Roma Chowdhury, known as Ekattorer Janoni, who was tortured and violated by the Pakistani army at her village during liberation war, died aged 79 early Monday at Chittagong Medical College Hospital.
High officials, political leaders, cultural activists and students of different organisations expressed their respect placing wreaths on her mortal remains at Central Shaheed Minar in the port city on the day.
After people paid their tributes, Chittagong district administration gave Roma a guard of honour.
Later, as per her request, Roma Chowdhury was buried at her ancestral home Popadia, Boalkhali Chittagong around 5:00pm.
Alauddin Khokon, a close aide of the deceased, said that she was admitted to CMCH in January as she was suffering for diabetes, blood pressure, fractured waist, gallbladder stone and many other diseases.
At last, on Sunday night her condition deteriorated and she was on life support and around 4:00am on Monday, she breathed her last.
Freedom fighter Roma Chowdhury was born at Boalkhali in Chittagong in 1941. She obtained her MA in Bengali literature from Dhaka University in 1961.
She was the first women to have an MA degree in Chittagong. In 1962 she started her career as headmistress of Cox’s Bazar Girls High School. She served 16 years a head mistress of different schools.
When the Liberation War started, her husband asked her to take refuge in India. But she chose to stay in Bangladesh, and he left her for good.
After Pakistan army violated her and set her house on fire on May 13, 1971, she went into hiding in a jungle with her three little sons.
Staying in the jungle for eight months during the war, her boys fell sick. Her eldest son Sagar died on December 20 and second son Tagar died two months later. On December 1998 her youngest son was killed in a road accident and she never wore any footwear afterwards.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina and Jatiya Sangsad speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in separate messages expressed condolences over the death of the war heroine.
The only earning source Roma had was selling her books, walking barefoot on the street. Roma Chowdhury had written 18 books.
Of them, Ekattorer Janoni depicts her struggle during the liberation war. Her other books include 1001 Din Japoner Padya, Vab-Boichitre Rabindranath, Agun Ranga Agun Jhora and Ashru Veja Ekti Din.
In 2013, prime minister Sheikh Hasina invited Roma to Gana Bhaban and asked her whether she needed any assistance but Roma said she did not want anything.
Jatiya Muktijoddha Council contacted Roma a few years back for enlisting her name as freedom fighter and giving her allowance, but she declined the offer, saying she was self-sufficient selling her books.
Freedom fighter Mustari Shafi said Roma Chowdhury struggled a lot and she lost everything to lead an honest and simple life.
Freedom fighter Amol Mitra, Muktijoddha Sangsad Chittagong Commander Mozaffar Ahmed, divisional commissioner of Chittagong Md Abdul Mannan, Chittagong Metropolitan Police additional police commissioner Amena Begum, additional district commissioner Md Habibur Rahman, Professor Rita Dutta, Chittagong City Corporation acting mayor Hasan Mahmud Hasni, south district Awami League president Moslem Uddin Ahmed, city BNP president Shahadat Hossain, vice-president Abu Sufian, Udichi Chittagong vice-president Chandon Das, Workers Party Chittagong general secretary Sharif Chouhan, CPB Chittagong general secretary Ashok Saha, Roma’s son Johor Chowdhury were also present.
Students of Aparnacharan City Corporation Girls High School, Krishna Kumari Girls High School, Municipal Model High school and College, Paharika City Corporation Girls High School and Government Muslim High School also placed wreaths.
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