1971 Dhaka University massacre

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Monument in honour of those killed at Dhaka University. Located at Mol Chottor DU

Dhaka University was the centre for development of Independence of Bangladesh. Dhaka University greatly contributed to the liberation of Bangladesh.

In March 1971, the Pakistani Armed Forces chief General Yahya Khan and the politician Zulfikar Ali Bhutto launched Operation Searchlight to demolish the independence demand of East Bengalis.

Black night of 25 March 1971[edit]

The Pakistani army convoy that attacked Dhaka University on 25 March 1971 included 18 Panjabi, 22 Beluch, 32 Panjabi regiment and several battalions. Armed with heavy weapons such as tanks, automatic rifles, rocket launchers, heavy mortar, light machine gun, they encircled Dhaka University from east (unit 41), from south (unit 88) and from north (unit 26).[1]

Massacre of teachers[edit]

Martyred Intellectuals' Memorial at Rayerbazar, Dhaka.

At the beginning of Operation Searchlight 10 teachers of Dhaka University were killed.[2]

Professor Fajllur Rahman and his two relatives were killed at building 23 situated at Nilkhet. Professor Rahman’s wife escaped because she was not in the country. Pakistani army also attacked the house of Professor Anwar Pasha and Professor Rashidul Hassan (English Department). Both of them survived by hiding under beds, but were killed later on the verge of war by Al-Badar militia.[3] Professor Rafiqul Islam of Bangla literature department was at building 24. Two wounded women with their children stayed in the entrance of the building for some time. When the army came they found blood on the stairs and, surmising that other groups had done the massacre, left. This way Professor Rafiqul escaped. Later he stated that there had been one East Pakistani professor at that building, who left home before 25 March. All other non-Bengali families did the same without informing others.[4]

At Number 12 Fuller Road, the army called on Sayed Ali Noki (Professor Social Science). They allowed him to go but killed Professor Abdul Muktadir (Geology) who was a resident of the same building. His body was found at Jahurul Huq Hall (then Iqbal Hall). He was buried at Paltan by his relatives. Professor K. M. Munim (English Literature), the house tutor of Salimullah Student Hall, was injured at Salimullah Hall. Professors A R Khan Khadim and Sharafat Ali of Mathematics department were killed in Dhaka Hall. At Jagannath Hall they attacked teachers' residence and harassed Professor Mirja Huda (Economics) and Professor Mofijullah Kabir (History).

When Jagannath Hall, a student dormitory for minority Hindu students, was attacked, university staff quarters were also affected. The army killed Ex-Provost and famous professor of philosophy Dr Gobindra Chandra Dev with his Muslim adopted daughter’s husband. They attacked and killed Dr. A.N.M. Manirujjaman, Professor of Statistics, along with his son and two relatives. Professor Jyotirmoy Guhathakurta the provost of Jagannath Hall was severely injured by army attack and died in the hospital later.[5] Dormitory electrician Chitrabali and eye witness Rajkumari Devi state that the doctors of Dhaka Medical College Hospital recognized Dr. Guhathakurta and buried him under a tree near Dhaka Medical College morgue.

Assistant house tutor Anudoipayon Bhattacharja was also killed at that dorm.[6] This information was taken from the novel “Riffel Roti Awrat” (Rifle, Bread, Women) by Professor Anwar Pasha who was later killed in December. Professor Pasha wrote this famous Bengali novel during the nine-month war period of 1971.

Killing of students[edit]

The Non-cooperation movement was organized under the banner of “Independent Bangladesh Students Movement Council” from Jahrul Hoque hall of Dhaka University. The first target of Operation Searchlight was this student hall. By 25 March all leaders of Chhatra League had left the hall. According to Professor Dr. K.M. Munim around 200 students were killed at this dorm.

