1971: Oppression, repression and repel

Mukther Hossain
During the great Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971, I had been serving as Chief Medical Officer in a tea garden named Ruthna Tea Estate. It is situated in Goalbari Union of Kulaura police station in Moulvibazar district. I started my first professional career as a physician there in 1964. I stayed there up to the middle of June 1971.

I was able to build a good reputation among the people of that area as an experienced and veteran physician. Till today the old workers and the local old people remember me as their benevolent friend and a well wisher.

Due to my earnest passion for Bangali nationalism and for my strong support to the Liberation War, I provided medical treatment and medicine to the injured freedom fighters as well the members of their families. I felt joy, satisfaction and happiness within myself for performing such type of sacred tasks for the sake of my motherland.

I tried to do it secretly, but somehow it was exposed. The general manager and the factory in charge, Abdul Bari, one day summoned me and sternly rebuked and warned me not to provide any medical service to the freedom fighters or their family members. He also advised me not to go outside the tea garden areas.

Afterwards, hearing an announcement on the radio about the exchange of currency notes, I went to the United Bank (now Janata Bank) at Juri on August 2, 1971. At about 10.30 am, I deposited the money in the cash counter and waited for the new currency notes. The day was Monday, and the manager and Mr Bari came in the bank to draw money for the weekly salary of the tea garden labourers. Seeing me in the bank, they and a Kabuli person insinuated me to a Pakistani army officer who was present in the bank. Within a moment that officer and his soldiers jumped on me like ferocious tigers that it looked had no food for a long time. Incessant kicks, slaps and punches were inflicted on me as rain. I fell on the floor of the bank and again they started kicking me with boots and hitting brutally with the butts of the guns. As a result of this violent barbarous attack, I became senseless. Afterwards, they dragged me from the ground floor to the first floor of the bank and dropped me on the floor. After a while, the army officer came and held the barrel of a rifle over my chest. Speaking in Urdu, he asked me in a stern voice, “You have wireless, where is it? Where are the freedom fighters?” I replied, “I don’t know”. He grew very angry with my answer and again started kicking me with his boots and severely hitting my hands and legs with bayonet. Consecutively, same thing happened three times after about every half hour interval. Each time, a policeman who was with them rescued me from their attempt to kill me. I was floundering due to the anguish of the excruciating pain.

The condition inside the torture cell was horrible. After dragging me from the ground floor to the first floor, they left my senseless body on the floor like that of an animal. I felt no senses all over my body. Afterwards when I recovered, I felt by intuition and could see indistinctively that there were some dead bodies lying around me. The sound of moaning of the wounded, dying persons was horrifying. From a distance, I heard a low voice moaning “water, water”. By looking upwards, I felt panic. There were some dead bodies hanging from the ceiling. I was startled by seeing a hanging dead body whose scull was broken, drops of blood and brain were dripping on the floor. Many blood strains were seen around the concrete walls. I do not have any more words to describe this brutal scene.

I was closed to being killed at least three times. There was no possibility to escape from the death cell. As I later learned, a rumour had been spread in Somai and Putichara that I had been killed in the Pakistani army camp. Hearing the news of my arrest and death, the manager of Kapnaphar Tea Garden, the forest officer of Putichara forest range and a local person Abdul Matin rushed to the bank. Then with all of their request and earnest efforts, especially that of Mostafizur Rahman who was that time the manager of that bank in Juri, I could come out from that torture cell.

After my release, I took rest at Putichara for several days. Then after overcoming several constrains, I reached my village home at Kolapahar in Munshigonj district with my family. Then, after getting training, I joined the Liberation War of Bangladesh.

The writer is a freedom fighter and can be reached at email:



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