By Asraful Huq and Mahmudul Hasan Raju
DHAKA, March 7, 2017 (BSS) - The government has decided to preserve 279 sites of 1971 manslaughters including that of Khulna's Chuknagar Killing Field, where Pakistani troops had massacred at least 10,000 people in a single campaign, while 34 other such "baddhobhumis" were conserved by now, officials said today.
"We have taken the second phase of a project to preserve another 279 Baddabhumis (of the 1971 Liberation War)," Liberation War Affairs ministry's additional secretary Shekh Mizanur Rahman told BSS.
He added that the project included Chuknagar Baddabhumi at Dumuria of Khulna, the largest of the killing grounds where 10,000 people were killed within hours on May 20, 1971.
A contingent of Pakistani troops guided by razakars invaded Chuknagar Bazar on the banks of the River Bhadra on that day as people from the entire south-west region rallied their on their way to safety to India to evade atrocities.
Witnesses said the relatively small contingent of Pakistani troops arrived from Satkhira and within minutes a lively town turned into a city of death. "A memorial monument will be built at each of the Baddobhumis under the project involving Taka 350 crore . . . we expect the project to be completed by June 2018," the official said.
He added that the project, however, now awaits completion of formalities at the Planning Commission.
The government has already preserved 34 killing grounds at different parts of the country under the first phase of the project.
Of the 279 killing grounds to be preserved division wise, eight are in Barisal, eight in Chittagong, 16 in Dhaka, 11 in Khulna, nine in Rajshahi, 15 in Rangpur and seven in Sylhet.
The incumbent government earlier announced plans to conserve the killing fields across the country to keep the memories of three million people who lost lives during the nine-month long Liberation War.
In most cases the Pakistani troops and their local collaborators massacred the Bengalis and dumped them in hundreds of graveyards across Bangladesh.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)