Local people still tremble remembering the horrific genocide of 32 Musollis (devotees) committed by the Pakistani occupation army after the Juma prayers on May 7 in 1971 at Lahirirhat area in Sadar upazila of the district.
The gruesome killing of the Musollis of Lahirirhat Mosque just after Juma prayers created severe anger, especially among the Muslims and other communities inspiring them to go to India en-masse to join the Mukti Bahini. The books 'Mukitjuddhe Rangpurer Itihas' published by Rangpur district administration and 'Mukitjuddhe Rangpur' written by heroic freedom fighter-cum-journalist late Mukul Mostafiz narrated the barbaric genocide of the 32 Musollis on that day.
According to the books and local eyewitnesses Motiar Rahman, 77, Rafikul Islam, 74, Aftab Hossain, 78, the Pakistani occupation army with local collaborators came by four trucks and got down in front of Lahirirhat Mosque just after the Juma prayers on May 7 in 1971.
Understanding the consequences, the innocent Musollis started running here, there and all around to escape from the human beasts when 32 of them, including a father and his son, were caught by the Pakistani occupation forces.
The occupation forces soon started torturing the innocent Musollis, who repeatedly claimed with unutterable fear in minds that they were Muslims and came to the mosque for offering Juma prayers, in last bid to save lives.
Without paying attention to the Musollis, the Pakistani army took them to the nearby pond bank, forced them to stand in four rows under a tree with eight Musollis in each and opened brass fire at the 32 Musollis at Lahirirhat.
"All Musollis fell down on earth after brass firing when most of them breathed last immediately while the others were gravely injured getting numerous bullet hits at their heads, chests, bellies, necks and other organs," said Rafikul Islam.
The occupation army with their collaborators started charging bayonets on the
injured in a medieval style to ensure deaths amid their cracking sounds when nature became silent observing the ridiculous atrocities.
"After committing monstrous crimes against humanity through killing of the Musollis at Lahirirhat, the occupation army with their non-Bengali Behari collaborators buried the bodies into a mass grave there and left the area," said Aftab Hossain.
Relatives of the martyred Musollis started gathering there since the evening on that day, dug the mass grave taking advantage of darkness, recovered and took away the buried bodies to their own areas for burial at their family graveyards.
Conducting research for a long time, heroic freedom fighter late Mukul Mostafiz identified 27 of the martyred Musollis and put their names in his book ‘Mukitjuddhe Rangpur' published in February, 2011.
Talking to BSS today, Chairman of local Chandanpat union parishad Md. Amenur Rahman said the barbaric genocide of the 32 Musollis at Lahirirhat literally unmasked the so called 'religious' face of the Pakistani junta.
"The Lahirirhat genocide helped the Bangalees to easily and instantly understand the propaganda conducted by the then Pakistani junta of saving Islam from the enemies was quite false," he said.
Former District Muktijoddha Commander Mosaddek Hossain Bablu said martyrdom of 32 Musollis right away inspired the Bangalees, irrespective of caste, creed and religion, in joining the Mukti Bahini en-masse to liberate the country.
Local heroic freedom fighters, union parishad, different educational institutions and social organisations have taken up programs, including placing wreaths at the memorial monument at Lahirirhat today.