snatched from their mother and thrown up to fall on the pointed bayonets as an exercise in dexterity. The breasts of their mothers were chopped off and inserted into the mouths of the dead bodies. Those still alive were asked to shout ‘Joy Pakistan’. Most of them did as they were told by the sadist butchers. A boy aged six years, however, innocently said ‘Joy Bangla’ the slogan he was used to shouting. This enraged the Army men so much that they cut that boy into fifty pieces and gave one piece each to the Hindus still alive to eat. On their refusal they were all shot dead to the glory of Pakistan.
The few young girls who were spared the mercy of death were told not to be afraid. “ We are not going to hurt you or kill you. You have been chosen to receive the good Muslim semen so that you give birth to true Muslims and not the bastards like Mujib” Those girls were dragged away to the Army camp at Tungi.
15. Here is another instance of the horrible tricks the Pak Army used to kill Bangalees. On 27 April 1971, the Pak Army decided to treat the derailment of a train at Goal Tek as an act of sabotage. Actually the railway track had given way due to erosion of the soft soil under the track. But while ravaging the Bangalees was the main agenda any excuse would do.
Four villages in the vicinity i.e. Goal Tek, Morkon, Pagar and Abdullapur were charged with sheltering the Mukti Bahini (Freedom Fighters) and committing sabotage. The villages were set on fire while the inhabitants were asked to gather along with their families in selected places in batches of about thirty. Here fathers and brothers were asked to rape their daughters and sisters in front of the gathering. On refusal all of them were butchered including women and children. They were all Muslims. In some places people were forced to jump into the fire and were roasted alive
Major General SS Uban: Phantoms of Chittagong
".........the Pakistan army [sought] out those especially likely to join the resistance -- young boys. Sweeps were conducted of young men who were never seen again. Bodies of youths would be found in fields, floating down rivers, or near army camps. As can be imagined, this terrorized all young men and their families within reach of the army. Most between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five began to flee from one village to another and toward India. Many of those reluctant to leave their homes were forced to flee by mothers and sisters concerned for their safety......" ( J. Rummel " Death By Government, p. 329.)
Rummel further describes (p. 323) a chilling gendercidal ritual, reminiscent of Nazi procedure towards Jewish males: "In what became province-wide acts of genocide, Hindus were sought out and killed on the spot. As a matter of course, soldiers would check males for the obligated circumcision among Moslems. If circumcised, they might live; if not, sure death."
"... In the dead region surrounding Dacca, the military authorities conducted experiments in mass extermination in places unlikely to be seen by journalists. At Hariharpara, a once thriving village on the banks of the Buriganga River near Dacca, they found the three elements necessary for killing people in large numbers: a prison in which to hold the victims, a place for executing the prisoners, and a method for disposing of the bodies. The prison was a large riverside warehouse, or godown, belonging to the Pakistan National Oil Company, the place of execution was the river edge, or the shallows near the shore, and the bodies were disposed of by the simple means of permitting them to float downstream. The killing took place night after night. Usually the prisoners were roped together and made to wade out into the river. They were in batches of six or eight, and in the light of a powerful electric arc lamp, they were easy targets, black against the silvery water. The executioners stood on the pier, shooting down at the compact bunches of prisoners wading in the water. There were screams in the hot night air, and then silence. The prisoners fell on their sides and their bodies lapped against the shore. Then a new bunch of prisoners was brought out, and the process was repeated. In the morning the village boatmen hauled the bodies into midstream and the ropes binding the bodies were cut so that each body drifted separately downstream......"
Robert Payne, Massacre [Macmillan, 1973], p. 55
Genocide in Dhaka University: 1971, The Jagannath Hall”: Prof Ratanlal Chakraborty
The Rape of Bangladesh: Anthony Mascarenhas
Massacre: Robert Payne, Macmillan
Phantoms of Chittagong: Major General SS Uban
Genocide in East Pakistan/ Bangladesh: SK Bhattacharyya
Muslim Fundamentalism in the India Subcontinent: Baljit Rai
Tormenting Seventy One: Shahriar Kabir (ed), Nirmul Committee, 1999, Dhaka