China Blames Islamic Militants for Terror Attack


[Outlook India] China today blamed an unprecedented “terrorist attack” by knife-wielding assailants at a railway station that killed 33 people and injured over 130 on Islamist militants from the volatile Xinjiang province and described the slashing rampage as the country’s 9/11.china_attack20140302

It was a macabre night at the crowded Kunming railway station, the city known for its serenity, when a group of black-clad knife and sword-wielding attackers, including two women, mowed down people at random, sending shock waves across the nation which prides itself in its watertight security.

Police fatally shot four attackers, including a woman, during the mass knife-attack which went on for 25 minutes in Kunming, the capital of southwest Yunnan province. They are searching for at least five more attackers.

Over 10 “terrorist suspects” were involved in the last night’s attack, while left 33 people, including 29 civilians, dead and over 130 injured. Most of the victims sustained head injuries as the militants went on the stabbing spree.

One more female suspect has been arrested and is being treated in hospital for unspecified injuries. Reports said Chinese police captured an injured woman militant who was reportedly being interrogated to get more details.

Evidence at the crime scene showed that the attack was orchestrated by separatist forces from Xinjiang, home to the mostly-Muslim Uygur minority, the municipal government of Kunming said today.

TV footage showed police recovering swords carried by some of the assailants.

Nothing justifies civilian slaughter in China’s “9-11”, state-run Xinhua news agency said in a commentary on the last night’s dreadful attack.

“China was outraged and the world shocked after separatists from Xinjiang knifed down innocent civilians at a crowded train terminal in Kunming Saturday night,” it said.

“It was a typical terrorist attack and also a severe crime against humanity. It was China’s ‘9-11′”, it said.

It is the first time militants from the banned East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) from Xinjiang have been blamed for carrying out such a large-scale attack from their remote homeland.

It follows an incident in Beijing’s iconic Tiananmen Square in October which shook the country’s Communist leadership, forcing them to establish a state committee to ensure national security.

The attack came ahead of the commencement of China’s Parliament beginning from tomorrow, an annual political season that lasts about a fortnight.

Observers said the attack is a shock to the Chinese government as the militants chose a soft target like Kunming, which is far from tightly secured capital Beijing.

The banned ETIM, an alleged al-Qaeda linked group, is fighting for the independence of Xinjiang province, which is endowed with natural resources, including oil.

Last year three members of a family, including two women, tried to carry out an attack at the Forbidden city near the Tiananmen Square where the Parliament holds its session at the Great Hall of People. Five persons were killed in the attack.

The attacks point out that the ethnic conflict in Xinjiang, which borders Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) and Afghanistan, is spilling over to mainland China.

Overseas Xinjiang groups allege severe repression by the Chinese security forces.

The province is witnessing violent ethnic conflict in recent years as ethnic Muslim Uygurs, who form over 45 per cent of the provincial population, resented the settlements of China’s Han majority.

Before the emergence of ETIM, the province witnessed several riots between the two communities.

Senior Chinese security official Meng Jianzhu, who rushed to Kunming last night on the directive of President Xi Jinping, pledged to harshly punish terrorists in accordance with the law to ensure social stability.

Meng, head of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the CPC, said the attack caused big losses to people’s lives.

The terrorists were devoid of conscience as they brutally attacked unarmed civilians and exposed their anti-humanity and anti-society nature. They should be harshly punished in accordance with the law, he said.

Xi, who is regarded as the most powerful Chinese leader in recent years as he headed, Presidency, CPC and the military, ordered authorities to firmly suppress terrorists’ rampant momentum, official media reported.

The President, who also heads recently formed China’s national security commission, asked law enforcement agencies to crackdown on violent terrorist activities in all forms, safeguard social stability and guarantee the safety of people’s lives and property.

A day after the attack, eyewitnesses recalled the horrific moment with Kunming resident Yang Haifei saying he was buying a ticket when he saw a group of people rushed into the station and started attacking people.

“I saw a person come straight at me with a long knife and I ran away with everyone,” he said, adding that the attackers caught those who were slower. “They just fell on the ground.”

“At first I thought it was just someone fighting, but then I saw blood and heard people scream, and I just ran,” said Liu Chen, a 19-year-old student from Wuhan City of central China’s Hubei Province, who was visiting Yunnan.

