Articles

Bangladesh Genocide Archive

taken from

http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/?page_id=16

An online archive of chronology of events, documentations, audio, video, images, media reports and eyewitness accounts of the 1971 Genocide in Bangladesh in the hands of Pakistan army.

Collaborators and War Criminals

During the liberation war of 1971, Pakistani occupation army led by General Yahya Khan and his colleagues in collaboration with the anti liberation forces (Jamat, Muslim League, and other religious political parties) of Bangladesh killed a total of 3 million unarmed Bangalees, molested and raped about 450,000 Bangalee women and, on the eve of the independence, murdered hundreds of leading intellectuals to spiritually cripple the nation. A crime far exceeds, in its atrocity and inhumanity, the crimes of Hitler, Melosovitch, the nazis and the fascists.

The war criminals of Bangladesh liberation war were never tried and they have never apologized for their crimes to the nation:

1. Killing of 50,000 Bangalees in Dhaka on 25 and 26 March, 1971 under the military operation code named “operation searchlight”. and ruthless massacre of 3 million unarmed Bangalees over nine months of armed occupation by Pakistani military.

2. Senseless and wanton loots, rapes, arson and killings in Bangladeshi countryside during the course of the “sweeping operations” following the military crack down.

3. Preplanned killings of intellectuals and professionals like doctors, engineers, civil servants, students and social workers and burying them in mass graves over nine months occupation to spiritually cripple the Bangalees.

4. Rapes and molestation of 450,000 Bangalee women by the officers and soldiers of Pakistani occupation army as a deliberate act of revenge, retaliation and torture. Use of thousands of Bangalee women as sex slaves and comfort girls in military camps and bunkers by the members of all ranks of Pakistani occupation army.

5. Ethnic (Hindu) cleansing. Forced pregnancy of Hindu women and deliberate killing of Hindu males to exterminate Bangalee Hindus as a race.

What is a war crime?

Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention defines war crimes as: “Willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, including… willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement of a protected person, compelling a protected person to serve in the forces of a hostile power, or willfully depriving a protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial, …taking of hostages and extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.”

At the heart of the concept of war crimes is the idea that an individual can be held responsible for the actions of a country or that nation’s soldiers. Genocide, crimes against humanity, mistreatment of civilians or combatants during war can all fall under the category of war crimes. Genocide is the most severe of these crimes.

The body of laws that define a war crime are the Geneva Conventions and the statutes of the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague (ICTY). (BBC)

Forces Opposing Bangladesh Independence:

Regular Army : 80 000
Rangers and Militia : 24 000
Civilian Forces : 24 000
Razaker, Al-badar and Al-shams : 50 000 (estimated)

* Pakistan armed Forces
Headquarter : Eastern Command
Chief Martial Law Administrator : Lt. Gen. Tikka Khan (March 6 to August 1971)
Lt. Gen. A. A. K Niazi (August to December 16, 1971)
Adviser : Major General Rao Farman Ali
Chief of Stuff : Brig. Bakar Siddiqi
Regional Chief : Major General Nazir Hossain Shah
Major General S H Ansari
Major General Rahim Khan

ai_janoar Collaborators and War Criminals
* Local Collaborators

  • Peace Committee:
  • Established : April 1971
    Convener : Khawza Khairuddin
    Organizers : Prof. Golam Azam
    A. Q. M Shafiqul Islam
    Moulana Syed Masum

  • Razaker forces
  • Established : May 1971 (Khulna)
    Ordinance : June 1971
    Convener : Moulana A K M Yusuf
    Director : A S M Zahrul Huq

  • Al-Badar and Al-Shams
  • Members of Islamic chhattra sangha, student wing of Jamat-e-Islam party killer force of Pakistan Army, like the SS of Hitler.

