RAJSHAHI, Dec 9, 2015 (BSS) - Proper supervision of the authorities concerned is required to protect and uphold the dignity of the historic mass graveyard 1971 martyred freedom fighters at Gaganbaria of Joynagar Union under Durgapur Upazila of Rajshahi that is now occupied by locals and turned into a pastureland.
The local people here using the area as an arable land since long and grazing their cattle although the place experienced a tragic genocide during the great Independence War.
On October 23, 1971, Pakistani troops with the help of the local rajakars, al-badrs, al-Shamses and the members of Shanti Committee killed over 185 Freedom Fighters (FFs) and numerous locals on the field of Gaganbaria village.
Moreover, they also buried the injured alive there in a mass grave. Abdul Gani Bokhari, Freedom Fighter Commander of Durgapur Upazila, claimed that over 280 dead bodies of martyred were buried in the mass graveyard.
A mausoleum was erected there in the memories of those martyred.
The visitors would find that the locals using one side of the mass graveyard for cultivating beans while on the other portion they had erected a cattle-house.
Apart from this, the Pakistani forces in connivance with the collaborators brutally killed more than 135 innocent people and buried them at Palsha-Jugisho area under the same upazila.
Ishrafil Hossain, Chairman of Joynagar Union Parishad, said that according to the local freedom fighters, the mass grave contains 185 dead bodies of the martyred FFs and countless general people.
He said a boundary wall was constructed to protect the site many years ago but due to lack of maintenance the wall is no more.
Prof Dr Profulla Chandra Sarkar, nephew of FF Jadunath, resident of Jugishee village, alleged, "At present, the Shaheed Minar area is occupied by the local people and turned into a grazing field that is a dishonour to the memories of martyred freedom fighters. It was only possible for misguidance and lack of proper care." The local freedom fighters also demand proper supervision of the area to show respect to the freedom fighters and the Liberation War.
Talking to BSS here Nazrul Islam, Chairman of Durgapur Upazila, said effective measures should be taken to protect the areas as early as possible. There should be initiative to erect memorial plaque there in the memories of those martyred.