Tue, 03 October 2023
The Daily Ittefaq

The role of refugees toward achieving independence

Update : 19 Mar 2022, 14:58

Bangladesh gained its independence by overcoming the sea of blood within 9-months war in exchange of lives of 3 million martyrs. Apart from the three million dead, two lakh women sacrificed their supreme honour for the  motherland and about 6,000 soldiers of India lost their lives in our liberation war. With the strong and visionary leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the active cooperation of friendly India and Russia, the country was liberated from aggression in 1971.

But in the backdrop of the glorious history of our great independence, there are stories of abandonment, oppression, torture. Nearly one crore refugees, who have been killed due to crimes against humanity such as killing, looting, rape and arson by Pakistani executioners and their local collaborators Razakar Al-Badr, have taken refuge in India.

As far as I know, in the months of May 1971 in Burunga and Adityapur villages of Balaganj police station in Sylhet, more than two hundred people were abducted from the village by Pakistani army and razakars and killed indiscriminately. Apart from the locals, these people who had fled from Sylhet city and different areas took shelter in the villages and were trying to cross the border. It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. All the families who survived and were able to take refuge in the refugee camps in India became poor overnight. 

A new chapter begins in their lives. By losing homes, ponds, crops, jobs and businesses, these people found refuge in refugee camps, waiting in line for hours for food. A latrine for 8-10 families, water of time and a few people listening to the news of the liberation war on the radio together-this is the diary of the refugee people, the only wait was until the country became independent. Occasionally young men of the family join the training to participate in the liberation war and a large number of youths from the refugee camps participated in the liberation war.

No matter how tragic the history of a country's affluent population losing everything and becoming an overnight refugee, the pressure of one crore refugees on the Indian government in Bangladesh's war of independence played a strong role in justifying India's participation in the liberation of world leaders. The story of the abandonment of one million refugees in the war of independence was not even covered in the national and international media. The story is suppressed in many cases.

However, the refugee issue played a significant role in gaining the active support of the outside world for the independence of Bangladesh. The families of the refugees returned to independent Bangladesh in the joy of liberation. But after 50 years of independence, many families have not been able to turn around due to various social, political and other reasons.

The author is former Director, Bangladesh Muktijoddha Welfare Trust, Ministry of Liberation War Affairs, Dhaka

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