DHAKA: Agriculture Minister Dr Mohammad Abdur Razzaque, MP, today said the farmers in the meantime harvested 90 percent Boro paddy…
GOPALGANJ: It was 9 in the morning on May 19 of 1971, when the Pakistani occupation troops, guided by their Bengali speaking
cohorts, approached a local government office at the Pikerdanga union on the outskirts of this tinny southwestern town. Their target was visibly specific
– two junior revenue department officials.
They dragged the local land office ‘tahshildar’ and the assistant tahshildar away from their office, tortured them to an extent that they suffer extreme pain and subsequently shot them dead.
The fact that exposed Tahshildar Abu Motaleb Mian and Assistant Tahshildar Mir Abul Kashem to their fate was – they put in their all out efforts to mobilize the people in the neighbourhood for the liberation of Bangladesh
after the March 25 black night crackdown by Pakistani army.
Forty eight years after their martyrdom, the grave of these two patriots were rediscovered to officially honour them through installing plaques, acknowledging their supreme sacrifice for the country.
“Two of our colleagues’ had embraced martyrdom for the country forty eight years ago . . . today we took measures for conserving their graves coming to
know that they are laid to their eternal rest here,” Gopalganj’s deputy commissioner Mokhlesur Rahman Sarkar said unveiling the plaques on June 21.
Along with other officials of the district, people in neighbourhood and local public representatives, Sarkar also prayed for their eternal peace and said if the grave of any other unidentified freedom fighters were found
undetected in the district, steps would be taken for their preservation as well.
Talking to BSS later, Sarkar said he came to know about the sacrifices of Motaleb Miah and Abul Quashem at a revenue conference, which prompted the district administration to take the initiative to preserve their graves.
Motaleb Miah was the son of Noimuddin Miah of Lohair village under Moksudpur Upazila of the then Gopalganj sub-division while Abul Quashem was the son of Alhaj Mir Tafiz Uddin of Kumarbhog village of Lawhajong upazila of
the then Munshiganj sub-division.
Elderly people in the neighbourhood recalled that Motaleb Miah used to live at the Tahsil office building along with his pregnant wife and a two-year-old son while Abul Quashem used to live along with his wife and eight kids at a rented house in the village.
Freedom fighter Aiyub Ali Khan, a resident of Pikerdanga, said Motaleb Miah and Abul Kashem devoted them in organizing the Liberation War by mobilizing
local youths through small group meetings, which soon earned wraths of the anti-liberation elements and local razakars.
“Almost every day these two government officials used to hold meetings with youths at different yards of local households . . . two infamous razakars of neighbouring Shuktail Kuthi Bari came to know about their activities through their agents in Pikerdanga,” Aiyub Ali said.
Ayub recalled that the razakars in turn reached the information to the Pakistani troops, who by boat crossed the Modhumoti river and entered Pikerdanga where they also killed several innocent people including a 60-
year-old widow sister of village chief Sitanath Sarkar on their way to the Tahshil office.
On their way back as well, the Pakistani troops sprayed gunshots from their automatic weapons leaving many dead and wounded, set afire the households and
also destroyed a Hindu temple near the Tahsil office.
After the brutal killing of Motaleb Miah, his wife Momtaz Begum left Paikerdanga for Gopalganj Sadar along her son Sajjad Parvej and later gave birth to their daughter during the war.
Kashem’s wife Rehana Begum went to Faridpur with the help of the local people where she educated her children Mir Abul Quayum, late Nazma Soheli, Mir Abul Kaisar, Nazneen Sohely, Mir Abul Kayes, Ivy Ahmed now, Shaila
Shameem – several of them are now living a dignified life at home and abroad.
But their youngest daughter Kumkum died at the age of one and a half year within a month of her father’s martyrdom due to starvation and lack of
Motaleb Miah’s name was officially enlisted in the freedom fighter’s gazette by the Ministry of the Liberation War Affairs but unfortunately the name of Mir Abul Quashem is yet to be enlisted as martyred freedom fighter.
Quashem’s family urged Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to intervene into the matter for immediate enlistment of his name as a martyred freedom fighter.