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Dalim Hotel stands testimony to Mir Quasem’s evil deeds

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Dalim Hotel stands testimony to Mir Quasem’s evil deeds

Shamsuddin Illius, Chittagong
Dalim Hotel which was used as ‘torture cell’ on on pro-Liberation fighters in 1971 in Chittagong

Publication Date: 4 September, 2016

Media: The Independent

Original URL : Dalim Hotel stands testimony to Mir Quasem’s evil deeds

E-paper  URL: Dalim Hotel stands testimony to Mir Quasem’s evil deeds

The three-storey Dalim Hotel in Chittagong still stands, bearing testimony to the inhuman torture on pro-Liberation fighters in 1971. The hotel on Nazir Ahmed Chowdhury Lane gained infamy as a “torture cell” of Al Badr members under the supervision of Mir Quasem Ali, evoking a sense of loathing and horror to this day. The name of Mir Quasem Ali, who was sentenced to death for 14 war crimes, including 12 tortures and two deaths by torture inside Dalim Hotel, has become synonymous with the infamous torture cell.

“It was one of the torture cells set up by Al Badr for killing and torturing pro-Liberation people to extract information regarding the whereabouts of other freedom fighters. It was referred to as a mini cantonment of Al Badr. This building has witnessed the full horror of Al Badr in Chittagong,” said Ahasanul Kabir Riton, a researcher of the Liberation War and writer of the book “Juddhodiner Asroy”.
Members of Al Badr’s greater Chittagong unit, led by Mir Quasem Ali, who was then a top leader of Islami Chhatra Sangha, used to occupy Mahamaya Bhaban, which was owned by a Hindu landlord named Sri Ranjan Nath.
Those who managed to escape still shudder to recall those days of horror. “Al Badr men had picked me from my home and brought me to Dalim Hotel blindfolded. In the hotel, I saw Mir Quasem Ali. And then they started torturing me. It was terrible and I thought I was going to die there. Luckily, I managed to escape from that place. But the memories of those days in Dalim Hotel still haunt me,” recalled Jahangir Chowdhury, a freedom fighter.
Mir Quasem had unleashed a reign of terror at that time by setting up four torture cells, including the one at Dalim Hotel. The other three were at Dewan Bhaban in Dewanhat circle, Salma Manjil in Panchlish area and Dost Mohammad Panjabi Building in Chaktai area in the port city.
During a visit to the city in September 2010, a seven-member investigation team of the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) had found evidence of the torture cell run by the Pakistani army and their collaborators at Dalim Hotel. They had also unearthed evidence of war crimes like mass killings, loot, arson, and torture.  For instance, they found out that Mir Quasem and his accomplices had kidnapped Jasim, an adolescent freedom fighter, from an unknown place in Chittagong just after Eid-ul-Fitr in 1971. Jasim was tortured to death at Dalim Hotel and his body was later thrown into the Karnaphuli.
Hasina Khatun, maternal cousin of the victim and a witness of the case, told The Independent that they were satisfied with the verdict that upheld the death penalty for Mir Quasem. Hasina said she was now waiting to see the execution of the verdict.
Jasim, who was a student of Chittagong College at that time, used to stay at his native village of Sandwip. He used to collect and distribute kerosene among freedom fighters, when Sandwip was reeling under a kerosene crisis. The collaborators came to know of this and imprisoned him.
Shamsul Huda, a lawyer, brought him out of the prison and he joined the Liberation War. “He had come to my house on Eid-ul-Fitr and requested me to make a special dish for him. After finishing the dish, he went away. It was the last time I saw him,” said Hasina.
“On December 16, 1971, we started searching for him. We heard that he was kept captive in Dalim Hotel, but he was nowhere to be found. The following day, we came to know from advocate Shafiul Alam that members of Al Badr had killed him and concealed his body,” she added. Mir Quasem was born to Mir Tayeb Ali and Rabeya Begum in Munsidangi Sutalori of Manikgonj on December 31, 1952. He joined the Islami Chhatra Sangha (ICS) in 1967, when he was studying at Chittagong Collegiate School. Later he became the president of the Chittagong city unit of ICS.

Shamsuddin Illius
Shamsuddin Illius is a print and online media journalist. He has been working in the field (fulltime) of journalism since 2010. He is very much passionate about journalism since his early age. Currently he is the Bureau Chief-Chittagong at The Business Standard.

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