One thought on “China Blames Islamic Militants for Terror Attack

  1. ISLAM IS A CANCER OF THE BODY, SOUL & SPIRIT: WHAT IS “RADICAL ISLAM”? There is a serious problem we run into when we try to define “radical Islam.” What is “radical Islam?” First of all, nothing the radical Islamists say is outside the Quran and Hadith. The Quran and Hadith are the pillars of Islam, not only of radical Islam. That poses a serious problem. Because no Muslim body has ever stated that parts of the Quran and Hadith are now “outdated” or “irrelevant.” The Hadith, for instance, gives numerous instances of rape of female captives captured after defeating infidels, in the presence of Mohammed. Since Mohammed is considered the perfect person and example for all to follow by ALL of Islam, what does this mean? It means that ALL Muslims must find this practice agreeable, at least in principle, and therein lies the problem. HADITH ON RAPE OF KEFIR FEMALES CAPTURED IN WAR There is an entire chapter in the Hadith on how to rape captured women without making them pregnant, so that their slave price does not fall (pregnant women fetch lower price). Remember, this was the fate of millions of Hindus who fell into Muslim hands. Chapter 22: AL AZL (INCOMPLETE SEXUAL INTERCOURSE): COITUS INTERRUPTUS Book 008, Number 3371: Abu Sirma said to Abu Sa’id al Khadri (Allah he pleased with him): 0 Abu Sa’id, did you hear Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) mentioning al-‘azl? He said: Yes, and added: We went out with Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) on the expedition to the Bi’l-Mustaliq and took captive some excellent Arab women; and we desired them, for we were suffering from the absence of our wives, (but at the same time) we also desired ransom for them. So we decided to have sexual intercourse with them but by observing ‘azl (Withdrawing the male sexual organ before emission of semen to avoid-conception). But we said: We are doing an act whereas Allah’s Messenger is amongst us; why not ask him? So we asked Allah’s Mes- senger (may peace be upon him), and he said: It does not matter if you do not do it, for every soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrection will be born. Book 008, Number 3377: Abu Sa’id al-Khudri (Allah be pleased with him) reported that mention was made of ‘azl in the presence of Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) whereupon he said: Why do you practise it? They said: There is a man whose wife has to suckle the child, and if that person has a sexual intercourse with her (she may conceive) which he does not like, and there is another person who has a slave-girl and he has a sexual intercourse with her, but he does not like her to have conception so that she may not become Umm Walad, whereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: There is no harm if you do not do that, for that (the birth of the child) is something pre- ordained. People say “radical Islam” but what they mean is the radical verses in the Quran and Hadith. Radical by whose standards? Not by the standards of Islam, since these verses have been accepted without any controversy within Islam for centuries. These verses are not radical for Muslims, but they are radical by non-Muslim modern civilization. Take another example – the verse 4:34 in the Quran that says that wives who are disobedient must be beaten. “Radical Muslims” like the Taliban used to frequently quote this verse to justify their open violence against women. But this verse is in the Quran! It is not in a separate book called “Quran for radicals.” It is in the one and only Quran, and is equal to any other verse. So why is it radical? Because in today’s modern society, we do not find this practice acceptable. So it seems that the problem is that Islam is radical. It is not that there is a separate religion called “radical Islam”, but that the religion of Islam has many components that are considered radical/unacceptable/violent by modern societies. So what is the way out? My firm belief is that a reformation within Islam is needed. It won’t happen though until we obfuscate plain facts. The plain facts are that numerous verses in the Quran and Hadith say things which are simply unacceptable (and considered barbaric) by today’s society. Let us say it as it is, instead of pretending that there is a separate ideology called “radical Islam.” There isn’t. Nothing that Muslim terrorists say is outside the Quran and Hadith. As someone said – there are radical Muslims and moderate Muslims, but there is nothing called moderate Islam. Islam IS RADICAL. To make Islam moderate, we would have to expurgate many verses (and entire chapters, such as that on raping female captives without impregnating them, so that their slave price does not fall) from the Quran and Hadith. Are we prepared to ask moderate Muslims to do that? The other obfuscation is that some people are “hijacking Islam.” Who are they? Every single action Muslim terrorists have done is justified by the Quran and Hadith, and they have taken great pains to provide the verses that justify their actions. Not only that, for centuries, people like that were hailed as Ghazis (holy warriors) within Islam. It is not for nothing that in the Muslim world, a majority of people hail them as heroes. It is only when you are trying to hide from the scrutiny of the West that you say he has “hijacked Islam.” Muslim terrorists are merely persons who follow Islam to the word. They are, in many ways, true Muslims. In numerous Hadith, Muhammad says that the best Muslim is NOT one who fasts and prays, but who gets on his horse and fights against infidels (especially polytheists) for the spread of Islam. That is what Muslim terrorists are doing. What about the innocent women and children they kills? Guess what – the Hadith emphatically state that it is perfectly alright to kill the women and children of polytheists. Nothing Muslim terrorists do is outside the Quran and Hadith. They are NOT “radical” Muslims. They are merely a practicing Muslims! IT IS OK TO KILL WOMEN & CHILDREN OF POLYTHEISTS All 4 schools of Islam regard Hindus as polytheists and idolaters. This means every single verse in the Quran and Hadith which prescribes violence and death for polytheists and idolaters is applicable to Hindus. Let me cite the specific verses in the Hadith which talks about killing women and children of polytheists. One may verify these verses from the Hadith database, available here: http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagement/resources/texts/muslim/hadith/muslim/019.smt.html#019.4321 Book 019, Number 4321: It is reported on the authority of Sa’b b. Jaththama that the Prophet of Allah (may peace be upon him), when asked about the women and children of the polytheists being killed during the night raid, said: They are from them. Book 019, Number 4322: It is narrated by Sa’b b. Jaththama that he said (to the Holy Prophet): Messenger of Allah, we kill the children of the polytheists during the night raids. He said: They are from them. Book 019, Number 4323: Sa’b b. Jaththama has narrated that the Prophet (may peace be upon him) asked: What about the children of polytheists killed by the cavalry during the night raid? He said: They are from them. In each of these Hadith, Muhammad dismisses any ethical concerns about killing women and children in raids on polytheists by saying that “they are from them” (i.e. it is alright to kill them since they are also polytheists). WHY IS THIS RELEVANT TODAY? Islam bases its ethics and morality entirely on one man – Muhammad. Everything he said, and he did, becomes the moral code. Islam rejects any ethics and morality that does not agree with the example set by Muhammad. Now, since he says in these ahadith that it is alright to kill the women and children of polytheists, it becomes the example for all Muslims to follow for all time. Obviously, this is a serious problem, especially for Hindus who are regarded as polytheists by all 4 schools of Islam. Never mind the truth here, which is that Hinduism is panentheistic; what matters is that Islamic law regards them as polytheists and therefore killing of Hindu women and children is permissible in Islamic law, in accordance with the quoted ahadith. Let us be honest about this – the problem is not a chimera called “radical Islam.” The problem is ISLAM. Islam, as it exists in the Quran and Hadith, is far too violent, intolerant, and yes, “radical”, to co-exist with modern society. The moment a Muslim starts following true Islam, he appears incredibly radical to us all, and we say “he is a radical Muslim” when all he is doing is following his religion! The ideology of Nazism led to the Holocaust. The ideology of Islam, and not “radical Islam”, led to what TIME magazine called “the