Name: Taraban Bewa
Husband’s Name: Altaf Chowdhury (Killed by Pakistan army in 1971)
Vill: Prankrishnapur, P.O.: Otimara
P.S.: Nwababganj, Dist: Dinajpur
Age in 1971: 30 yrs
Present Occupation: Housewife
Q. Do you remember anything about 1971?
A. Yes, I do. There was a war in the country. The Khans killed thousands of people of our country.
Q. Did the Pakistani soldiers attack your village?
A. Yes, they did.
Q. When did the Pakistani Army attack your village?
A. They attacked many times. One day in the morning they launched a dangerous attack. They cordoned off the whole village and didn’t spare any male member. They killed all of them. No one could escape. They rounded up all of them and killed them.
Q. What else did the Pakistani soldiers commit in your village?
A. Some of the men were called out of their homes and killed, houses were burnt down, women were raped. There was no way of fighting them. In every direction Pakistani soldiers took position and no one could escape from their hold. They grabbed the women and raped them. All the men were taken away and killed, not even one was spared. After the Khans left we returned to the village and found all of them killed. And as soon as we returned to the village the Khans returned and we ran away. My three brothers were killed. My eldest nephew and my eldest son were killed. All the men were assembled in one place and shot.
Q. When you went to collect the dead bodies, did the Pak soldiers come back and chase you?
A. Yes, they came back and chased us.
Q. What did you do then?
A. I again ran away in some direction which I do not remember to-day. When I returned I saw all of them were already dead. My husband begged for some water but I couldn’t give him a drop to drink. Within a split second the Khans were back and I ran again. When I returned I found my husband dead.
Q. How many members of your family were killed by the Pakistani soldiers?
A. Two of them, my husband and my son.
Q. Did the Khans return to your village?
A. Oh yes, many more times, and so much of scandals and running around all over again and again. We had to abandon our cooking pans and run for life. We couldn’t have our food. They did a lot of torture, unthinkable in our area. My brother gave the Khans milk, chicken, calves, fruits and so many other things but they didn’t spare us. They killed everyone, raped women. My whole life has been doomed.
Q. You gave the Khans chicken, milk, cows, calves and goats?
A. Yes, yes. We gave them everything to save our lives. They killed my son, even after what we did for them, They killed us. My brother gave them pail full of milk enough for so many of them and even then they killed all of us.
Q. Did the Pakistani soldiers repress the women?
A. Yes, they did. They caught all the women and took them to our house and many other houses and in the nooks and corners and raped us again and again. And then they set fire to the houses. The whole village was on fire. They treated us with indescribable cruelty, very cruel indeed.
Q. Did the Khans shoot and kill any woman?
A. Yes, they killed two of them.
Q. Do you remember their names?
A. One of them was Soyna and the other was Salu. They were weeping in my room before they were killed.
Q. And then what did you do?
A. After the Khans left we cried. The dead bodies were removed by the villagers and buried.We couldn’t wash the dead bodies. I was almost unconscious; I lost three brothers, my eldest son, a nephew and my husband. They were all mercilessly killed by the Pak soldiers. Each of them was buried at a different spot.
Q. And then what happened?
A. I stayed here.
Q. Didn’t the Khans visit the village again?
A. What do you mean? They came several times. We ran away for shelter.
Interviewer: Amarchand Gupta Apu
Date of Interview: November 04, 1996
Translator: Dr. Faruq Aziz Khan