The shocking story of the highest killings ever wrote in CHT history
Sayeed Ibn Rahmat
Year 1984, From first light of 31 May to 8:30 at morning at Bhusanchara of Borkol in Rangamati. CHT people experienced a brutal massacre by Shanti Bahini, military wing of Jono-Sanghati Samiti (JSS). A terribly shocking history of the highest killing in Chittagong Hill Tracks (CHT) had written by Bengali’s blood.
Shanti Bahini is not new in bloodsheds. Rajnagar Massacre, Pakuyakhali Tragedy, Matiranga Tragedy and Bhusanchara Genocide are the most dreadful carnage of hill’s killing history.
400 Bengalis were killed within hours that day. Thousands were wounded by those demons (Shanti Bahini) when they attacked to Bengali-majority area, Borkol. In 1971, Pakistani solders were not that much malicious either that Shanti Bahini was on Bengalis.
A report published on the contemporary dates describing the picture of the massacre by Ali Murtaza, is, “The beheaded body of a young woman Rizia Khatun was found lying at proabari para of Bhushanchara settlement with her dead body in the position of suckling her bosom. Both hands of yet another baby were found severed. Yet another infant was see cut by half. A seven day old boy was bayoneted to death in front of his parents.” 1
Moinuddin Nasser described the scenario in his article, “A group of about 150 members of the shanti Bahinin headed by one Major Moni Shawpan Dewan , Launched the attack on the BDR camp and Bangali Settlers at the Bhusnanchara union of Barkal upojela in the early hours of May 31.
The insurgents, including their female cadres, in two groups launched the armed attack at 4 a. m. which continued till 8.30 a. m. They abruptly opened fire and killed the youth, women, children, elderly people and even the livestock. From three rehabilitation zones at Bhusnachra union under Barkal uppojela about 186 dead bodies of men, women, youths and babies were recovered till the writing of this report. It is learnt that a large number of corpses which could not be recovered were getting decomposed in the area. It is recorded that a total of about 500 people including BDR personnel, were injured in the raid, According to a reliable source, several BDR personnel were also killed.” 2
But the horrifying picture can be visualized if someone read Atiqur Rahman’s in-depth research report. He described, ‘…. A death silence surrounded Kala Banna, Graveyard, Bhusanchara Harina to Thakamukh Border. Neither dog or fox nor a single live was there to make noise. Army, BDR, VDP were locked down at their camp. First sound of gun shot came from the east side. The genocide had started with full flame. Residences were torched around the area. Yelling, weeping, and screaming, a sound of torched residence with echo of gun shot and cheer of demons made the area inferno. And in this way, a long night came to the earth. And these God forsaken people waked up with all these screaming, yelling and death when sun rose. These wretched people made heartbreaking circumstances around the area. Dead bodies were everywhere. Countless dead bodies and these much blood within only four hours is no doubt but genocide. An unthinkable cruelty had made that night. Local BDR and Army informed about the genocide to the higher authority by their wireless. The showoff was started within very short time. High officials visited the area. And finally the moment to hide those dead bodies came. Burying the bodies very fast were one of the ways to hide this killing by Shanti Bahini. The inhumanity level of this killing and the real face of Shanti Bahini were completely ignored by those ‘high officials’. At the same way of thinking, media was an embargo to published the news because of the national level clamor and botheration. Only reason that not to publish this news in newspaper and other media was a probability to kick out and boycott tribal by rest of population.
This massive killing and the government’s torpor made the living victim panic that they left the area immediately. Even though government took initiatives not to let them leave the area and continued their searching and arresting on the way to launch, boat, road; it failed to stop leaving area. However, the unluckiest were unable to leave the area. They were 50 per cent of total population alive. And again, burial had started by those unlucky. There was no food, nowhere to sleep at night, just dead bodies and its rotted smell surrounded them. And nothing left to do but burial the bodies. However authority was clemencies on them and compensation to them. This is clemency, isn’t it?”3
Neither a single survival nor a pet was found at Borkol, Bhusanchara and Prittichara that day. A picture published in Nasser’s Article where a pet (dog) was stand on the smashed / fully burnt house. The caption of the picture was ‘Bhushanchara: Only the dog was left alive’.2
The number of death is yet not revealed to all. Yet has now record of missing and the condition of those missing unfortunates. Moreover, relatives and neighbors of the people who left the area is yet not reckoning correctly. However, we can come to an end about the number of death of that night from several newspaper collection and articles by mentioned references. And the number is terribly shocking to know.