greatest genocide since the holocaust” – the butchery of 2 million Hindus (and 1 million Muslims who were regarded as “contaminated by Hindu ideas”) in East Pakistan by the Pakistan army between 1970-71. Again, it is Islam, and not “radical Islam” whose teachings play a big role in the ongoing genocide and rape in Darfur. I will have a post on that shortly as well. WAS MUHAMMAD TOLERANT OF OTHER FAITHS? THE BLUEPRINT FOR RELIGIOUS CLEANSING IN ISLAM Here is a sample chapter from Hadith Sahih Muslim, which talks about Muhammad’s desire to expel Jews and Christians from the Hijaz (which is the part of Arabia that contains Mecca and Medina and which was the extent of Muhammad’s power), as well as his expulsion of Jews from Medina. As you can see, he was quite intolerant of other religions, even Jews and Christians. As far as idolaters, the verdict is even more intolerant – simply kill them all (Quran 9:5). Chapter 20: EVACUATION OF THE JEWS FROM THE HIJAZ Book 019, Number 4364: It has been narrated on the authority of Ibn Umar that the Jews of Banu Nadir and Banu Quraizi fought against the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) who expelled Banu Nadir, and allowed Quraiza to stay on, and granted favour to them until they too fought against him. Then he killed their men, and distributed their women, children and properties among the Muslims, except that some of them had joined the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) who granted them security. They embraced Islam. The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) turned out all the Jews of Medlina. Banu Qainuqa’ (the tribe of ‘Abdullah b. Salim) and the Jews of Banu Haritha and every other Jew who was in Medina. Book 019, Number 4366: It has been narrated by ‘Umar b. al-Khattib that he heard the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) say: I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslim. Now, this is the original Islamic blueprint for religious cleansing. It was the first time in Islam entire religions were wiped out from areas under Muslim control. This was done by Muhammad, and his example is the “gold standard” for all Muslims for all time. So is it surprising that where ever Islam gains hold, religious minorities are cleansed out. Remember Kashmir valley in 1989? One fine day, flyers appeared all over the valley asking the Kashmiri Hindus to leave or be killed. And by the way, the flyers also said “leave your women behind.” Again, this aspect of Islamic warfare (Jihad) upon infidels is following Muhammad’s example and teachings, which say that women of infidels are nothing more than “war booty” (maal-e-ghanimat) for the enjoyment of Muslims. There are entire chapters in the Hadith that deal with capture and rape of infidel women, such as this one where Muhammad is asked whether his Muslim soldiers should use coitus interruptus while raping these captured women. Please understand that this is all in the religion of Islam. If it shocks you that a religious book should have an entire chapter devoted to the use of coitus interruptus while raping captured infidel women, it should! AGAIN THE PROBLEM IS ISLAM Islam consecrated religious cleansing when Muhammad killed/forcibly converted all the polytheist Arabs, and expelled/killed the Jews and Christians. Islam consecrated the capture and rape of infidel women when Muhammad asked his followers to do this. There are Hadith where Muhammad even takes “first pick” among the captured women (one famous example is Safiya, a beautiful woman who Muhammad took for himself and bedded on the same night he had murdered her husband and brother in war). Since Muhammad’s example is normative for all Muslims for all time, this behavior has to be repeated by Muslims everywhere. And we can see that Muslims have followed this example in various places such as Kashmir, from where almost half a million Hindus were expelled in 1989. In 1971, 2 million Hindus were killed, 10 million Hindus were driven out of Bangladesh, and the Pakistani army ran “rape camps” with Hindu women. The extent of genocide and mass rape compelled TIME magazine to describe it as “the greatest genocide since the Holocaust of Jews by the Nazis..”. Now here is some news: All of these atrocities simply follow the example of Muhammad as recorded in the Hadith. If you read the Hadith you will see for yourself that nothing that was done in 1971 to Hindus in Bangladesh, or in 1989 to Hindus in Kashmir is against Islam. On the contrary, it is exactly as per the diktats of the Hadith. Politicians will not tell you this. Dishonest “intellectuals” will not tell you this. But Hindus need to know this so it does not happen again. Hiding the ideology behind Islam’s murder is like hiding the ideology of the Nazis from the Jews. It is criminal. What would we call people who tried to hide the murderous ideology of Nazism, and tried to attribute the Holocaust to other causes? We would call them “abettors in Nazi genocide.” Similarly, I call those who are trying to hide the true teachings of Islam abettors in Islamic genocides. Please, let us stop this intellectual cowardice and call it as it is. How many more must die to Jihad till we finally call it Jihad? Till we finally say “Yes, it is Islam that is causing all this violence?” Please say it today, and be on the side of truth. THE SLAUGHTER OF HINDUS & MOHAMMEDANS BY PAKISTANI BUTCHERS BANGLADESH GENOCIDE “…… we were told to kill the hindus and Kafirs (non-believer in God). One day in June, we cordoned a village and were ordered to kill the Kafirs in that area. We found all the village women reciting from the Holy Quran, and the men holding special congregational prayers seeking God’s mercy. But they were unlucky. Our commanding officer ordered us not to waste any time.” Confession of a Pakistani Soldier It all started with Operation Searchlight, a planned military pacification carried out by the Pakistan Army started on 25 March, 1971 to curb the Bengali nationalist movement by taking control of the major cities on March 26, and then eliminating all opposition, political or military, within one month. Before the beginning of the operation, all foreign journalists were systematically deported from Bangladesh. The main phase of Operation Searchlight ended with the fall of the last major town in Bengali hands in mid May. According to New York Times (3/28/71) 10,000 people were killed; New York Times (3/29/71) 5,000-7,000 people were killed in Dhaka; The Sydney Morning Herald (3/29/71) 10,000 – 100,000 were killed; New York Times (4/1/71) 35,000 were killed in Dhaka during operation searchlight. The operation also began the 1971 Bangladesh atrocities. These systematic killings served only to enrage the Bengalis, which ultimately resulted in the secession of East Pakistan later in December, 1971. The international media and reference books in English have published casualty figures which vary greatly; 200,000–3,000,000 for Bangladesh as a whole. There is only one word for this: Genocide. GENOCIDE IN BANGLADESH, 1971 The mass killings in Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) in 1971 vie with the annihilation of the Soviet POWs, the holocaust against the Jews, and the genocide in Rwanda as the most concentrated act of genocide in the twentieth century. In an attempt to crush forces seeking independence for East Pakistan, the West Pakistani military regime unleashed a systematic campaign of mass murder which aimed at killing millions of Bengalis, and likely succeeded in doing so. In national elections held in December 1970, the Awami League won an overwhelming victory across Bengali territory. On February 22, 1971 the generals in West Pakistan took a decision to crush the Awami League and its supporters. It was recognized from the first that a campaign of genocide would be necessary to eradicate the threat: “Kill three million of them,” said President Yahya Khan at the February conference, “and the rest will eat out of our hands.” (Robert Payne, Massacre [1972], p. 50.) On March 25 the genocide was launched. The university in Dacca (Dhaka) was attacked and students exterminated in their hundreds. Death squads roamed the streets of Dacca, killing some 7,000 people in a single night. It was only the beginning. “Within a week, half the population of Dacca had fled, and at least 30,000 people had been killed. Chittagong, too, had lost half its population. All over East Pakistan people were taking flight, and it was estimated that in April some thirty million people [!] were wandering helplessly across East Pakistan to escape the grasp of the military.” (Payne, Massacre, p. 48.) Ten million refugees fled to India, overwhelming that country’s resources and spurring the eventual Indian military intervention. (The population of Bangladesh/East