These mass graves and killing fields are hard to locate now as they are almost lost, due to a lack of effort to preserve these sites
Rasulpur mass killing ground in Comilla—where at least 500 people were forced to dig their own graves before they were killed during the War of Liberation in 1971— is regrettably losing its place in the tragic history of independent Bangladesh.
As the country is about to set foot in its 49th anniversary, this correspondent visited the lone war memorial which was built on the mass killing ground in Rasulpur, a village some five kilometres south from the district town in Comilla.
The memorial does not bear the names of fallen martyrs and lacked a hoisted national flag, an altar and a boundary wall.
Six among the eight solar lights installed at the memorial are out of order while the forlorn tiles of the memorial monument bear witness of neglect.
Mofizul Islam, 65, said he was a farmer during the Liberation War and recollected the Pakistan Army’s brutality at the killing ground in 1971.
"My house is located near the mass killing ground. I have witnessed how young men and women were murdered at the spot.
"First they were ordered to dig graves. Before shooting, the youths were made to stand facing west. After the shot was fired they were kicked into the grave.
“The bodies were not covered with soil properly. One could see dogs tearing apart organs from the buried bodies and taking it from place to place," added Mofizul.
Abu Salek Md Selim, a professor at the Comilla Sonar Bangla College, said soon after the independence, locals could see bones, skulls, and bullet shells while passing by the killing ground in Rasulpur.
"Although the government built a monument, we failed to ensure proper honour for the martyrs killed at the ground. Programs could be arranged on the killing ground on the country's Victory Day and Independence Day.
This would have been helpful to make locals, especially children, aware of the significance of the killing ground and the spirit of the War of Liberation."
Expressing sincere sentiment for the martyrs of the killing ground, Comilla District Freedom Fighter Commander Safiul Ahmed Babul said: "I would ask the authorities to recruit a cleaner and a security guard for the killing ground so that locals cannot use the place as they please.
"The memorial needs to bear the names of the martyrs and police patrol should be increased in the area," freedom fighter Saiful added.
Around 3,000,000 people were brutally killed by the Pakistani forces during the nine months of the Liberation War in 1971. The killing of so many people within such a small period of time left bodies dumped and buried in hundreds of mass graves and killing fields across the country.
These mass graves and killing fields are hard to locate now as they are almost lost, due to a lack of effort to preserve these sites. Many martyrs were buried or thrown in the marshes, canals, and rivers after being killed, or were burnt alive.