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Untried crimes against humanity: Golahat genocide

GolaRN Desk: The Golahat genocide, a horrific crime against humanity, committed by the Pakistani occupation forces with the Behari collaborators on June 13 in 1971 at Syedpur township of Nilphamari, still remains untried.

The Pakistani occupation forces with their collaborators killed 437 Marwari and Hindu people including men, women, children and girls on the day.

Relatives of these martyrs still tremble while narrating the
genocide. Talking to RN Reporter on the spot, Nironjan Kumar Agarwala
Niju, 52, son of a Golahat genocide martyr Rameswar Lal Agarwala,
one of the eyewitnesses, narrated the killings and named some war
criminals.

While narrating the genocide at Golahat in presence of Syedpur Upazila Muktijoddha Commander Ekramul Haque and its former Commander Zikrul Haque, Niju, who lost nine family members including father, could not control their tears.

“The then Muslim League leader and peace committee Chairman Izahar Ahmed, his brother Nesar Ahmed, NSF leader Tawqir Ahmed Kennedy and others led the genocide,” Niju said.

Led by these Beharis, the occupation forces caught 185 Marwari and Hindu males and took them to Syedpur Cantonment on June 1 in 1971 as hostages and engaged them in earth works at Syedpur Airport. On June 12 in 1971, Major Gul hatched a cheating plan informing the hostages that they would be sent to India through the bordering Haldibari rail station.

“Accordingly, the killers took them to Syedpur station by trucks at about 5 to 6 am on June 13, asked them to go homes and come back with family members to go to India by train,” Niju said.

The frightened hostages went homes and 447 persons including
housewives, children, daughters, sisters and other family members
returned soon.

“The killers closed all doors and windows after pouring males
into two bogies and females with children into two other bogies
before the train started very slowly at about 6 to 7 am from
Syedpur station,” Niju said.

Niju followed the train that stopped at Golahat culvert at
Syedpur Township when local villagers soon went into hiding
inside the bushes there.

“I saw the killers opening doors, forcibly taking hostages
one by one including women and children out and stabbing them to
deaths with sharp weapons and bayonets,” he said.

As the minor children were crying, the killers murdered them
by throwing on to the metallic rail lines and some of them into
the air and keeping the bayonets under them while falling, Niju
added. And thus, 437 Marwari and Hindu people embraced martyrdoms
there when 10 others could escape by breaking windows of some
bogies.

“My mother Shanti Devi, 78, failed to aboard the train to
survive, now lives like a dead person and expresses her
dissatisfaction as the war criminals’ trial is yet to be
completed,” Niju said.

Former lawmaker Alim Uddin, freedom fighter Salah Uddin Beg,
Shomsher Ali Bosunia, Professor Moslem Uddin Ahmed, Shamsul Huda
Kadam and many others could not control emotions while narrating
the deadliest Golahat genocide. “The Beharis led by peace
committee chairman Izahar Ahmed killed my father, cut off his
head and brought out a ‘victory’ procession with the head in
Syedpur,” emotional Salah Uddin Beg said.

Syedpur Muktijoddha Commander Ekramul Haque said his office
submitted list of 84 living war criminals of Syedpur to the
International Crimes Tribunal more than two years back, but none
was arrested so far.

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