Pakistan at the outbreak of the genocide was about 75 million.) The Guinness Book of Records lists the Bangladesh Genocide as one of the top 5 genocides in the 20th century. The gendercide against Bengali men The war against the Bengali population proceeded in classic gendercidal fashion. According to Anthony Mascarenhas: There is no doubt whatsoever about the targets of the genocide. They were: (1) The Bengali militarymen of the East Bengal Regiment, the East Pakistan Rifles, police and para-military 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 Bangla Desh [Delhi: Vikas Publications, 1972(?)], pp. 116-17.) Mascarenhas’s summary makes clear the linkages between gender and social class (the “intellectuals,” “professors,” “teachers,” “office bearers,” and — obviously — “militarymen” can all be expected to be overwhelmingly if not exclusively male, although in many cases their families died or fell victim to other atrocities alongside them). In this respect, the Bangladesh events can be classed as a combined gendercide and elitocide, with both strategies overwhelmingly targeting males for the most annihilatory excesses. London, 6/13/71). The Sunday Times…..”The Government’s policy for East Bengal was spelled out to me in the Eastern Command headquarters at Dacca. It has three elements: 1. The Bengalis have proved themselves unreliable and must be ruled by West Pakistanis; 2. The Bengalis will have to be re-educated along proper Islamic lines. The – Islamization of the masses – this is the official jargon – is intended to eliminate secessionist tendencies and provide a strong religious bond with West Pakistan; 3. When the Hindus have been eliminated by death and fight, their property will be used as a golden carrot to win over the under privileged Muslim middle-class. This will provide the base for erecting administrative and political structures in the future.” Bengali man and boys massacred by the West Pakistani regime. Younger men and adolescent boys, of whatever social class, were equally targets. According to Rounaq Jahan, “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.) R.J. Rummel likewise writes that “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.” (Death By Government, p. 329.) Rummel 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.” Robert Payne describes scenes of systematic mass slaughter around Dacca (Dhaka) that, while not explicitly “gendered” in his account, bear every hallmark of classic gender-selective roundups and gendercidal slaughters of non-combatant men: 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. (Payne, Massacre [Macmillan, 1973], p. 55.) Strikingly similar and equally hellish scenes are described in the case-studies of genocide in Armenia and the Nanjing Massacre of 1937. HOW MANY WERE SLAUGHTERED? Bangladeshi authorities claim that 3 million people were slaughtered, while the Hamoodur Rahman Commission, an official Pakistan Government investigation, put the figure as low as 26,000 civilian casualties. The fact is that the number of dead in Bangladesh in 1971 was almost certainly well into seven figures. It was one of the worst genocides of the World War II era, outstripping Rwanda (800,000 killed) and probably surpassing even Indonesia (1 million to 1.5 million killed in 1965-66). As R.J. Rummel writes: The human death toll over only 267 days was incredible. Just to give for five out of the eighteen districts some incomplete statistics published in Bangladesh newspapers or by an Inquiry Committee, the Pakistani army killed 100,000 Bengalis in Dacca, 150,000 in Khulna, 75,000 in Jessore, 95,000 in Comilla, and 100,000 in Chittagong. For eighteen districts the total is 1,247,000 killed. This was an incomplete toll, and to this day no one really knows the final toll. Some estimates of the democide [Rummel’s “death by government”] are much lower — one is of 300,000 dead — but most range from 1 million to 3 million. … The Pakistani army and allied paramilitary groups killed about one out of every sixty-one people in Pakistan overall; one out of every twenty-five Bengalis, Hindus, and others in East Pakistan. If the rate of killing for all of Pakistan is annualized over the years the Yahya martial law regime was in power (March 1969 to December 1971), then this one regime was more lethal than that of the Soviet Union, China under the communists, or Japan under the military (even through World War II). (Rummel, Death By Government, p. 331.) People regard that the best option is to regard “3 million” as not an absolute but an arbitrary number. The proportion of men versus women murdered is impossible to ascertain, but a speculation might be attempted. If we take the highest estimates for both women raped and Bengalis killed (400,000 and 3 million, respectively); if we accept that half as many women were killed as were raped; and if we double that number for murdered children of both sexes (total: 600,000), we are still left with a death-toll that is 80 percent adult male (2.4 million out of 3 million). Any such disproportion, which is almost certainly on the low side, would qualify Bangladesh as one of the worst gendercides against men in the last half-millennium. WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE? “For month after month in all the regions of East Pakistan the massacres went on,” writes Robert Payne. “They were not the small casual killings of young officers who wanted to demonstrate their efficiency, but organized massacres conducted by sophisticated staff officers, who knew exactly what they were doing. Muslim soldiers, sent out to kill Muslim peasants, went about their work mechanically and efficiently, until killing defenseless people became a habit like smoking cigarettes or drinking wine. … Not since Hitler invaded Russia had there been so vast a massacre.” (Payne, Massacre, p. 29.) There is no doubt that the mass killing in Bangladesh was among the most carefully and centrally planned of modern genocides. A cabal of five Pakistani generals orchestrated the events: President Yahya Khan, General Tikka Khan, chief of staff General Pirzada, security chief General Umar Khan, and intelligence chief General Akbar Khan. The U.S. government, long supportive of military rule in Pakistan, supplied some $3.8 million in military equipment to the dictatorship after the onset of the genocide, “and after a government spokesman told Congress that all shipments to Yahya Khan’s regime had ceased.” (Payne, Massacre, p. 102.) The genocide and gendercidal atrocities were also perpetrated by lower-ranking officers and ordinary soldiers. These “willing executioners” were fuelled by an abiding anti-Bengali racism, especially against the Hindu minority. “Bengalis were often compared with monkeys and chickens. Said Pakistan General Niazi, ‘It was a low lying land of low lying people.’ The Hindus among the Bengalis were as Jews to the Nazis: scum and vermin that [should] best be exterminated. As to the Moslem Bengalis, they were to live only on the sufferance of the soldiers: any infraction, any suspicion cast on them, any need for reprisal, could mean their death. And the soldiers were free to kill at will. The journalist Dan Coggin quoted one Punjabi captain as telling him, ‘We can kill anyone for anything. We are accountable to no one.’ This is the arrogance of Power.” (Rummel, Death By Government, p. 335.) • Pakistani Army Desecrated Churches in 1971 EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS The atrocities of the razakars in killing the Bengalis equaled those of their Pakistani masters. An excerpt from an article written in the Azad, dated January 15, 1972, underscores the inhuman atrocities of the Pakistani troops and their associates, the razakar and al-Badr forces: ‘….The people of Narail can bear witness to the reign of terror, the inhuman atrocities, inflicted on them after (General) Yahya let loose his troops to do what they would. After March 25, many people fled Jessore in fear of their lives, and took refuge in Narail and its neighboring localities. Many of them were severely bashed by the soldiers of Yahya and lost their lives. Very few people ever returned. Bhayna is a flourishing village near Narail. Ali Akbar is a well-known figure there. On April 8, the Pakistani troops surrounded the village on the pretext that it was a sanctuary for freedom fighters. Just as fish are caught in a net so too were the people of this village all assembled, in an open field. Then everyone- men, women, and children–were all forced to line up. Young men between the ages of 25 and 30 were lined up separately. 