Abdul Monnan: The bearded mule
Abdul Mannan, the president of the Jamiat-e- Mudarressin, an organization of teachers of madrasas (Jesuit style special schools for Islamic learning) and owner of the daily Dainik lnquilab, the country’s second highest circulated newspaper, was one of the key collaborators of the Pakistani army during the liberation war.
Before his recruitment into Jamat, Abdul Mannan used to sell chooks in local bazaars and as hawkers in residential areas. During the war of independence Abdul Mannan supplied chicken and meats into Pakistani military camps. Besides supplying chooks , Mannan was also a supplier of girls, abducted by Al-Badr gangs, to Pakistani camps.
A minister under Gen Zia after 1976 and then in the cabinet of president Ershad, Mannan was also associated with the killings of the secular minded intellectuals. Mannan’s area of anti-liberation activity ranged from Faridganj to Dhaka.
In 197 1, Mannan was one of the top leaders of the so-called Peace and Welfare Council that was set up to help the Pakistani occupation forces. During the war, Mannan issued several statements in favor of the mass murders committed by the Pakistani troops. In a statement published in newspapers on April 27 197 1, he said: “Patriotic people of East Pakistan have now come forward with crusading zeal to uproot the armed intruders and the secessionists. With the active support of the people, our brave armed forces have taken control of all the places.” (Source: Killers and Collaborators of 1971: An Account of Their Whereabouts, page 77).
On September 27, 1971 Maulana Mannan, then president of the Madrasa Teachers’ Association, led a delegation of the association to a meeting with Lt Gen AAK Niazi, the Zonal Martial Law Administrator for Zone B (East Pakistan) and Commander of the Eastern Command. Mannan presented a copy of the Koran to the general and told him: “We are ready to cooperate with the army for Pakistan’s security and to enhance the glory of Islam.” The general responded: “Ulamas (Islamic scholars), madrasah teachers and other patriotic citizens can protect the communications network and uproot the anti-state elements.” General Niazi assured full cooperation to them in organizing voluntary groups like the village defense forces to face the Indian spies. After the meeting, madrasa teachers and students were inducted into the Razakar, Al-Badr and Al-Sams forces and given military training.
Maulana Mannan had direct involvement in the killing of eminent physician Alim Chowdhury. According to the wife of the late physician, Mrs Shyamoli Chowdhury, and his younger brother Abdul Hafiz Chowdhury, some members of the Al-Badr had gone to their house on December 14 197 1. Prior to that, the Al-Badr men had spent about 45 minutes at the residence of Maulana Mannan, then a tenant downstairs. They took away Alim Chowdhury who never returned. In the third week of December, Abdul Hafiz Chowdhury filed an FIR with the Ramna police station in Dhaka. Police nabbed the absconding maulana from the Azimpur area of the city. Mannan gave a confessional statement that three members of the Al-Badr who were his students picked up Dr Alim Chowdhury. Mannan had a very close relationship with Brig Kashem and Capt Kayum, two key men in the Pakistani army who coordinated the slaughter of the intellectuals. The two officers had come to Mannan’s ground-floor apartment only a month ago on the occasion of an Islamic festival at 2:30 am.
In 1971, the Razakar forces organized by Mannan unleashed a reign of terror in Faridganj under the leadership of Khalilur Rahman, an elected chairman of the local village council. They killed innocent Faridganj people, raped their women, burnt their houses and looted their property. Worst of all, according to popular accounts, Mannan’s men took advantage of the situation to wipe out his political opponents, killing them after torture.
