Sultana Aktar

Wed Dec 08 2021 05:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

44538S A

They left. The men. The women. The boys and the girls. Everyone. My children too. I mean what were they supposed to do? We just got the news that the military had made it to Gobindaganj, only a few kilometres from home. They came wearing their Pakistani camo uniform, in their American tanks, with their Chinese rifles held tightly to their chest, one finger on the trigger, ready to kill.

The roads were too dangerous and the only way to escape was through the rice fields. I watched the women scurry along their infants in a panic to get to safety. They grabbed the little valuables they possessed; some cash that was hidden in their homes for a rainy day, a few ounces of gold, if they were so fortunate to own it and grains and pulses to see them through. If we didn't die from the bullets we died from hunger. The men had gathered their flock of lamb and cattles and made the journey.

I birthed seven children, buried four and trusted my living three with the village Phirsaab. If they were to get caught, perhaps they will be spared for being with a holy man. But I'm not too hopeful. These savages that mercilessly raped the young virgins, in front of their fathers, leaving them motionless and almost dead. Then lined the men in rows of tens, on their knees, hand behind their heads, with beads of sweat and tears merging in to one, teasing and taunting till they let off their machine guns, wiping away the orderly rows of loyal husbands, beloved sons, hardworking fathers and honorable brothers, all in just a few seconds. Their blood flowed like the Padma river, a single red stream from the bullet wound trickled into many. If they sought complete destruction, they set a blaze and burnt the village to ashes. And if they felt greedy, they looted the houses, leaving a feast for the vultures. Even the vultures were sick of Bengali bodies. I wasn't hopeful but I prayed that by Allah's grace they would be safe.