US report narrates gruesome intellectual killings

DHAKA, - A report of the then American Press Corps narrated the gruesome killings of Bengali intellectuals that had taken place at the fag end of the War of Liberation.

"At least 125 persons, believed to be physicians, professors, writers and teachers, were found murdered today in a field outside Dacca," the report said.

The report, sent from Dhaka to Washington on December 18, 1971, was carried out by The New York Times the next day.

According to the report, all the victims' hands were tied behind their backs and they had been bayoneted, garroted or shot."

The report said the victims were among an estimated 300 Bengali

intellectuals, who had been seized by the West Pakistani soldiers and their locally recruited supporters, members of auxiliary forces like Razakar and al-Badr.

Razakar (pro-Pakistani) irregulars had apparently held the victims as "hostages" for fair surrender terms. They appeared to have been killed just before Pakistani commanders in the East (Bangladesh) surrendered two days ago (December 16)," the report said.

Indicating to the fact that the place of occurrence mentioned in the report is Rayerbazar, the report added, "Nearby residents said that many other Bengalis had been killed in the neighboring factory and thrown into pits...the victims found in the pits outside the city lay in pools of water stained with blood, almost unrecognizable because of their wounds."

Referring to the incidents of shots fired from pockets of pro-Pakistanis yet after the country had already been liberated on December 16, the report said, "Sobbing relatives were among the thousands of people, who walked into the brick pits, which were about 400 yards from the factory still held by the Razakars. Other Razakars holed up in a mosque, fired at mourners trying to identify bodies."

Commemorating the brutal killings of the country's illustrious persons, the Bengali nation observes December 14 as the Martyred Intellectuals Day.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)