45 people were shot to death on the spot. Three of Ali Akbar’s brothers were killed there. Ali Akbar was able to save himself by lying on the ground. But no one else of that group was as fortunate. Nadanor was the Killing field. Every day 20 to 30 people were taken there with their hands tied behind their backs, and killed. The dead bodies would be flung into the river. Apart from this, a slaughter house was also readied for Bengalis. Manik, Omar, and Ashraf were sent to Jessore Cantonment for training and then brought to this slaughter house. Every day they would slaughter 9 to 12 persons here. The rate per person was Taka ten. On one particular day, 45 persons were slaughtered here. From April 15 to December 10, the butchery continued. It is gathered that 2,723 people lost their lives here. People were brought here and bashed, then their ears were cut off, and their eyes gouged out. Finally they were slaughtered… : The Chairman of the Peace Committee was Moulana Solaiman. With Dr. Abul Hussain and Abdul Rashid Mukhtar, he assisted in the genocide. Omar would proudly say, “During the day I am Omar, at night I am Shimar( legendary executioner famous for extreme cruelty). Don’t you see my dagger? There are countless Kafirs (heretics) on it.” CHUKNAGAR: The largest genocide during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971 Chuknagar is a small business town located in the Dumuria Thana of Khulna district and very close to the India Bangladesh border. In 71 thousands of refugees gathered in Chuknagar to go to Kolkata. According to a conservative account around ten thousand people were in Chuknagar waiting to cross the border. In the early morning of May 10, the fatal day around 10am two trucks carrying Paki troops arrived at Kautala (then known as Patkhola). The Pakis were not many in number, most possibly a platoon or so. As soon as the Paki trucks stopped, the Pakis alighted from the truck carrying light machine guns (LMGs) and semi automatic rifles and opened fire on the public. Within a few minutes a lively town turned into a city of death. The accounts of the two hundred interviewees were same. They differed only in details. “There were piled up dead bodies. Dead Kids’ on dead mum’s laps. Wives hugging their beloved husbands to protect them from killer bullets. Dads’ hugging their daughters to shield them. Within a flash they all were just dead bodies. Blood streamed into the Bhadra river, it became a river of corps. A few hours later when the Paki bastards ran out of bullets, they killed the rest of the people with bayonet.” Source: Muntassir Mamun, The Archive of Liberation War, Bangabandhu and Bangladesh Research Institute Further Documents and facts • Statistics Of Pakistan’s Democide: Estimates, Calculations, And Sources – R. J. Rummel • Genocide 71 • Massacre of Dhaka University students • Torture Cells • Killing Zones • Operation search light • Mass grave found in Bangladesh – Tribune India August, 1999 • An Army Insider’s Honest Expose of Atrocities in East Pakistan Debacle • Unearthing the killing fields in Mirpur Dhaka for mass graves – evidence of genocide • Bangladesh War of Independence: West Pakistani Soldiers Kill Catholic Priests – Jerome D’Costa • Genocide Seminar on Bangladesh 2007: An unprecedented step by a US Bangladesh Genocide Study Group at Kean University “..It is Mujib’s home district. Kill as many bastards as you can and make sure there is no Hindu left alive,” I was ordered. – Colonel Nadir Ali, retired Pakistan Army Officer , Punjabi poet and short story writer DENIALS According to Gregory H. Stanton, President, Genocide Watch there are eight stages of a genocide. All of them are evident in the genocide commited by the Pakistan forces. The last of the eight stages is denial: It is among the surest indicators of further genocidal massacres. The perpetrators of genocide dig up the mass graves, burn the bodies, try to cover up the evidence and intimidate the witnesses. They deny that they committed any crimes, and often blame what happened on the victims. NIGHTS & DAYS OF PAKISTANI BUTCHERS: REMINISING THIS BLOODY DAY AFTER 3 DECADES By Abul Kasem In 1971, I was a final year civil engineering student at EPUET (now BUET). We were about to graduate when the political turmoil in East Pakistan just got started. As we were preparing for our final examination, when suddenly, the university was closed due to the unrest all around us. This recount I am about to tell, would bring into the fore one more time the inhuman butchery and atrocities committed by the Pakistan army as I witnessed with my own eyes. This had been the most horrific experiences of my life and to put it mildly this had a profound impact on my views on religion and politics. On the eve of 25th March, 1971, I was staying at Shere-e- Bangla Hall of EPUET. Just a few days before that the political problems engulfed East Pakistan as General Yahya steadfastly refused to accept the mandate of the people of East Pakistan for full autonomy. The students were on strike. Actually, it was the exam time and I was preparing for my final year examination as I said it before. However, due to the political unrest, the examination was withheld and many students had left the residential halls and went back home. I was, though, actively involved in student politics. Therefore, I decided to stay put in the hall so that should a need arises I shall be available to join the movement. A few days before the 25th March there were persistent rumours in the air that the talk between Mujib and General Yahya was not progressing well and that there was that possibility of a military crackdown looming over the horizon. However, the government media cleverly played down this rumour by insisting that the talks were fruitful. Some newspapers even suggested that General Yahya was prepared to hand over the power to a civilian government where both Bhutto and Mujib will have major roles. With those types of misleading information many people thought that at last the Bangalees will have a chance to taste their freedom after a sojourn of about thirteen years. But that did not happen. On the fateful night of 25th March,1971, the Pakistan army came out from the cantonment with fury to teach the Bangalees a lesson of their lifetime that they will never forget. And surely they did. This is my very personal recount of the nights and days on and immediately after March 25,1971. I went to bed a bit early at around 9.00 at night. I was quite tired for the whole day and quickly I fell into my sleep. Suddenly at around 11.00 P.M, my deep slumber was disturbed by a the noise of a constant barrage of gunfire. At first, I thought that it must be the firecracker’s by Bangalees to celebrate the victory. But soon I realised my mistake. I opened the window. It was very dark. Not even the dim streetlights were burning. But there I could barely see numerous military vehicles moving around with soldiers with theirs automatic rifles. Occasionally, I could see very bright searchlights mounted on some of the military trucks and jeeps. Many soldiers were running and shooting in the street. I saw a large convoy of military vehicles had surrounded the whole of the EPUET area. As far as my eyes could go, I could see military men all around the campus. I could even hear the army people talking loud in Urdu downstairs in our hall. I immediately knew what was going on. I thanked my lucky star that I switched off the room light before I went to bed. There was deafening noise from the machine gun and automatic rifles, which were not too far from where I stood. I just could not believe what was going on. I was alone in the room; there was nobody to comfort me on that fateful night. Being panic-struck, I started trembling and fell down on my bed. Then, all on a sudden a hail of bullet shattered the nearby window. The bullets hit the ceiling and walls and then hit the floor. A thought passed through my mind. I knew I was going to die. Without thinking much I went under my bed as a protection against hitting by stray bullets. I lied on my chest and grabbed the floor as if that was my life. The firing continued incessantly for almost the whole night. Then suddenly there was a lull. No machine gun or rifle sound. I thought it was over. So I slowly came out from my hiding place and sat on my bed. I looked at my wristwatch. I could not see very well. It was 3.00 A.M or so, I guessed. Suddenly, there was an extremely loud noise and the whole area was brightly lit. I could not resist the curiosity. Through the shattered window pane what I saw was utterly unbelievable. I saw a military tank throwing fire on the slums (Bastee). The slum was just next to our halls and along the old railway track. I saw people running out of their hovels. As the slum dwellers came out to escape the fire, the Pakistani soldiers started to shoot them with a machine-gun that was mounted on a military truck. I could see only one truck with the machine gun near our hall. But I am sure