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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

No bar to conserving mass killing field at Pahartali

Update : 04 Mar 2014, 08:55 PM

The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court yesterday delivered a verdict to conserve the mass killing field at Pahartali in Chittagong.

The four-member top court bench headed by Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha passed the ruling on an appeal lodged by eight distinguished citizens including Prof Zafar Iqbal and Prof Gazi Saleh Uddin.

Additional Attorney General Murad Reza told the Dhaka Tribune there was no bar to conserve the place of much execution during the  Liberation War in 1971.

Sheikh Hasina government in 1998 started the process of conserving the land, he added.

“The apex court only declared -appeal allowed with observation. The details can only be known after release of the full text of the verdict,” said Murad.

The lawyer of the appellant ,Manzill Murshid told the Dhaka Tribune the government could take steps to preserve the place.

Prof Gazi Saleh Uddin, of Sociology department at Chittagong University, said over  five thousand people had been killed in the field on November 10, 1971.

On that day, his father and three other family members had been killed by the collaborators of the Pakistani army, he said.

Murshid said: “Erstwhile premier Sheikh Hasina in 1998 decided to acquire 1.75 acre land and allotted 94 lakhs for implementing the project. But the BNP led government in 2005 cancelled the project which prompted the eight citizens to challenge the decision of writ petition through High Court.”

But the HC on January 16, 2011 disposed of the petition but did not overturn the then four party alliances’ government decision.

Then the eight lodged an appeal with the Appellate Division against the HC verdict.

The court yesterday cancelled the BNP governments’ decision and paved the way for preserving the field, he said.

During the hearing, the apex court ordered the government to form a committee to ensure the position of the mass killing field.

The government formed a committee headed by Major General (retd) KM Shafiullah, one of the sector commanders in 1971.

Shahriar Kabir, a member of the committee, said according to the description of the eye witnesses, over ten thousand persons were killed in 1971 in the field.

It would be the biggest mass killing field in the country, he said.

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