186 dead bodied were found while Nasser has finished his report. However, Nasser doubted, death-toll was not less than 400. He showed his justification, out of 1600 family, 300 were faced the sufferings who were at Borkal at the time. And 100 families were completely vanished after the massacre.2
From the in-depth research report of Atiqur Rahman on Bhusanchara Massacre alos supported the estimated number of death. After long investigative research, Atiq listed down the name including their address of death-tolls. The number was 370 which is actually support Nasser’s estimation of death-tolls.3
Murtaza feared that the death-toll would have exceeded the estimated number and the dead-bodies found from several places near the spot. He rationalized his concern, “…. During my visit prittisara river even after five days of the incident, I found five bodies on the bank. The settlers told me that several other bodies still in the forest around that area.”1
A description about ‘Mr. Jekyll’ who actually planed the whole event came from Moinuddin Nasser report, i.e., “Major Moni Shawpan Dewan of the Priti group who was supposed to be the leader of the insurgents in this attack was student of Rangamati Govt. High school. After liberation he went to continue his studies at Luthiana University of India/ Securing a Scholarship from the India Government, but he joined the Shanti Bahini without completing studies.”2
It was very unfortunate but true that the victims of Bhusanchara were only the Bengali community/ families. And the most depressing thing was, this massacre was gulped not only by the international media but also local and national media. Due to/ Because of Marshal Law, there was an embargo to publish such news in local newspapers. And to take the advantage of the embargo, Tribal were made a huge publicity for them and spread bushfire against Bengali communities internationally and made them to believe that only tribal are tortured in hill. This is how, not government lost its fame but also goodwill of Bangladesh Army was distorted.
CHT Bengali are tortured and murdered by Tribal and at the same time they are focused as perpetrator by Tribal propaganda. The most distressing thing is, Bangladesh government was sit idle in this situation which cannot tolerable for a long run. Hence, government needs to take an attempt to arrest and punish Major Moni Swapan for this massacre. All genocide occurred in CHT including Bhusanchara come to a good end by punishing those ‘Mr. Jykell’ and openthe truth to the light. By this way, Government can redemption Bangladesh Army kindness to all.
Moreover, it should be mentioned, by the ‘so called’ Peace Accord in 1997 can never make peace in CHT though government announced general amnesty for those tribal killers. Murder of Bengali cannot be stopped yet. Although Shanti Bahini is not enlisted organization in Hills, it continues killings and other terrorist activities at hills. Still they are on their track, i.e. killing Bengali and Tribal also.
Crime tribunal, around the world is now established. United Nation also has a law body to punish/ for tribunal. American solder did not get mercy for torturing to Iraqi prisoners. Bangladesh also has an International Crime tribunal to punish perpetrator. Then, why do not those who made genocide in CHT. Is not Bhusanchara killing an inhuman crime?
There should not be any barrier to punish criminal neither Bengali nor Tribal. And finally there is no option to forgive these killers if government devotedly wants peace in CHT. Criminal must have to be punished for their crime. If government considers these crimes, outlaws will take it as government weakness and they will be involved in crime much more than before.
To finished the story by quoting Atiqur Rahman , ‘ … if we let this genocide without facing penalty/ sue, it will be another worst vindication in history of CHT.’
- Ali Murtaza. Massacre at dawn. (BANGLADESH ECONOMIST – 1 July 1984: Vol-2)
- Moinuddin Nasser. Massacre at Bhushanchara. (BANGLADESH TODAY, 16-30 JUNE 1984)
- Atiqur Rahman. A writer, researcher, specialist on CHT. Bilombito Parbatta Ghatana – 1 & 2 (Belated incident in Hills – 1&2)