there were many more on other sides as I could see the fires from these machine-guns dropping like August showers in the darkness of the spring night. It was a seen I have watched only in TV and movies on Vietnam wars. I could hear the desperate cry for help from those hapless victims. I closed the window as I thought that one of those bullets would be enough for me. I sat on the floor and suddenly realised that this is it. There was no escape for me. Time passed and slowly the morning broke the silence of the eerie night. I could still see the military people from my window. I switched on my transistor radio on a very low volume to hear what was going on. The Dhaka Radio Station was dead. I switched to Calcutta . There was no mention of East Pakistan except that General Yahya Khan had left Dhaka after the final talks with Mujib. So I switched to Karachi. Now I got the news that I wanted to hear so desperately. There was a special announcement that General Yahya was going to speak to the nation. I heard him speaking. It was the voice of a heavily drunken person that one can tell. I cannot recall all that he said. But there were few words that I still remember to the letters. These words were “Mujib’s act is an act of treason. He will not go unpunished.” Yahya Khan ended by saying that Mujib will be tried by a special military tribunal. The news announced that Sheik Mujibur Rahman along with Dr. Kamal Hussain had been arrested and taken to West Pakistan for the trial. I also heard Bhutto saying that “Thank God. Pakistan was saved.” In the meanwhile the fire in the slum continued and I noticed a strange odor in the air. It took me sometime to figure out that it was indeed the smell of burning flesh. I did not hear any fire brigade siren or anything like that although there was a fire brigade office just next to our hall in Palashi. It was almost 8 o’clock in the morning and the fire slowly started to diminish after devouring the nearby shantytown. From my window I could see the tank moving out from our area. I again lied on my bed and started to search other radio stations for news. Suddenly, I heard mild knocking on my door. I froze. I felt that my blood circulation had suddenly stopped. In front of my eyes I saw nothing but white colour. I could not move from my bed. I just lay still. After a while there was another knock. Now it stroke my mind that if it was the army they will not wait for my response. They would simply burst open my door and start shooting. There must be some one else, I guessed. So, I went near the window close to the door and looked. I saw Monju, my next door neighbour crawling on his chest near my door. I gingerly opened a little of the door and asked him what was wrong. He whispered to me that something was wrong with his roommate, Ashraf. Monju asked me to follow him to his room. I opened the door silently and slowly crawled on my chest to Monju’s room. I found Ashraf lying on the floor with eyes wide open but his mouth shut and he was vigorously shivering. There was water all over. I asked Monju why was there so much of water on the floor. Monju replied that it was not water. It was Ashraf’s urine. He told me that Ashraf had urinated several times and now he (Ashraf) cannot talk. I called Ashraf very softly. He just stared at me but could not say anything. I knew what had happened. Ashraf had a nervous breakdown. I told Monju that we keep whispering to him that the military is gone and we are safe. Surprisingly, after whispering for about 15 to 20 minutes Ashraf started to murmur a few words. After a while he simply whispered, “Please, please, do not leave me.” I told Ashraf that what ever happens the three of us will remain together. If we die we shall die together. This assurance from us made Ashraf slowly come back to normal. All of us were very hungry and thirsty. So we ate the stale bread and some water. Then we talked how each of us passed the dreaded night. It was around midday and we found that all the military personnel had left our area. There was no sound of gunfire, no sound of military trucks or vehicles. In fact, there was an eerie unbearable silence all around the campus. No bus, no rickshaw, no car, hardly any people on the streets. We thought that it was our best opportunity to escape from the hall. We tuned to AIR and heard about the indefinite curfew in Dhaka. But we decided to escape no matter what happens even if that meant breaking the curfew and being shot at by the military. We decided that I shall go to Monju’s apartment at Azimpur Government quarters. Both Monju and Ashraf used to live at Azimpur quarters. I crawled back to my room, put on my shoes and grab my transistor radio. The three of us then slowly started to climb down the stairs hiding ourselves as much as we could. We went to the ground floor. To our disappointment we found the entry/exit gate was locked. The guards had locked the gate and fled. Later on, we realised that that action by the hall guards actually had saved our lives. In frustration, we came back to our room on the second floor. Then we decided to go to 1st floor and jump from the balcony/verandah. At first, we thought of leaving the radios behind. Then we realised that the radio was the only means by which we could know what was going on in East Pakistan. The three of us then jumped in the garden. Luckily, the jump was a success. Then we quickly ran. While running across the hall compound we saw the gruesome scenes of killing by the Pakistani army. In Liaquat Hall (I suppose it is Titumeer Hall now, but I’m not sure) we saw plenty of blood and a dead body possibly the guard’s. (Later, I learnt that four students were killed at Liaquat Hall.) We quickly ran to the Fire Brigade Centre in Palashi. The Centre was very close to our residential Hall. We thought of taking temporary refuge in Fire Brigade building before proceeding to Azimpur colony. There was a small mosque inside the Fire Brigade compound. I saw four dead bodies there. All were riddled with numerous bullet holes. The floor of the mosque was flooded with blood. I thought that some Fire Brigade people tried to take shelter in the mosque hoping that Pakistanis will not commit murder in a place of worship. But how wrong they were! We saw many other dead bodies on the compound of the Fire Brigade. Some dead bodies were inside the Fire Brigade trucks and ambulance. They took shelter inside these vehicles hoping to escape the onslaught. Most likely none of the Fire Brigade people survived. Then we arrived at the road that separates the Azimpur Colony from the Palashi. On the road we found many dead bodies scattered everywhere mainly of rickshaw pullers. There was a high wall at the entry of the Azimpur Colony. We did not know what to do at that point. The curfew was on and if any army people saw us they surely will kill us. We had no choice but to jump over the wall. To our utter surprise we could jump over the wall and fell on the other side of the wall. I still do not know how I did that. May be our adrenaline was running high after all that happened to us. I am sure that if I have to jump that wall again, I shall surely fail. After jumping inside the Azimpur colony we felt a little safer and we all heaved a great sigh of relief. Monju suggested that I go and stay with him. Ashraf was too nervous to say anything. So, firstly we escorted Ashraf to his quarter and then Monju and I headed towards Monju’s quarter. When Monju’s father and mother saw us they simply hold us tight and started crying. We quickly went inside the bedroom and told our story. Monju’s father said that they were certain that Pakistani army had killed us as he had witnessed the army operation from the window. We realised how lucky we really were to be alive that fateful night. Monju’s mother prepared some food for us. We were extremely hungry. I finished all the food served to me. During this time we did not hear much gun shots in the local area of Azimpur. But we could hear the non-stop machine gun firing in the distance. We carefully opened a little bit of the window. All we saw was smoke and fire all around, a little away from Azimpur. We guessed that it was old Dhaka area possibly near the Buriganga river and Sadarghat. After the liberation, it was found that the killing and destruction done by the Pak military was one of the worst in the old Dhaka area. They have killed virtually each and every person in the Hindu dominated Shankari Patti in the Old Dhaka. The fire and smoke was so terrible that at night the whole sky was red. In the evening we ate some food and we tried to sleep. But none of us could hardly shut our eyelids. The whole night we searched the world on radio. At last we got the news from BBC of what was going on in East Pakistan. The Dhaka radio station was working