Newly elected joint general secretary of the ruling Awami League Mahbub-ul-Alam Hanif said that as a messenger of Bangladesh Liberation Front (BLF) he was arrested as well as released by the Pakistani occupation army near his village home in Bheramara district in mid-August.
“I was at my teens as I was a student of class-VIII only then when I along with my family joined the war of liberation in 1971 at the call of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Though I was not involved in direct fight with the Pakistani occupation forces with arms, I used to carry messages from the nearest freedom fighters’ recruiting camp located at Shikarpur in Nadia district in West Bengal intruding 32 kilometres inside our occupied motherland riding on a bi-cycle,” he said.
Hanif added that he was instructed to carry messages to the freedom fighters at the camp in India on the other side of Bangladesh on the latest position of the Pakistani occupation forces inside the occupied district of Bheramara. “Our family left for India from our house at Pakshey at the end of April in 1971. My father was an official of Railway in Pakshey junction then. Firstly, we took shelter in Bheramara sub-divisional headquarters a few days after the Pakistani occupation forces’ crackdown on the sleeping Bangalees on March 25 in 1971. As we heard that a contingent of the Pak army had already crossed the river Padma and was marching gradually towards Bheramara, we crossed the border and took refuge at Shikarpur in Nadia district.
“Kushtia district Awami League leaders Zahurul Huq Raja Miah MP, Azizur Rahman Akkas and my father took the charge of Shikarpur freedom fighters’ (FFs) recruitment camp. There was a camp of guerrilla FFs nearby from which guerrilla warfare was conducted inside the occupied areas of Bangladesh. I was entrusted with the responsibilities to work as a messenger to convey the camp about the latest position of the Pak army as I was at my teens then. My elder bother Rashid-ul-Alam, district commander of BLF who was a former joint secretary of the establishment ministry, was the operational head of the camp.
“I was caught by a squad of Pak army on a day in mid-August when I was heading towards our home district from the nearest FF camp in Nadia on a bi-cycle to get some information of the occupation forces. When I was caught I saw the brutal Pak army had been killing people indiscriminately by using latest weapons and torching houses in villages one after another. Besides, I became mum and thunder-struck on hearing the groaning and agonising cries of girls and women who were raped by the savage occupation forces inside the nearby houses.
“However, I was lucky enough to be freed from the clutches of Pak army as one soldier, most probably from the Baluch regiment, became sympathetic towards me.
Recalling his fond memories of the war of liberation in his home district, Hanif said his elder brother BLF leader Rashid-ul-Alam suffered serious injuries in frontal fight with the Pakistani occupation forces when the freedom fighters liberated Bheramara on December 8 in 1971.
“But what we had experienced was that the anti-liberation forces usurped state power assassinating the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman along with most of his family members on the fateful night of August 15 in 1975 when Bangabandhu’s post-independence government had rebuilt the wars ravaged new-born nation with relentless efforts within just three and a half years,” Hanif said.
“The trail of the war criminals and their stooges must be completed on the sacred soil of Bangladesh if we want to establish the main spirit of the Liberation War.
Besides, we should also have to execute the Supreme Court verdict in Bangabandhu Murder Case to establish the rule of law in the country and stop once and for all the evil designs of the anti-liberation forces,” Hanif said with optimism.
(Interviewed by The Independent Staffer Pradip Sinha)