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1946 Noakhali: Atrocities on Hindus (3)

 

The destroyed house of Rajendralal Roychowdhury.

On 11 October, 1946, the private army of Gholam Sarwar, known as the ‘Miyar Fauz'(literally Miyan’s Army), attacked the residence of Rajendralal Roychowdhury, the president of the Noakhali Bar Association and the Noakhali District Hindu Mahasabha. At that time Swami Tryambakananda of Bharat Sevashram Sangha was staying at their house as a guest. Roychowdhury fended off the mob from his terrace with his rifle for the entire day. At nightfall, when they retreated, he sent the swami and his family members to safety. The next day the mob attacked again. Rajendralal Roychowdhury’s severed head was presented to Golam Sarwar on a platter and his two daughters were given to two of his trusted generals. According to Sucheta Kriplani, Rajendralal Roychowdhury had followed the footsteps of Shivaji and Guru Gobind Singh and became a martyr, defending his faith and family honour. Acharya Kripalani, a staunch believer in non-violence, held that the resistance offered by Rajendralal Roychowdhury and his family was the nearest approach to non-violence. After three months Mahatma Gandhi, while touring Noakhali, visited their gutted house. On 11 January 1947, the corpses of the Roychowdhurys were exhumed from a swamp in Azimpur and brought before Mahatma Gandhi’s prayer assembly at Lamchar High School. After the prayers the corpses were cremated according to Hindu rites.

(Note: The 1946 Noakhali Pogrom was a preplanned ethnic cleansing program, it is wrongly termed as riot. Riots witness violence from both sides. Noakhali 1946 was a one sided attack on unsuspecting Hindus.)

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