again only playing mainly Urdu patriotic songs and Islamic verses. We were now sure that our dream of a free nation had suddenly vanished. The Pakistani army had captured us as slaves. The whole night we mostly talked about what would happen to the Bangalees since all our struggle was in vain. Finally, the morning came. At around 9 o’clock we heard in Dhaka radio that the curfew had been relaxed for six hours only. We found many people on the street. I suggested to Monju that I better go home and see if my family members were alive. As our house was in Nakhalpara (very close to cantonment and the airport), Monju, his father and mother were very reluctant that I should take the risk. However, after my constant insistence they let me go, but reminded me to return immediately to them if I had problem. Until today, I can never repay their debt. You can tell they were really so concerned about me. So, I came open in the street. I found people and people all around me. No bus, no truck. Hardly any rickshaw plying the street. There were occasional cars and military vehicles with fierce looking soldiers and machine gun mounted trucks and jeeps. I asked some people where were they headed to. Most of them replied that they did not know. They simply wanted to leave the city and go to villages where they felt they would be safe. Many of them headed towards Sadarghat hoping that they could catch a steamer or a launch to go to villages. I also did not know what to do. Since there were no transport it would be very difficult for me to walk all the way to Nakhalpara. I thought of going back to Monju’s place. Then I changed my mind when I found that thousands of people are walking, many of them bare footed and with nothing but their clothes on. So, I also started walking. Whatever happens to these people will also happen to me, I thought. The first place I came was Iqbal Hall (now Sergeant Zahurul Hall?). The scene I saw in Iqbal Hall was beyond any description, I swear! The whole area was like a battlefield. I knew that DUCSU VP Tofail Ahmed used to live there. There were holes on the walls created by mortar shells. Those holes were visible from afar. When I arrived at the playground of the Hall, I saw about 30 dead bodies all lined up for display to the public. Many of the dead bodies were beyond any recognition due to innumerable bullet holes on their faces. That was a gruesome sight. Many people started crying. My friend Jafar used to live in Iqbal hall. I did not see his dead body. Later, I learnt that his dead body was found in his bed. Needless to say, the displayed corpses were merely a small fraction of the students that Pak army had murdered in Iqbal Hall on that dreadful night. They simply displayed a few corpses to frighten and to break the morale of all Bangalees. Anyway, I had to hurry along. I started to walk again and came to the central Shaheed Minar. I saw the entire Shaheed Minar was nothing but a heap of rubble. Many people could not believe what they saw. The army had totally destroyed the Shaheed Minar by using powerful explosives, I guessed. Amongst all the cruelties inflicted on the Bangalees that night, I think the destruction of the central Shaheed Minar was the cruelest of all. I noticed some blood on the smooth and shiny floor of Shaheed Minar. But I did not see any dead body. May be the Pak army decided to remove the corpses from the street area so that their movement won’t be affected. I really cried when I saw the Shaheed Minar. Even the displayed corpses at Iqbal Hall could not bring tears to my eyes and make me cry. But I could not hold my tears when I saw the corpse of the Shaheed Minar. The shock was much too much for me. I started to walk again and came to Jagannath Hall. The entire Jagannath Hall compound was like another battlefield. I saw the footprints of tractor vehicles. There were huge holes on the walls of the Jagannath Hall. I guessed that the army had used tanks in Jagannath Hall. In front of the Jagannath Hall lawn I saw a huge mass grave. The grave was so fresh and shallow that we could see some half buried corpse. Some hands and feet protruding from under the soil due to the consolidation of soil, I guess. It was a grotesque scene, to put it mildly. I do not know how many people were buried there. Judging from the size of the grave, my guess was at least a few hundreds. After the liberation of Bangladesh many of us have seen the video footage of this brutality of the Pak army. The video was taken secretly by a brave EPUET (now BUET) professor from the window of his apartment By the side of Jagannath hall there was a small narrow road. On the side of this road and on behind the back of Rokeya Hall there were a large number of washermen (dhopa) who used to live in small quarters with their families. Their number could be around 50 or more. I found that Pak army had burnt down the entire area. I could see the charred bodies of children and adults still in the burnt bed. On the side of the dhopa quarter and by the side of the road, I saw another freshly dug shallow mass grave. I could see the feet and hands of children and adults sticking out from the grave trying to tell the entire world what did happen to them. All people who passed by saw this terrible sight and shook their heads in utter disbelief. After a long and tiring walk, I came to Shahbag Hotel (now IPGMR). The building (hotel) was intact. I looked at Dhaka Radio Station. No sign of devastation. Although, there was heavy military guards including tanks and armoured vehicles around the radio station. There was no damage to Inter-Continental Hotel (now Sheraton Dhaka). Then I came to the office of the daily newspaper ‘The People.’ My friend Obaid was a sub-editor with the ‘People.’ Naturally I went to find his whereabouts. What I saw was disbelieving. The entire office of the ‘People’ along with a few more shop houses was burnt to ashes. The place was still smoldering. When I went a little closer. I saw many dead bodies burnt like charcoal. They were absolutely unrecognisable. Only the shape says that they were human. The area was filled with the smell of burnt flesh (like barbecue smell). I do not know the fate of Obaid. But until today I never heard anything about him. So I assume that he was burnt alive in that inferno. I came out from the ruins of the ‘People.’ As I was walking past the fashionable Sakura Restaurant (I am not sure if the restaurant is still in business or not) a car suddenly stopped near me. I was astonished to see my father, mother, and sisters all inside the car. My mother and sisters were weeping. My father asked me to get inside the car. My mother simply hugged me and started to cry loudly. I asked my father what had happened. My father said they were simply fortunate to be alive. Then he told me that we were all going to Dhanmondi to stay with our grandfather. My mother told me that she never expected to see me again as they heard that the army had killed each and every student in the residential halls. Soon we arrived at my grand father’s house. My grandfather was simply happy to see us alive. We ate some food. Then my mother narrated their fateful night of the 25th March. So this was how it happened at our home on March 25, 1971. The recount was based on what I did hear from my mother. Round about midnight everyone in our house woke up with noises of heavy vehicles, people marching on boots, loud shouting, bright lights and some more gunfire. At first they erroneously believed that it must be a victory celebration. That was because just before every one went to sleep, there were rumours that Yahya Khan had agreed to transfer power to Mujib. However, when my folks opened the window they couldn’t believe what they saw. It was shocking to see that the entire Nakhalpara area had been cordoned off by armoured military trucks. The soldiers with rifles and machine guns were running all over the place. Also, there were very bright searchlights all around. My family also noticed jeeps mounted with machine guns very close to our house. Naturally everyone was frightened. Being nervous my mother started praying without loosing any time. A few minutes later they heard a loud banging in our front door. They were at loss not knowing what to do. My father picked up the courage and opened the entrance door. Four soldiers with pointed rifle immediately entered our lounge. They asked everyone to line up in the lounge. So, my father, my younger brother, my brother in-law, my four sisters, nephew and niece and my mother all obliged by lining up in the crammed space. All of them were shivering in hot March night. Then one of the soldiers separated the males from the females. The males were ordered to remain in the lounge. All the females including my mother were ordered in the bedroom