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Mosque bears horrific memories of 1971

Soon after the crackdown by the Pakistan army on the unarmed people of Bangladesh on the black night of March 25 in 1971, the occupation forces started raiding at different places across the country.

But people of Pabna never imagined that the Pakistani forces would launch their first attack in the district during a gathering at a namaz-e-janaza.

The horrific incident occurred on March 27, two days after the crackdown, when people of Gobinda, Krishnapur and other adjacent areas in Pabna town were attending a namaz-e-janaza in front of the Gobinda Mosque, now known as Al-Amin Mosque, to pay homage to Shukur Ali, a resident of Gobinda village.

Shukur, a supporter of Awami League (AL), was killed during a clash on March 25, 1971.

The occupation troops numbering eight to ten reached the mosque premises and opened fire on the innocent people while they were attending Shukur’s namaz-e-janaza after the Asr prayer, defying the countrywide curfew on that day.

The firing left Abdus Samad, an inhabitant of neighbouring Krishnapur village, dead and eight to ten, including the Imam of the prayer, others bullet-hit.

People of Pabna still remember the day and also demand to preserve the memory of the incident for the future generation. 

“Local people, who joined Shukur Ali’s namaz-e-janaza, never imagined that the Pakistani troops would attack on a janaza prayer,” Freedom Fighter Robiul Islam, also an eye witness of the incident told the Daily Star.

“Before I can guess what was going on, I found Abdus Samad, who was standing beside me during the janaza prayer lying in a pool of blood,” added, Robiul, also a writer and senior journalist.

Samad died on the spot while Moulana Ibrahim Khalil, imam of the prayer, and some others including Badiuzzaman and Akkas Ali received bullet injuries in the firing, he said, adding that almost all the injured victims, however, died carrying the bullet wounds of that day.

“A day after the incident, some villagers recovered Shukur Ali’s decomposed body from the mosque premises and buried at his house yard secretly,” Shukur’s cousin Abdul Bari Baki said.

“The incident was not massive compared to other massacres during the Liberation War, but its intensity is beyond imagination,” Baki said.

He also lamented for not taking any necessary steps to preserve the memory of the incident for the future generation.

According to local freedom fighters, it was the first attack in the district by the occupation forces.

“We were running here and there when the firing started. Later, me and my brother Abdur Rashid found our father’s bullet-hit body near the mosque,” martyred Samad’s son Advocate Shawkat Ali said.

My father, a small trader and who had no link with politics, was the first man in the district town to embrace martyrdom, Shawkat said.

Reference