“…..Mannan’s Razakar forces, acting under his instructions, killed innumerable Bengalis in Faridganj including Awarni League leaders Abdul Majid Patwary, Haider Box Patwary, Ahmad Ullah Khan, Ishaq Khan, Sultan Khan, Amirullah Khan, local primary school headmaster Nibaran Chandra Das, Haren Chandra Das, Ansari Abdur Rab, Abdul Matin Saut, Sekandar Bhuiya, Abdus Satta Bhuiya, Upendra Chandra Karmaker, Jageshwar Bhoumik Mainuddin Khan, Abdul Wadud Khan, Habibuilah, Eshaq Mir, Akkas Miah, Abu Taher, Ayatullah, Hashim Khan, Hare Krishn Das, Jagabandhu Das, Madan Krishna Das, Nagendra Chandr Kabiraj and Govindra Chandra Das.. Hasmati Begum and Arafa Begum, both from the village of Prattashi, were killed after rape.” : Aminul Huq Master, president of Thana Action Council in 1971 and the then general secretary of the Awanmi League’s Faridganj chapter, M Abdul Jabbar Patwary and Abdul Awal, both members of the action council.
Abdul Kader Patwary, son of martyr Haider Box Patwary, of Keroa village near the Faridganj market, said that politic enmity between his late father and Maulana Mannan dated back to the time of local elections organized by military dictator General Ayub Khan in the mid- 1960s. In 197 1, Mannan’s men came searching for Abdul Kader. As the son was not available, the Razakarmen picked up the father, the mother, the brothers and sisters. All but father Haider Box returned home. After three days of torture, Haider was killed. Said Abdul Kader: “My father was killed on instructions of Maulana Mannan.”
M Abdul Kader Patwary, son of martyr Abdul Majid Patwary, said: “Razakars swooped on our house on the night of July 3 (1971). They took away my father Abdul Majid Patwary to Faridganj PS headquarter with his legs tied with ropes. From 10 pm on July 4, they began torturing my father. The Razakars uprooted his beard strand by strand. Later the Faridganj police station officer in charge Oziullah told me that a Pakistani major contacted Maulana Mannan in Dhaka several times after my father was taken there. The major told Maulana Mannan at the time of first contact, ‘The man you wanted is with us’. The last time Maulana Mannan ordered ‘kill him’. At around 1 am that night he was killed.”
M Wajiullah, a businessman from Chandpur, also recounted the story of Abdul Majid Patwary’s killing. He was also taken there by the Razakars.
On December 27 197 1, Maulana Mannan was handed over to Ramna police. He was released after influential quarters had intervened. He went into hiding. A report published on May 7, 1972 by the daily Dainik Azad and headlined “Help nab this cannibal” said: Abdul Mannan, the so-called maulana (Muslim cleric), a former general secretary of the Muslim League, a crony of the Peer of Sharshina (a religious leader known as a hated collaborator of the Pakistani army), an organizer of the Razakar-Badr forces, the mastermind of innumerable murders especially in the Faridganj area, is still at large. He is the one who organized the Razakar forces in Faridganj three months after the Liberation War had begun. He had a hand in killing Abdul Majid, the prominent Awami League leader from Faridganj, and Dr Alim Chowdhury of 29/1 Purana Paltan, Dhaka.”
Presently Mannan owns, thanks to Zia’s political and Ershad’s financial patronization, and runs the Inquiab, the official news media of the Muslim fundamentalists. Due to the backing of BNP and Ershad governments, Inquilab has become a major daily newspaper. The Inquilab was responsible for the communal riot during Gen Ershad regime. It also instigates the Muslim zealots against the progressive artis, thinkers, journalists and academics. It declared Dr Ahmed Sharif, a professor of Dhaka university, a heretic and offered rewards for his head as Khameni’s people in Iran did to Salman Rushdie.
Verified list of people killed by Mannan and his gang:
|A Majid Patwary||Haider Box Patwary||Ahmad Ullah Khan|
|Ishaq Khan||Sultan Khan||Amirullah Khan|
|Nibaran C Das||Haren Chandra Das||Ansari Abdur Rab|
|Abdul Matin Saut||A Sattar Bhuiya||Sekandar Bhuiya|
|Upendra Karmaker||Jageshwar Bhoumik||Mainuddin Khan|
|Abdul Wadud||Habibuilah||Ishaq Meer|
|Akkas Miah||Abu Taher||Ayatullah|
|Hashim Khan||Hare Krishna Das||Jagabandhu Das|
|Madan Krishna Das||Nagendra C Kabiraj||Govindra C Das|
|*Hasmati Begum||*Arafa Begum||*Killed after rape|