After 12 o’clock the army entered Jagannath Hall and initially attacked the hall with mortar and began non-stop firing. They entered through north and south gate and killed students non-selectively from each room. Around 34 students were killed at that time. Some students of Jahannath Hall were resident of Ramna Kali Bari. So, around 5-6 were killed there. Among them only the name of Ramonimohon Bhattacharjee is known. Many guests of students who were at those dorms were also killed. Including Helal of Bhairab college, Babul Paul of Bajitpur College, Baddruddojha of Jagannath Hall, Jibon Sarkar, Mostaq, Bacchu and Amar of Netrokona.[3] Archer Blood, the then consul general of US at Dhaka, wrote in his book The Cruel Birth of Bangladesh, "Fire was started at Rokeya Hall (girls' dormitory) and, when the students tried to escape, the military started firing. From the conversation of military control room and army unit 88, a total of 300 students death was estimated."[7]

List of students of Jagannath Hall killed by Pakistan army[edit]

• Upendra Nath Ray: Final Year MS Physics (Village: Guliara, Dinajpur • Kartik Sheel: Final Year MA English (Kalakhali, Barisal) • Kishori Mohan Sarkar: First Part MA English (Paragram, Dhaka) • Keshab Chandra Haoladar: First Part MS Mathematics (Kachabalia, Barisal) • Gano Pati Haldar: First Second Third Year, Chemistry (Ghatichora, Barisal) • Ziban Krishna Sarkar: Final Part MS Chemistry (Kulpotak, Mymensingh) • Noni Gopal Bhaumik: Second Year Student (Shyam Gram, Comilla) • Nirmal Kumar Ray: First Part MCom Student • Niranjan Prosad Saha: First Part MS Physics • Niranjan Haldar: Final Part MS Physics (Shikarpur, Barisal) • Prodip Narayan Ray Chaudhury: First Part MA student • Barda Kanto Tarafdar: Second Year Student (Khepamol, Mymensingh) • Bidhan Chandra Ghose: Third Year, English (Kacharipara, Pabna) • Bimol Chandra Ray: Third Year Statistics (Balirtek, Manikganj) • Murari Mohan Biswas: M Ed (Ektarpur, Kustia) • Mrinal Kanti Bose: Final Part Economics (Muriagora, Faridpur) • Manoranjan Biswas: Second Year, Mathematics (Satpar, Faridpur) • Ronoda Prosad Ray: Second Year, Mathematics (Kosba, Faridpur) • Ramoni Mohan Bhattacharya: First Part MA, Philosophy (Asta gram, Mymnsingh) • Rakhal Ray: Third Year Mathematics (Chandidwar, Comilla) • Shib Kumar Das: Second Year, Soil Science (Patuary, Faridpur) • Rupendra Nath Sen: Second Year, Chemistry (Bhanga, Faridpur) • Santos Chandra Ray: Final Part MS, Botany (Boribari, Dhaka) • Shishutosh Datta Chaudhury: Second Year, English (Ambor, Sylhet) • Satya Ranjan Das: Third Year, Chemistry (Bajonba, Dhaka) • Sujit Datta: Third Year Student (Palash, Dhaka) • Subhash Chandra Chakrobarty: Second Year, Statistics (Mymensingh) • Susil Chandra Das: Third Year, Soil Science (Barail, Comilla) • Swapan Chaudhury: Third Year, Statistics (Dhemla, Chittagong) • Hari Narayan Das: Third Year, Sociology (Narsingdi, Dhaka) • Ajit Ray Chaudhury: No information • Niranjan Chanda: No info • Prabir Pal: First Part, MS (Amlapara, Mymensingh) • Bhabotosh Bhowmick:Second Year MS Chemistry (Chandpur) • Satya Ranjan Nag: • Subrata Saha:

List of staff and guests of Jagannath Hall killed by Pakistan army[edit]

