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    Hefajat Mayhem in Brahmanbaria: A Wake-up Call for All

    Dr Mijanur Rahman | ২৩ জুন ২০২১ | ৬:১০ অপরাহ্ণ

    Hefajat Mayhem in Brahmanbaria: A Wake-up Call for All

    Whither Bangladesh? Those of us who hail from know it well that there was a time (not in the remote past) when the fanatic anti-liberation forces (such as the Jamatis) could not even hold a public meeting in Brahmanbaria for fear of public backlash from the pro-liberation forces. Their political meetings and discussions used to be held clandestinely or in the parlour of their own houses. But on March 26, 2021, the Hefajat activists and their leadership could stage a mayhem of unprecedented proportion. I doubt even if Brahmanbaria and its freedom-loving people had witnessed such a devastation in 1971.
    The sacred soil of Brahmanbaria is still soaked with the blood of many
    martyrs. It was Brahmanbaria which had to endure the first onslaught of
    Pak army’s air attack on Bangladesh’s liberated areas in mid-April,
    1971. Brahmanbaria had had a heavy concentration of freedom fighters even
    before the libreartion war got effectively organised. Valiant freedom
    fighters like Khaled Mosarraf, Haider were then stationed in Brahmanbaria
    with their own contingent of Bengali troops and freedom fighters who had
    already joined hands with them. The memory of those days is still vivid in my mind.
    It was possibly mid-April. The Pak army in heavy formation was advancing
    towards Brahmanbaria from Comilla Cantonment. At Uzani Shahar Bridge on Chittagong-Sylhet highway (Uzani Shahar became famous across the country through the publicity it received during the liberation war over Shwadhin Bangla Betar
    Kendra), the advancing Pak army faced first resistance after advancing
    about forty miles out of Comilla Cantonment. Overrunning the ill-equipped
    freedom fighters, the Pak army continued advancing toward Brahmanbaria.
    While the freedom fighters were engaging themselves in front-fighting at Uzani
    Shahar, some four sabre jets from Pakistan Air Force strafed
    Brahmanbaria to facilitate Pak army’s advance into Brahmanbaria town.
    Bombing was conducted in a number of soirees. There were a few civilian
    casualties from the bombings. Entering the town, the Pak army resorted to
    indiscriminate killings, looting, arson, and rape. I nurtured to
    consciousness many raped victims. The whole town was set ablaze, and
    smoke bellowing out of the burned-down houses and buildings could be seen
    even twenty miles from the town.   This way the people of Brahmanbaria
    made solid contribution to the War of Independence at the very nascent
    stage of our liberation war.

    During the war, many local intellectuals were kidnapped by the Pak army
    and their collaborators – Razakars and Al-badrs. They were massacred at Kuruliar
    Khal, which is Dhaka’s Rayer Bazaar where many intellectuals were killed.
    During the war Brahmanbaria lost its own history and entity. The
    Pakistani administration renamed it Rahman Baria to Islamise it
    (Brahmanbaria is a Hindu name).
    As Brahmanbaria borders India, its whole border-belt from Salada
    Nadi (also became famous for its being a bloody battlefield during the
    war; at Kullapathar, near Shalda Nadi there is war cemetery where many
    unknown freedom fighters are in eternal sleep) to Telia Para (another
    famous battlefield) turned into an active battlefield during the Liberation War. Innumerable freedom fighters, civilians, and freedom-loving people laid down their lives. Besides, as it was a battlefront, the people of Brahmanbaria had to live under constant threat and  endure the trauma of the war. There are many heroic sagas of sacrifice. One or two example will suffice. One Hamdu Mian, a college student, was a freedom fighter. The Razakars captured his father, Kaptan Master (Kaptan Sir), and demanded that his freedom fighter
    son be brought, or he (Kaptan Sir) be killed. When Hamdu heard  that his
    father would be released if he produced himself before the Razakars at
    Kasba army camp, he (Hamdu) surrendered himself to the Razakars. The
    Razakars killed Hamdu and released his father.
    At the fag end of the war in early December, Brahmanbaria had to bear
    the brunt of a full-scale war. Akhaura, only eight miles from
    Brahmanbaria, was the main battle ground where the Pak army fought the
    allied army and the Mukti Bahini. The defeated Pak army retreated through
    Brahmanbaria Town, and  before retreating they caused colossal damage to
    life, property, and infrastructure. The retreating Pak army abandoned two
    of their tanks at Brahmanbaria, one of them was preserved at the local
    Niaz Park as a symbol of the sacrifice the people of Brahmanbaria had made
    during the war. Besides, a war memorial in sacred memory of the martyred freedom
    fighters of Brahmanbaria is erected at the Niaz Park. The memorial,
    situated at the scenic and serene Niaz Park, will eternalise the
    sacrifice the people of Brahmanbaria had made for our freedom.
    This is Brahmanbaria that reverberates with numerous sagas of our
    heroic freedom struggle. But it is ironic that before the blood of our valiant
    martyrs dries up, the long hands of the killer-collaborators have outstretched their
    claws to tarnish its history. We have the reason to fear that the day may not be far when these
    fanatic forces will lay their ominous hand on Bangladesh and sovereign entity.
    Wake up, our freedom-loving People – it is the time to rise from our
    slumber to resist those ominous forces before it is too late.



    Dr Mijanur Rahman is the Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Brahmanbaria
                   

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