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Dhaka Tribune

Alubdi massacre still to be recognised

Update : 14 Dec 2013, 07:44 PM

Mozammel Haque Tarafdar was chatting over tea with several fellow tea-sippers at a wayside snack joint of Alubdi in Mirpur, when this correspondent quietly stepped in. It was a bright morning and there was an air of excitement inside the little tin-shack.

The topic of their discussion, it turned out, surrounded the Thursday’s execution of war crimes convict Abdul Quader Molla famously known as Mirpurer Koshai (Butcher of Mirpur). The speakers, while elated at the news of his death penalty, appeared to be in two minds about the war crimes verdicts still awaiting execution.

“I lost everything in the war and it took almost 43 years for the government to ensure justice. A little too long for that, don’t you think?” said Mozammel, a 64-year-old war survivor.

“I saw my house gutted down in front of my own eyes and we had to flee in order to save ourselves. The whole village was burnt on that fateful day. When I came back in mid-1972, there were only ashes and hardly identifiable remnants of my former house once located there.”

Asked about the initiatives taken to officially recognise the place, Mozammel seemed little interested and said there was little point in doing that after more than 42 years had lapsed since the war of liberation.

The Alubdi village – the infamous site where about 400 unarmed civilians were killed in an attack launched by the Pakistani occupation force and aided by Quader Molla – is yet to be recognised as a killing field. Quader was found guilty in six charges of crimes against humanity including the Alubdi massacre, in which he had been given a life sentence.

The name of the village was not included in the list of 204 mass-murder sites prepared by the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs. Another list, prepared by the Liberation War Museum, has no mention of it either.

While visiting the village, this correspondent failed to trace any plaque or monument that could remind visitors of the horrific killings that took place there. The fact of the incident was a common knowledge locally, but villagers say an official recognition at this point of time meant little to them.

Mozammel Haque Mia, another villager, said he had not heard anything about the initiative to honour the place. “What happened in our village was discussed mostly at the war crimes tribunal and international arena. Everyone knows it as the largest mass killing field, but neither the government nor any private organisation ever felt the urge to do anything about it.”

“After the war, we built up our village from scratch, literally from ashes. No one helped us and we don’t need any help either. A perfunctory recognition, or signboard or something like this, means nothing for us,” he added.

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