• Madhu Sudan Dey (Madhu Da) • Khagendra Chandra Dey: staff philosophy dept • Sushil Chandra Dey: Pump workman, Engineering dept Dhaka University • Moti Lal Dey: • Dasu Ram: Gardener, VC Resident • Man Bharan Ray: Staff NIPA • Raj Bhar: Electrician, Engineering Dept, DU • Priyo Nath Ray: Gatekeeper • Sunil Chandra Das (Janitor) • Dukhi Ram Mandal: (Janitor) • Shib Pada Kuri (janitor) • Rajen Brahmachari: The spiritual guru of Shib bari • Zahar Lal Rajbhar: Gardener, Botany dept • Saroja Brahmachari: Spiritual guru of Shib bari • Madhab Chandra Das Brahmachari: Spiritual guru of Shib bari • Ram Dhoni Brahmachari: Spiritual guru of Shib bari • Shankar Kuri: Brother of Shibpada Kuri • Swami Mukundo Nando Saraswati: Spiritual guru of Shib bari • Bheer Ray • Bodhi Ram • Mani Ram

Killing of staff[edit]

The convoy that attacked Jahurul Huq hall initially killed EPR guards guarding the British Council building. They killed hall staff: Shirajul Huq, Ali Hossain, Shohorab Ali Gaji and Abdul Majid at the University teachers lounge. At Rokeya Hall, Chottor Ahmed Ali, Abdul Khalec, Nomi, Md. Solaiman Khan, Md. Nurul Islam, Md Hafizuddin, Md. Chunnu Miya were killed with their families.

The convoy that attacked Shahid Minar and Bangla Academy also attacked Shahidullah hall, associated teachers' houses, and the home of Madhushudhan De. At building 11, Md. Sadeq, a teacher of University Laboratory School, was killed. The army left around 50 dead bodies, including some police officers (escaped from Rajarbag Police line), Bengali EPR members guarding President House and general people from Nilkhet Basti in the roof of university residential building-23.[3]

Between 25 and 27 March the Pakistan Army destroyed three temples. Those were Arts building associated Guruduwara (Sikh), Ramna Kali Temple and Ramna Shiva Temple (Hindu) opposite Shahid Minar. That night, staff of Philosophy department Khagen De, his son Motilal De, University staff Shushil Chandra De, Bodhiram, Dakkhuram, Vimroy, Moniram, Jaharlala Rajvar, Monvaran Roy, Plumber Rajvar and Shankar Kuri were killed.[3]

Attack at girls' dormitory[edit]

Archer K. Blood the then consul general of US at Dhaka wrote in his book The Cruel Birth of Bangladesh, "Fire was started at Rokeya Hall (girls' dormitory) and, when the students tried to escape, the military started firing... On 10 November 1971 some armed criminals attacked Rokeya Hall and kept 30 girls confined for two hours. They also attacked Provost House”. In 1971 there were two strong military establishments near Rokeya hall, it was impossible to attack university Girls' Hostel without their knowledge for two hours.[7]

Excerpts from Genocide in Bangladesh by Kalyan Chaudhury, pp 157–158:[8] “...Some army officer raided Rokeya Hall on 7 October 1971. Accompanied by five soldiers, Major Aslam had first visited the hostel on 3 October and asked the superintendent to supply some girls who could sing and dance at a function to be held in Tejgaon Cantonment. The superintendent told him that most of the girls had left the hostel after the disturbances and only 40 students were residing but as a superintendent of a girls' hostel she should not allow them to go to the cantonment for this purpose. Dissatisfied, Major Aslam went away. Soon after the superintendent informed a higher army officer in the cantonment, over the telephone, of the Major' s mission. However, on 7 October at about 8 p.m. Major Aslam and his men raided the hostel. The soldiers broke open the doors, dragged the girls out and stripped them before raping and torturing them in front of the helpless superintendent. The entire thing was done so openly without any provocation, that even the Karachi-based newspaper, Dawn, had to publish the story, violating censorship by the military authorities. In seven days after liberation about 300 girls were recovered from different places around Dacca where they had been taken away and kept confined by the Pakistani army men. On 26 December altogether 55 emaciated and half-dead girls on the verge of mental derangement were recovered by the Red Cross with the help of the Mukti Bahini and the allied forces from various hideouts of the Pakistani army in Narayanganj, Dacca Cantonment and other small towns on the periphery of Dacca city."

