Dead bodies found on the roads of Jessore
No of torture cells: 1.
Star Diamond Hotel torture cell 2. Mahmudpur at Alipur 3. Benerpota 4.
Patkelghat at Tala 5. Bakal 6. Jhaudanga
Tales of the tortured
After a month we became so scared that my father sent my sister and me to Comilla town. We were going towards a relative's house when the army began to stop all rickshaws and check them. Suddenly two men were running through the street and the army fired at them. Both were hit. We became so scared that we also started to run and there was complete chaos. I fell down and hit my head. When I regained my senses, I realised I was being slapped by a Khansena. They dragged me and two others into a truck and we were taken to the military camp. From the very first day they thought I was also a freedom fighter and beat me up. I don't know why they didn't kill me because they did everything else. There were several girls like me in the camp and we were regularly tortured. Then they thought that it was much better to let me cook and clean. I became their servant. They wouldn't let me wash or clean myself and I smelt foul. I cooked -- lal kumra and lau and bhat -- for other Bengalis. They ate chapati and I made tons of them. Even now, years later, I can't make chapatis, and seeing them makes me sick.
One day an officer came and without saying anything started to beat me up. Maybe being raped would have been better because hours later when I regained consciousness, I had found that I had lost so many of my teeth and my forehead was bleeding. The scars are still there. I later learnt his best friend had been killed in a fight. Next day I was dragged out and made to clean ditches and then prepare chapatis. I taught myself one thing -- that was not to think of my family or what would happen the next day. If I did I would have gone mad. So slowly the faces faded from memory. I think it helped me survive.
But war did come and one day we heard them leave. Before
they left they killed a few prisoners, but expecting this some of us hid
outside. It was almost a full day before the Indians came, but we were so
scared and stupid we didn't go out. Even the Indians didn't know we were
there, a few of us. They freed us and gave us food. I first took a bath,
cleaned my body properly of blood and dirt, and went home.
The nightmare of being a woman in a camp has imprisoned me ever since then.
We knew the Pakistan army would attack ordinary people. When
the army crossed the river and slowly began to take over the towns,
resistance began to give away and the partisans began to retreat. We were
caught in a vicious circle. If we crossed the border, the Indian army might
kill us for being Leftists, and if we stayed back the Pakistanis could kill
us. But after a fight with the Pakistanis that we lost we
One of the women in the camp was the wife of a college teacher who had been killed and knew me. Her husband was a teacher of Islamic studies. She herself could speak Arabic and Urdu. The Pakistanis soon found that out and used her to talk to the prisoners to find out if India was helping us or not. One day she read the Quran to them and after that there was an argument about whether it was right to keep her inside. Finally they decided to let her go and she said that she wouldn't leave without me. These soldiers didn't know anything about my husband's politics and the captors had been discredited so her words helped me. I was released.
When I reached home I found that my husband had died soon after my capture
and so I left with my brother-in-law for India. We stayed as refugees and
then through the party channel reached Kolkata. When I returned in January,
my brother-in-law got into trouble again, and our family had to flee once
Courtesy Afsan Chowdhury from his forthcoming
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