Finally 45-year of long wait of the widows of Sohagpur 'Bidhoba Palli' (village of the widows) ended by the execution of Jamaat-e-Islami assistant secretary general Muhammad Kamaruzzaman who was sentenced to death for the killings of 120 innocent people in that village in 1971 and turning 57 house wives widows.
The widows had shed tears for only one thing that they wanted to see the killers of their husbands and children face justice. The execution of Kamaruzzaman has been materialized on Saturday night when he walked to the gallows.
With the news of execution of death sentence of Kamaruzzaman waves of joy and delight overflowed the entire Shohagpur village and its vicinity where people porously distributed
The tears of those widows have dried up, but they are happy to see the leader of the local collaborators get the capital punishment. They now demand quick trial of the other collaborators and execution of the verdicts.
"Allah has finally heard us. The criminal, who killed our husbands and children and made us widow, has been punished and executed. Though the pain of our broken-heart and misfortune will never be eliminated, it will reduce the pain at least. We are happy now," Julekha Begum (not her real name), a widow lost her husband in 1971, expressed her reaction over the execution on Saturday.
Describing the incident, Julekha said as the morning dawned in remote Sohagpur village on July 25, 1971, she became busy in household chores. Suddenly, she heard a loud burst of gunfire from a nearby field. Little did she know that her peaceful village would soon be turned into a death valley.
Within a few minutes, Julekha's husband returned home from the field. Two Pakistani soldiers then came accompanied by some known faces. They enquired her husband whether he was a freedom fighter. Unsatisfied with his reply, they gunned him down. Before leaving, they also killed Julekha's brother-in-law.
Shuddered with fear, she fled to nearby Nakla village leaving her husband's body there. On her return three days later, she found that her husband's body had been partly eaten by animals. She buried his remains.
But her miseries didn't end there. The Pakistan army came again and raped her. And those known faces were with them this time too. This is how the Pakistan occupation forces and their collaborators massacred innocent civilians at Sohagpur village in Nalitabari upazila of Sherpur during the Liberation War, she added.
According to the tribunal sources, the Pakistan occupation forces and their collaborators had killed around 164 men and raped many women at the village on July 25, 1971. Only 57 women survived, only to live out life as widows.
After that day, Sohagpur is known as Bidhoba Palli, a village of widows.
Kamaruzzaman was the then chief of greater Mymensingh Al-Badr. Kamruzzaman and his accomplices led the Pakistani army to Sohagpur to commit the terrible atrocities on the villagers that day.
"We have waited 45 long years to see Kamaruzzaman get death penalty. We are happy," Julekha, who gave a deposition before the ICT-2 about the brutal killing of her husband and the torture she had endured.
In her testimony, she mentioned the names of Baka Bura and Nasa as local collaborators who along with Kamaruzzaman accompanied the Pakistan army.
Jalal Uddin lost his father and other relatives on that day. He also testified before the tribunal. In his deposition, Jalal, son of martyr Safir Uddin, said he hid in a nearby place hearing that Pakistan army along with Razakars and Al-Badr men attacked Sohagpur.
"When I came back to my house running, I saw 11 bodies at the yard of my house. The bodies of my father, my paternal uncle Kitab Ali, my cousin Monnas Ali, Mohammad Ali, Momin Mia, Kutum Uddin, Rejot Ali and Iman Ali, and some other unnamed people were lying there," he said.
Jalal and Julekha mentioned in their deposition that Baka Bura, Nasa and Kadir daktar were Razakars, and Kamaruzzaman was their chief. They carried out the massacre, bringing the Pakistani army to the village.
Jalal said, "We were relieved after the execution of the verdict. My father and other villagers were killed brutally at the hands of Razakars and Al-Badr men led by Kamaruzzaman, and only death was the befitting punishment for the crimes he had committed."
A plaque with the names of 69 villagers stands next to a mass graveyard at Sohagpur, bearing the testimony of a brutal massacre. The villagers demand that a monument be built there to commemorate the people who lost their lives at the hands of Pakistan army, Razakars and Al-Badr men.