Monday, October 7, 2013

Statement by Momena Begum to the investigation officer

This posting is linked to this

This is the translation of a statement which the witness Momena Begum originally gave to the deputy investigation officer Mohana Begum in July 2010 in relation to the massacre of her family on 26 March 1971.

The translation has been independently checked for accuracy. The original can be downloaded here.

On 17 September 2013, the appellate division imposed the death sentence in relation to this offense.

This statement is linked to the annotated version of an article (originally published in New Age) which can be found here.
Witness: Momena begum

Date: 21/07/2010  
My name is Momena Begum. In 1971, I was 12 years old. I used to study in standard 3 at no. 10 Fakirbari School. I was the eldest amongst our one brother and four sisters. My mother was pregnant. Back then, we used to live in house no. 21 in the 5th line of Kalapani. My father was a tailor. My father shifted to an abandoned house in Mirpur. I can remember the incidents that took place during the liberation war. The war broke out on 25th March. The Pakistanis started the war. My father’s shop was near the killing ground of Muslim Bazar. On 26th evening, my father came home running, took all of us inside the room and shut the door. He said, the war has started here as well. My younger sister Amena and I hid ourselves under the bed, just behind the trunk (box). 12/13 people forcefully kicked the door and were asking my father to open the door. It was these people who were chasing my father. They were threatening to blast a bomb if we didn’t open the door. They blasted the bomb when they saw that my father was not opening the door. My mother opened the door with a chopper in her hand. They shot my mother in her belly after entering the room. My mother screamed and fell down to the ground immediately after being shot. They were Biharis. They entered along with the Pakistani soldiers. I know all the Biharis. Aktar Gunda was with them. He was known as a gunda (Criminal) in our locality. When the war broke out, he joined with Kader Molla of Duaripara and started to kill people in Mirpur. Then, according to the direction received from Aktar Gunda, they slaughtered my mother. Later they slaughtered my younger sister (3rd sister) Khodeja. After that they slaughtered Taslima (the youngest sister). They killed my two year old younger brother Babu by hitting him on the ground. Seeing this, my 2nd younger sister screamed out loud. They pulled out my sister from under the bed (behind the trunk box) and started torturing [raping] her on the floor. I didn’t scream. They couldn’t see me as I was behind the trunk. I saw it when they were torturing [raping] my sister. I didn’t scream even then. They started to attack our house before the dusk. They were raping my sister one after another. Then it became dark inside the room. It was 12 people raping my sister. My sister was screaming in the beginning. Her screaming stopped after 7 or 8 men had raped her. I don’t know when I fainted. I regained my consciousness late in the night. I was not being able to see anything in the dark. However, I started to feel severe pain in my left leg. I slowly came out and realized I was bleeding and there was a cut in my leg. I was wearing a frock. I was calling my father and Amena. Nobody responded. I went out of the room, and ran to the house of Porbota Fakir with my injured leg. They provided treatment for my leg. I was married back then, but I had not been taken to my husband’s house yet. My husband’s house was at Zinzira. After listening to my details they informed my in-laws. After 3 or 4 days they [my in-laws] came and took me with them. I was under treatment for 2 or 3 months. I didn’t receive any further news regarding my father. I heard about Kader Molla and Aktar Gunda and their force from people around. After liberation, after 16th December, I went to look for my father with my relatives. At Technical [road crossing] Police gave us a [permission] slip for three hours. I went there to see the dead bodies of my mother and sisters, but didn’t find the dead bodies. The room was filled with blood. There were many dead bodies scattered in the whole locality. The dogs and jackals (foxes) were eating those dead bodies. All the belongings of the house were looted. Back then, Mirpur was not independent yet. I went back to Mirpur after 6 or 7 months after that. I became insane. I was tied with a chain for 3 years. Later, I got cured. I learned about the incidents of killing and rape from the people who witnessed those incidents. We, the Bengalis were not much in number. I saw skulls and bone at Jalladkahna [Killing land]. I’ve heard that, the shares and bangles (churi) of the women and children who were killed there are found at that place. Mr. Sheikh gave me a letter

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