Shaheed Shanku Day today

Several programmes held commemorating the Liberation War martyr

Published : 02 Mar 2022 09:04 PM

Shanku Samajdar was the first martyr of the Great Liberation War in the history of independence movement. The soil of Rangpur was covered with blood of this teenager on March 3, 1971. The fire of rebellion was kindled. At the call of Bangabandhu, the whole country erupted in protests and slogans of liberation. A teenager, Shanku was shot dead by Pakistani oppressors on that day. Today, March 3, is the 51st death anniversary of Shanku Samajdar. To the people of Rangpur, which has always been remembered as 'Shanku Divas'. To commemorate the day, various socio-cultural organizations have organized commemorative ceremonies in Rangpur.

Although the National Assembly was scheduled to convene on March 3, 1971, it was abruptly adjourned indefinitely on March 1, without any reason. The people of East-Pakistan, including the Awami League, which won a landslide victory in the 1970 elections, protested against this hasty decision. Bangabandhu declared a strike on March 2 in Dhaka and March 3 across the country. The strike was also observed in Rangpur. 12-year-old Shanku Samajdar was shot dead in the protest procession of that non-cooperation movement.

According to eyewitnesses and local freedom fighters, the people of Rangpur united at Bangabandhu's call to snatch independence from the clutches of Pakistani occupiers and exploitation and conspiracy. On March 3, 1971, people from all walks of life including youth, students, farmers, day laborers, men and women gathered at Kachari Bazar in Rangpur city. The procession was led by Rafiqul Islam Golap, Alok Sarkar, Mukul Mustafiz, Nur Ur Rasul Chowdhury, Haris Uddin Sarkar, Ilyas Ahmed, Muslim Uddin, Abul Mansur Ahmed and other leaders of Chhatra Sangram Parishad and then Rangpur District Chhatra League. Shanku Samajdar, a sixth grade student of Kailasharanjan High School, also left his Guptapara home in the city at 9 am to participate in the procession. As soon as the procession reached Tentultala (now Shapla Chattar) area of the city, another procession led by VP of Carmichael College Student Parliament Shahid Mukhtar Elahi, Ziaul Haque Sebus and others from College Road joined the main procession. As the procession passed in front of the house of non-Bengali businessman Sarfaraz Khan in Almannagar area, Kishore Shanku saw a signboard written in Urdu on the wall of the house and rushed to take it down. And then the procession was shot at from the roof of the house. Shanku Samajdar, a school student who came in the procession, was shot there. The procession was dispersed by the loud sound of gunfire. Shanku, who was shot on the ground, was taken to the hospital in short time with the help of locals and participants of the protest. But by then, the teenager Shanku died on the way and the history was written. Blood was spilled on the ground for independence.

Meanwhile, as soon as the news of Shankur's death spread, the whole of Rangpur became agitated. Seeing the bloodied frozen body of the teenager Shanku, the mob became agitated and started vandalizing and setting fire to the shops of non-Bengalis all over the city. Attempts were made to set fire to the house from which the shots were fired, but EPR forces came and stopped them. Later, curfew was imposed in Rangpur city at 3 pm.

Poet and journalist Nazrul Mridha, who witnessed the procession on that day, said, "I also took part in the procession. Our teenagers' job was to break down signboards written in Urdu and English on the side of the road in different homes or businesses. There was a signboard written in Urdu in the house of non-Bengali Sarfaraz Khan. When it was broken, a bullet was fired from Sarfaraz Khan's house and Shanku was shot in the head. At that time, Muslim Uddin rescued Shanku and tried to take him to the hospital.

Former President of Rangpur Metropolitan Muktijoddha Sangsad Bir Freedom Fighter Sadrul Alam Dulu said that besides the role of the whole country in the establishment of independent sovereign Bangladesh, the contribution of Rangpur, a struggling and neglected town, was paramount. Independence started directly from Rangpur, Dhaka and Sylhet. The first procession of independent Bengal was held in Rangpur. And Rangpur is also the claimant of the first martyrs of independence.

He said that Shanku Samajdar of Rangpur got state recognition in 2012 as the first martyr of the war of independence.

The present government has included the name of Shanku Samajdar in the list of martyred freedom fighters. On 16 December 2012, at a Victory Day function, the Rangpur district administration, in collaboration with the government and the concerned ministry, officially handed over 10 acres of land in Kamal Kachna area of the city to protect Shankur's memory.

Dipali Samajdar, mother of Shaheed Shankur, who was staying in the house, said that the district administration has made a memorial plaque of Shankur at Drishtinandan Gate along with the wall of the house.