Ever since Bharat’s independence & partition, persecution of Hindu minorities in the Islamic nations of Pakistan and Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) has continued unabated. Mass killings of Hindus peaked in 1971 in East Pakistan as it sought to separate itself from Pakistan to become the independent nation of Bangladesh.
The Pakistan Army spread out from Dhaka and massacred people (majorly Hindus) in the name of ‘Operation Searchlight’. The Demra massacre is said to be the largest genocide at a single location.
The Demra Hindu massacre took place on May 13, 1971. The Pakistan occupation army (POA) aided by their local collaborators descended on Pabna District’s Demra Union in Faridpur Upazila. The army and their collaborators entered the villages of Rupsi and Baushgari located in the Demra Union through the Boral River. They then cordoned off both the villages before proceeding to unleash terror.
According to locals, the Razakars and the occupation army selected the two villages because they were Hindu majority. Additionally, a large number of Hindus, who were fleeing to Bharat from Bangladesh to escape persecution at the hands of the Pakistani army, had taken shelter in the two villages.
Pakistani soldiers and their local collaborators let loose a reign of terror resorting to indiscriminate killings, rape, arson, and loot. Late at night on May 13, males of the Hindu families were dragged out and made to queue up outside their homes and were made to look on as the Pakistan Occupation Army brutally raped their mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters. The POA then shot them all dead.
350 people were killed that night in Baushgari alone and 800-900 in the whole of Demra. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that Demra was turned into a graveyard. The bodies were buried in a single grave the next morning by the surviving villagers. This is but one in a series of such massacres carried out by the POA and Razakars. POA collaborator, a Razakar identified as Asad led the former to the Baushgari village on that fateful night.
The International Crimes Tribunal probe team identified Jamaat leader Motiur Rahman Nizami as the mastermind behind several 1971 massacres including the Demra and Santhia ones. The Sayed Rejaur Rahman-led 11-member team traveled to the various districts in November 2010 to interview war crime witnesses.
“In the investigation, we learned that in 1971 some eight to nine hundred innocent people were killed in Demra in a day and another 21 in Dhulauri”, The Daily Star report quotes one of the team members Md Abdur Razzak as saying.
Nizami was given capital punishment for 1971 war crimes and hanged to death at a Dhaka prison in May 2016. While we can’t say whether that is justice enough, it is hoped that the survivors and the descendants of the victims would get some semblance of closure.
(Featured Image Source: The Daily Star)
I am a proud HINDU