Sendia massacre

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Sendia massacre
সেনদিয়া হত্যাকান্ড
Sendia massacre is located in Bangladesh
Sendia massacre
LocationSendia, Faridpur, East Pakistan
Date20 May 1971 (UTC+6:00)
TargetBengali Hindus
Attack type
Massacre
WeaponsLight machine guns
Deaths127
PerpetratorsPakistani army

Sendia massacre (Bengali: সেনদিয়া হত্যাকান্ড) was a massacre of unarmed Bengali Hindus in Sendia village in undivided Faridpur district on 20 May 1971 by the Pakistan Army.[1][2][3]<[4] 127 Bengali Hindu men, women and children were killed in the massacre. The killers did not spare even the pregnant women, children or the elderly people. 76 out of the 127 victims were women.[3]

Background[edit]

At present, the village of Sendia falls under Khalia Union of Rajoir Upazila in Madaripur District under Dhaka Division. Sendia is just 24 kilometres (15 mi) from the Madaripur District headquarters.[1] In 1971, Madaripur District was a sub-division under the undivided Faridpur District. At that time, there were very less motorable roads and hence the waterways constituted the main thoroughfares of the region. Steamers and country boats were the primary modes of transport.[2] The region around Sendia in Rajoir Upazila was the birthplace of eminent Bengali Hindu political leaders of yore like Ambica Charan Mazumdar, Gour Chandra Bala, Phani Bhusan Majumdar among others. Historically, the present Rajoir Upazila had always been a Hindu majority region. During the Operation Searchlight, the Pakistan Army had set up an army camp at Tekerhat steamer station, in Rajoir Upazila.[2]

Killings[edit]

The date of the incident in various accounts is given as 5 Jaistha 1378 in the Bengali calendar, which is either 19 May or 20 May 1971 depending on whether it is the traditional Bengali calendar or standardized Bengali calendar. On the day of the incident at around 9 AM, a contingent of the Pakistan Army from the Tekerhat army camp, set out in a launch and got down at Bhennabari, presently under Gopalganj District.[2] They started firing and arson at Char Chamta and proceeded through Kadambari Union under Madaripur District and resorted to a massacre at Ullabari.[2][3] From there they proceeded towards Sendia, firing indiscriminately and committing arson along the way.[2]

At around 4 PM, the Pakistani Army along with their collaborators arrived in Sendia village. The Hindus from the nearby villages of Khalia, Palita and Chhatianbari villages took shelter the sugarcane fields in Sendia, after hearing gunshots. When the Pakistan Army entered Sendia, it was almost deserted. The Pakistani soldiers and their local collaborators looted the village and set it on fire. One elderly woman was burnt alive.[2][4] The remaining villagers were taken captives, blind folded and hands tied, they were tortured to death at six different spots in the village.[4] When the army contingent was about to leave, a goat's cry blew up the villagers cover in the sugarcane fields.[1][2] The Pakistan Army opened fire from their semi-automatic weapons killing more than a hundred Bengali Hindus on the spot.[3] Six days later five more persons were killed. Later, the survivors buried the dead bodies in six mass graves.

Aftermath[edit]

A four-month-old child that had survived the massacre while its parents had died was adopted by Father Marino Reagan, from a Christian mission located at Baniarchar, now in Gopalganj District.[2] Reagan later took the child to the United States, where he raised him.[2] In 2009, he took the initiative to construct a plaque commemorating the victims that was inaugurated by Marino Reagan.

On 28 March 2010, a case was filed against BNP leader Moni Howlader, Mohammed Rafique Howlader and Sarwar Howlader and another dozen of unnamed armed Razakars at the Madaripur District Chief Judicial Magistrate Court.[5] In the case file, the accused has been mentioned for their direct involvement in the Sendia massacre.[5]

Memorial[edit]

As of 2012, no initiatives were taken by the government to restore mass graves. Residential buildings have come up above two of the graves.[1] The remaining four are also on the verge of destruction.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e মাদারীপুরে গণকবর সংরক্ষণের উদ্যোগ নেই. Amar Desh (in Bengali). Dhaka. 22 December 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Chakraborty, Nripendranath (23 December 2012). শত শহীদের রক্তেভেজা মাদারীপুর রাজৈরের চারটি গ্রাম. Jai Jai Din (in Bengali). Dhaka. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d Chakraborty, Nripendranath (21 March 2010). ৭৬ জন নারী ৩৯ বছর ধরে অন্ধকারে. Dainik Destiny (in Bengali). Dhaka. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  4. ^ a b c আজ মাদারীপুর সেনদিয়া গণহত্যা দিবস. uttaradhikar71news.com (in Bengali). 19 May 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  5. ^ a b মাদারীপুরে বিএনপি নেতা মনি হাওলাদারসহ ৩ রাজাকারের বিরুদ্ধে মামলা. REDTIMESBD (in Bengali). 28 March 2010. Retrieved 23 October 2013.

Coordinates: 23°12′N 90°00′E / 23.20°N 90.00°E / 23.20; 90.00