A mass graveyard of 250 martyrs of the Liberation War at Bangladesh-Tripura border is now covered with jungle, making it hardly distinguishable from surroundings.
The spot, 10 yards inside ‘no-man’s land’ at Ramnagar village under Tripura state of India along Senarbadi village of Brahmanbaria’s Akhaura upazila, is the eternal resting place of around 250 freedom fighters who borrowed martyrdom while fighting with the Pakistan occupation army.
Different socio-cultural organizations pay tribute to the heroic sons of the soil there every year but the government is yet to take any initiative to mark the place, even after 48 years of independence.
During the Liberation War, critically injured freedom fighters of Montala, Akhaura, Kasba, Comilla, Bilonia and other border areas were given treatment at GB Hospital of Tripura, said sources of Akhaura upazila Muktijoddha Sangsad.
Of them, those who died were sent to Ramnagar village of Agartala. Bangladeshi people brought the bodies and buried them at the graveyard of Senarbadi village of Akhaura.
Once dead people from border areas of the two neighbouring countries were buried at the graveyard.
But later no other bodies were buried there as a token of respect to the martyred freedom fighters.
Hossain Molla, an inhabitant of Senarbadi village, said he took part in burial of at least 50 martyred freedom fighters there.
“The bodies were brought here on rickshaw-vans. In those turbulent period, many bodies were buried after wrapping with only a lungi. Sometimes three or four bodies were buried in one grave,” he said.
Bodies of at least 250 martyred freedom fighters were buried there during the Liberation War, said Md Ismail, who as a defecting member of the then East Pakistan Rifles, took part in the Liberation War.
“Identity of most of the freedom fighters buried here could not be known. During burial one day, a youth identified the body of ‘footballer Aziz’, who had died after being hit by a mortar shell of the enemy,” said local freedom fighter Abdur Rahman.
Visiting the spot yesterday, this correspondent saw that the mass grave to the west of a pond near the zero line remains covered with a jungle of bushes and trees.
Md Harun-ur-Rashid, former commander of Brahmanbaria Muktijoddha Sangsad, expressed sorrow that the authorities concerned of the government have not taken any step to preserve the grave of martyrs.
Contacted, Md Jahangir, Akhaura company commander of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), said, “BGB is ready to cooperate if the local administration takes step to preserve the memory of the martyrs.”
Akhaura Upazila Nirbahi Officer Tahmina Akter Reina, who recently joined the office, said she held a meeting with local freedom fighters and BGB officials regarding the matter yesterday.
“Necessary steps will be taken to preserve the mass grave of freedom fighters. However, the matter involves support from the authorities concerned of both Bangladesh and India as the spot is in the border area,” she said.