The night of 25 March 1971 was the longest night in our life. The dark night saw many demons emerging from the lowly gutters and prowling the roads in search of human blood. They gorged their stomach until they could drink no more. The wailing of the mothers and children rebounded from the roadside walls despite the blood-chilling staccato sound of machinegun fire throughout the night.
On 25 March, 1971, I was in Wari. Throughout the day some of us were going from student hall to hall expecting to hear news of the ongoing talks between Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Gen. Yahya Khan. Around 6pm some student leaders told us to go back to our home and stay inside as there was chance of the army picking up young students from the roads. Accordingly, I came back to Wari by 6:30pm where I lived with my family.
Around 11:30 at night, we heard the sound of gunfire around 11:30 in the night. We went to the rooftop and saw a big fire from the direction of Thatari Bazaar. On the roadside next to the bazaar there was a big slum where mostly rickshaw-drivers lived with their family members. I knew some rickshaw-pullers who got killed on that night. We could hear the whizzing sound of machinegun bullets flying through the air high above. Within the next 30 minutes or so there was a deafening sound of an explosion that shook the ground of entire Wari. Some elderly people in the nearby houses started to pray loudly. It sounded as if a big bomb had gone off nearby. We covered our ears and lay low on the roof. Later, we came to learn that the big explosion sound was that of a military tank shelling the Ittefaq building at Tikatully. A number of journalists and printing machine operators have been killed inside the building that night.
All of us on the roof were trying to figure out the location of attacks from the sound of gunfire and explosion of mortar shells. We correctly guessed the attacks at Rajarbagh Police Line, Dhaka University and Sadarghat area.
Coming down from the roof we gathered in the living room and tried to contact close relations and friends over telephone. But no call was going out. It meant lines have been cut off. In the house, with no electricity, we moved about like ghosts. Children were scared stiff and could not sleep. By then it was 12:45. The night seemed to have stood still. The tick-tock of the grand old wall clock was the only loud noise that was being made throughout the night. The sound of machineguns in the distant did not stop for a minute. We could hear people running outside in search of safety.
Finally, after long agonizing hours, the dark night ended and we saw the first rays of the sun seeping in through the windows. Little could we guess that about half a million humans would never watch such a beautiful scene ever in life. They had perished in the night as victims of some deranged gunmen who wore uniform of Pakistani military.