The bloods on the terraces, avenues, lanes, courtyards and the streets of East Pakistan started to pour profusely on the fateful night of the 24/25th March 1971. When the sudden burst fires of the machine gun, canons, tanks and rifles broke the silence of the night for the Bengalis. A tremendous shock, a fear of dying, the overwhelming sounds of the guns, continuous volleys of cannons and artilleries, the machine guns and rifles started to make the most vividest of all noises the Bengalis have not previously heard. The awakened up inhabitants of sleepy provincial capital city of Dhaka and its sub urban areas sprung out of bed with fear, anger, scared - with the never ending cries and barking of stray dogs just blanketed the population on that fateful night.
Indiscriminate killing rampage went on for all night, the loud speakers were announcing the proclamation of curfew and stranded the city dwellers in their houses, flats, slums and the killing of selective targets went for the rest of the night. The advancing Pakistan Army Juntas went inside the Dhaka University. Students Halls of studies, Medical College, Border Security Forces Head Quarters, the Police Barracks and the captured all the key point installations in the capital city.
A killing spree started by them - they killed scores of students in the university halls of studies, The Police barracks were over run and they made all the police disarmed and killed them in an open firing squad and the East Pakistan Rifles ( the border security forces) Head quarters were surrounded and unarmed them and butchered them lot like animals and left those carcasses and dead corpses to rot in the green grasses of Bengal with the red bloods of its own people.
The homeless people sleeping on the platforms of the railway stations, bus terminals and steamer pontoons started to run a-mock bewildered and disoriented with the ferocity of the noises of the tanks , military lorries and sound of the marching solderers on the paved roads with their pristinely polished nailed military short boots. Those overwhelmed people were all butchered right there on the spot and the. Bodies were left there to rot, decompose and perish.
The major and minor and city high streets were all burning to ashes they caught fire from incendiary bullets and the fire bombs and grenade blasts.
The military junta had it all well manicured plan to destroy the whole uprising and kill the nucleus of the movement for independence once for all with an all out comprehensive plan of an annihilation of the race all by itself.
The marching columns then started to inch into the ladies hostels of the universities and colleges, medical colleges, engineering university hostels, the nursing training dormitories and captured and looted and rounded up those thousands of Bengali girls and lady students and took them as their prisoner like a barbaric middle age period invasions - these Bengali ladies were taken to their barracks , make shift camps, check posts and tents and were brutally captivated and deliberately raped - raped with the orders from their senior planners to make sure all those captivated women are raped and impregnated so that in the next year or so the Bengali women give birth a batch of half caste children who would be the pure Pakistani by DNA - what a vicious plan of obliterating the identity of a nation a race and a nation state… the cries and the desperation to survive and their plea fell short on their barbarism amidst the noises of the gun fire, the stench of the human blood and the smell of the arson’s fire and the heavy air filled with the intoxicating odour of the pyrotechnics.
From midnight of 24/25 march 1971 till the first light the killing, raping, arson, bombing, looting, destruction of heritage and history continued and curfew for indefinite period was imposed whilst the barbaric army from the other cantonments from Comilla, Chittagong, Saidpur, Jessore started to venture out to the surrounding nearing district towns, sub divisional cities. Almost all the towns were captured and secured by the heinous Pakistani army before the last light of the 26th March.
Captivated the whole population in their homes, houses, flats and villages - children crying for baby food and milk. Emergency patients were crying for help - but the entire East Pakistan stood still for those tremulous hours and days.
Every city and towns and villages the army stopped they knew it all, well reconnoitred, well choreographed and as if rehearsed to find out the pockets of Hindus, Christians, Buddhist areas to kill those minorities like birds of prey. Where the identity of a muslim came down to so low that the circumcision was the only emblem of his religious beliefs. That was how derogatory life for all the inhabitants of the country stood. They stooped to the lowest of all dignity.
Pakistani muslim soldiers were brainwashed to believe that they are sent to East Pakistan to carry out a jihad and made them to believe that all muslims live in East Pakistan were lesser muslims than that of the West Pakistani muslims. Whilst the killers are chanting Allah Hu Akbar and the killed one’s or to be killed were reciting the verses from the book of the same Allah their killers are glamorising their act with. How ironic the fate can be!
The scared population, the fear of death, the starvation, the captivity in their own houses forced a mass exudes as soon as the curfew was lifted for a stipulated few hours. The cities, the towns and the urban were abandoned within hours by the majority of the population to seek solace in the remotest of villages. Taking unknown, unmapped country roads, tracks, by boats, rickshaws, bull carts, cycles and by foot. A mass evacuation of an ocean of people with their children, elderly parents, relatives, pregnant women, sick and ailing family members - many were stopped, checked id’s and faced abuses, young girls and women were taken away and many many more families caught off guard in their journey to escape ended in misery, death, forced abduction, sexual abuses, rapes and death.
In the mist of it all a section of the population came out from the cupboard of deceit and treachery and joined hands with those annihilators to facilitate the army reaching far and remotest corners of the country and tipped the army off to capture, kill and apprehend probable suspects who might be joining the resistance sooner or later.
The killing continued, the arson of villages after villages and towns after towns spread all over the country. Banks were looted by the army and their collaborators. The shops were open. Economy stood silent and the day labourers, government employees, the general public as a whole were facing the biggest challenge of their life.
Amidst those precarious moment and at every crucial juncture a flood gate was opened by the neighbouring country India were in excess of 10 million people poured in to save their soul. what a twist of fate those who poured into the Hindu majority with loads of trepidation, resentment and fear about the religious identity were so relieved to find that the Indian not only opened their borders for the East Pakistani population to enter ; they also welcomed them with wide open arms where the humanity was at it’s best - the religious identity was shelved into the back row of the issues.
Humiliation, rapes, the killings, the tortures, the annihilation of the Bengalis continued for 265 days and the Pakistan army and the Pakistan government in the name of keeping Pakistan intact on that flimsy thin line of religion. They did everything with the plan as to how to halt the Bengali speaking people’s aspiration and demand of an independent country - even if that amounts to a genocide and a replica of a Jewish holocaust in Germany just 25- 26 years ago.
The plan of annihilation and holocaust is ended on the day of our victory but no sense of a moral reparation is found anywhere in the minds of those perpetrators or their descendants as of today. Still trying to teach their own nation a falsified and concocted version of their past history of
Crime committed on the Bangladeshi population in 1971 and a false quest to make the world read a fabricated story of 1971.
An unconditional apology would perhaps would be enough to ease the pain. How long will it take for their conscience to come to its senses and accept the crime against the humanity that they committed in Bangladesh in 1971 and what will it take for the rest of the world to recognise the 25th March as an international genocide day?
a Writer & a Historian