Academic activities at 1971[edit]

Governor Tikka Khan ordered department heads to join work from 21 April and the other teachers on 1 June. According to his order, classes must be started from 2 August. All the dormitories were cleaned to remove any signs of destruction to show a quite fine educational environment at the university to the international communities. All exams were postponed due to the national crisis. Attendance in the class was to minute[clarification needed] at that period. Interestingly, as the forces of war increased until September, attendance in the classes also increased. As many students had joined the Mukti Bahini (liberation force), they blasted hand grenades near the university and quickly entered classes. This is why the army failed to arrest any one.[4]

Warning, arresting and punishment of teachers[edit]

For known connections with liberation force, Tikka Khan issued arrest orders against many teachers and arrested some of them. Among them there were Dr. Abul Khayer, Dr. Rafiqul Islam, Dr. K. A. M. Salauddin, Ahsanul Hoque, Giasuddin Ahmed, Jahrul Hoque and M. Shahidullah. Martial law Governor Lieutenant General Tikka Khan officially warned Professor Munir Chowdhury, Professor Nilima Ibrahim, Professor Shirajul Islam Chowdhury, and Professor Enamul Hoque. Dr. Abu Muhammah Habibullah was terminated. Professor Abdur Razzak (political scientists and later National Professor of Bangladesh) was given 14 years in jail due to supporting Bengali Independent movement.[9]

Vice chancellor during 1971[edit]

After March 1971 Dhaka University was without any vice chancellor. In early March the vice chancellor Justice Abu Sayed Chowdhury was at Geneva joining “United Nations Humanitarian Conference”. In the middle of March he read news about death of two students. He immediately wrote his resignation letter to State’s Education Secretary and fled to London leaving the conference. There he worked for Bangladeshi liberation.[10] After the independence of Bangladesh, he became the country's second president.

Pakistan Army fetched Dr. Syed Sajjad Hussain the then VC of Rajshahi University in their convoy. He was made VC of Dhaka University. University teachers who helped the Pakistan government included Dr. Hasan Zaman, Dr. Mohar Ali, Dr. A. K. M. Abdur Rahman, Dr. Abdul Bari, Dr. Mukbul Hossain, Dr. Saifuddin Joarder. Collaborator and VC Dr. Syed Sajjad Hussain, Dr. Hasan Zaman and Dr. Mohar Ali were arrested after the liberation of Bangladesh and exiled.[11]

Massacre on 14 December 1971[edit]

In December, it became clear to the Pakistan government that it would lose the war. When Dhaka University reopened on 2 July 1971, teachers who collaborated with the Pakistani army gathered at Nawab Abdul Gani Road to build up a list of intellectuals who supported the Independence movement. Until then, the Pakistan Army secretly trained a group of Pakistan-supporting madrasa, college and university students. This group was named Al Badar. At the verge of the December war Al-Badar members came out and selectively killed Bengali professors, doctors, engineers and many other intellectuals. Many of those killed were teachers of Dhaka University.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Witness To Surrender: by Siddiq Salik; Chapter: Operation Search Light-1 ISBN 984-05-1373-7
  2. ^ Annual Report: Dhaka University 1971-72, Dr. Mafijullah Kabir
  3. ^ a b c d Martyrs of Liberation. War at Jagannath Hall by Ratanlal Chakrabarti
  4. ^ a b 80 Years of Dhaka University; Professor Rafiqul Islam ISBN 984-412-341-0
  5. ^ Martyrs of Liberation War at Jagannath Hall by Ratanlal Chakrabarti
  6. ^ "Riffle Roti Awrat": Professor Anwar Pasha
  7. ^ a b Archar Blood (2002). The Cruel Birth of Bangladesh: Memoirs of an American Diplomat. ISBN 984-05-1650-7. 
  8. ^ Kalyan Chaudhury (1972). Genocide in Bangladesh. Bombay: Orient Longman. pp. 157–158. 
  9. ^ Banglapedia:Razzak Abdur
  10. ^ Role of Overseas: Bengalees in the Liberation Struggle of Bangladesh, Abdul Matin; ISBN 0-907546-09-9
  11. ^ Dainik Bangla:3 October 1971