nearby. At that stage my mother started crying and fell down on the knees of the soldiers for their mercy. The soldiers simply dragged her to the bedroom. One soldier guarded the males while the other guarded the female quarter. The two other soldiers then started ransacking each and every item in every room including the food in the kitchen. They even examined the newspapers and other documents even though they did not understand a single word of Bangla. One of the soldiers then found the shotgun that my father had always had with him. I have seen that shot gun since my birth. It was licensed and completely legal. I have seen my father going for hunting with his favourite shotgun every once in a while when time permits. The soldier who found the shotgun came immediately to the male captives. He demanded to know whose shotgun was that. My father calmly replied in broken Urdu that he was the lawful owner of the gun. The soldier then pointed his automatic rifle at my father and ordered him to follow him downstairs. My father knew that he had only a few minutes to live. At that stage my younger brother stood between the rifle and my father and requested the soldier that he wants to accompany my father. The soldier became furious at the insolence shown by my brother. The soldier threw my brother on the floor and started pushing my father with his rifle towards the exit door. My father then requested the soldier to look at the license of the shotgun. But alas, the soldier could neither read nor understand the English language. So the soldier said that he had to call his officer. Another army man was called to guard while he went outside looking the for the officer. After about fifteen minutes the soldier returned with the officer. My father was not sure what was the rank of the officer. Thank God! The officer was not as brute as the lower ranking jawan. The officer showed little bit of courtesy for my elderly father. He asked my father to take a seat so that he could examine the document. After a thorough examination the officer then asked my father why he had not surrendered his weapon to police station. My father replied that there was no directive to that effect. The officer then rebuked my father for being so stupid to keep the weapon in the house when there were so many miscreants in the area. My father agreed with him and asked for his forgiveness. The officer then said that my father’s life will be spared but they will have to confiscate the shotgun. Then he started interrogating every one on various matters including our religion and political affiliation. My father became the spokesman. He answered what the army men wanted to hear. That we are all Muslims and we have no connection with the Awami League or any pro-freedom party etc., etc. The officer then asked my father how many sons he had. My father replied two. He inquired about the whereabouts of his sons. My younger brother identified himself. He told the officer that he had finished his HSC and waiting to go to EPUET (now BUET). The officer then asked my father about me. My father replied that I was about to graduate from EPUET. The army officer then demanded to know why I was not at home. At that point my father could guess the real reason these army people are barging into our home. He carefully said that I was very studious and I preferred to study with my friends. So I did not come home for a few days. The army officer then started to note down all the details about me and told my father that as soon as I returned home he (my father) must contact him through telephone. I was simply lucky that my father did not disclose the University residential hall that I was staying. The officer then warned my father not to leave our house as they may come to investigate again. My father said no problem. Throughout this ordeal, my brother-in-law did not talk much because he was actively involved in NAP politics! When the interrogation of the male members was complete the officer then entered the bedroom to view his female captives. Needless to say, my mother feared what might happen to her daughters. My eldest sister was a schoolteacher. My next two sisters were college going and only my youngest sister was still in her childhood. My mother was so hysterical that she kneeled down to the two soldiers and begged them that whatever they wanted to do let them take her daughters out of her sight. The soldiers were simply laughing and taunting my mother and sister with abusive language and accusing them of being pro Awami League. They told my sisters that very soon they would take them to cantonment. At that stage my eldest sister picked up some courage and told them in pidgin (in broken) Urdu that they cannot simply do that without a warrant of arrest. The soldiers laughed heartily hearing the response from my sister and said that they were not police. They were army and they could do whatever they wanted. Luckily, at that point the army officer entered the bedroom. My sister asked the army officer why they were being harassed. The officer told my sister that he had information that there were many miscreants in our area. Their duty was to catch these miscreants and take them to cantonment for punishment. He then told my sister that he had found us very gentle, polite and cooperative and so he will let all of us go free this time. But he wanted to let everyone know that they will come again. At last he showed some respect to my mother by apologising to her and saying good bye to her in chost Urdu. But before the officer departed he whispered something to his recruits. The two soldiers then forced my elder sister to open the steel Almirah (Safety box) . They took all the money and the jewelry that were there for safekeeping. Thus, in a hurry we lost most of our valuables. After almost 36 hours the curfew was lifted for 6 hours. My family members heard the wailing sound of bereavement all around the area. The Pakistan army had taken many people from Nakhalpara area to cantonment that night. Most of those taken were young students. It was a sheer miracle that my family members were spared. None were taken to the cantonment. It is not known how many of those unfortunate people lost their lives because until today their whereabouts are not known. Be that as it may, most of them never returned home. All the residents of Nakhalpara realised that the area was absolutely unsafe to stay. Therefore, most residents left Nakhalpara almost barefooted with only the clothes they were wearing. My family also followed the suit. They also left Nakhalpara immediately after the curfew was lifted. From grapevine we heard that Dhanmondi was a safe area. So we went to our grandpa’s house over there in to seek refuge and secrecy. A few days later we heard the dreadful news from Chittagong. Two of my uncles were killed in Agrabad Railway colony in a military operation similar to the one the army did in Nakhalpara operation. The army call those “Mop Up Operation.” To us, the Bangalees those operation was akin to serving the death notice or something similar to that. After few weeks my younger brother secretly ventured to Nakhalpara to see in his own eyes the condition of our homestead. To his horror he found that everything including a bag of rice had been removed or stolen. So we became destitute right away. But that did hardly dampened our spirit. We knew we were not alone in this struggle. Life became Durbishoho (I can’t find an appropriate synonym in English). It was an struggle every day for the rest of the nine-month period. For the last 29 years I have always wondered why the army had targeted our house and our family. It had always been a mystery to me. Now I have some clue to that question after such a long period of time. Ashrafuzzaman Khan (the then member of the central committee of the Islami Chatra Sangha ) used to live at Nakhalpara. This piece of information I got from the Internet. As I write this re-count, I learnt that 100 new ‘killing fields’ have been discovered all around Bangladesh. Was I surprised? No, not at all! However, what surprised me the most was why did it take so long? Why did we have to wait almost 30 years to know that innocent folks were butchered just as cattle? Rest assured that many more killing fields will be found. The killing fields of Cambodia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Afghanistan, etc., will be nothing when compared to the killing fields in Bangladesh. Let us not forget these killing fields. Let us not forget the sacrifice of 3 million people who shed enough blood to change the verdure of monsoon drenched land of Bengal. They certainly gave their lives so that we can enjoy the fruits of freedom. Freedom from the tyranny of Punjabi masters and P

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