    Top Pakistani War Criminals:

    * General Yahya Khan
    * Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
    * General Tikka Khan
    * General A.A.K. Niazi
    * Major General Rao Forman Ali
    * Maj Gen Khadim Hussain Raja
    * Major General Ansari
    * Brig Manzoor Hussain Atif
    * Colonel Yakub Malik
    * Lt Colonel Shams-uz-Zaman
    * Major Mohd Abdullah Khan
    * Major Khurshid Omar
    * Captain Abdul Wahid

  • List of top 200 Pakistani war criminals
  • Partial list of Pakistani war criminals with accusations and charges
  • Razakars (collaborators)

    All about Razakars

    19710822_po_e_pakistan_razakars_ordinance_page_1.jpg19710822_po_e_pakistan_razakars_ordinance_page_2.jpg

    The term Razakar is originally derived from an Arabic word meaning volunteer. In the context of Islamic history Razakars were volunteers to defend or support Islam. But in Bangladeshi context Razakar means traitors or collaborators of the Paki army who helped them, in our liberation war in 1971, in identifying and killing millions of Bangalees involved in or even supporting the liberation war. The Razakars were mainly the members of Muslim league, Jamat-e-Islam and other Islamic groups and factions.

    The Razakars…..should be specially helpful as members of rural communities, who can identify guerrillas (freedom fighters)”, an army officer (Pakistan) said…The government says it has already recruited more than 22,000 Razakars of a planned force of 35,000.’-New York Times, July 30, 1971

    ‘To help control of Bengali population, the army has been setting up a network of peace committees superimposed upon the normal civil administration, which the army cannot fully rely upon. Peace committee members are drawn from …..Beharis and from the Muslim Leagues and Jamat-e-Islami. The peace committees serve as the agent of army, informing on civil administration as well as on general populace. They are also in charge of confiscating and redistribution of shops and lands from Hindu and pro-independence Bengalis. The peace committee also recruits Razakars……many of them are common criminals who have thrown their lots with the (Pakistan) army.-The Wall Street Jornal, July 27,1971.

    Jamaat leaders collaborated with them [Pakistan army] not only to advance their ideals of Pakistan as an Islamic state, but also to wreak vengeance on people they were at enmity with.

    Referring to the drives against Bangalee freedom fighters, he wrote, “These operations were only a partial success because the West Pakistani troops neither knew the faces of the suspects nor could they read the lane numbers (in Bengali).

    They had to depend on the cooperation of the local people.

    (On the collaboration groups) these patriotic elements were organised into two groups. The elderly and prominent among them formed Peace Committees, while the young and able-bodied were recruited as Razakars (volunteers). The committees were formed in Dacca as well as in the rural areas and they served as a useful link between the Army and the local people.

    Razakars were raised to augment the strength of the West Pakistani troops and to give a sense of participation to the local population. Their manpower rose to nearly 50,000 as against a target of 100,000.

    Some of them were genuinely interested in the integrity of Pakistan and they risked their own lives to cooperate with the Army, but a few of them also used their links with the Army to settle old score with pro-AL people.

    To stress the point once again that the Bangladeshi collaborators had purposes other than pursuing the ideology of an Islamic state, Salik recollects, “In the evening I met the officer who carried out the attack. What he said was enough to chill my blood. He confided. ‘There were no rebels, and no weapons. Only poor country-folk, mostly women and old men got roasted in the barrage of fire. It is a pity that the operation was launched without proper intelligence. I will carry this burden on my conscience for the rest of my life’.”
    – Siddiq Salik, who was serving the Pakistan army as a major in Bangladesh in 1971, in his book ‘Witness to Surrender

    niazi_razakar Collaborators and War Criminals

    There are now, according to the military authorities, 5,000 razakars in East Pakistan, 300 of them in Khulna district. They are paid Rs. 3 a day (25 pence at the official rate) and receive seven days’ training which appears to consist entirely of learning how to shoot a police Lee-Enfield rifle. Their work consists of “security checks” – guiding the West Pakistan troops to the homes of supporters of the Awami League. They are supposed to be under the orders of local ‘peace committees” which are selected by the military authorities on a similar basis of “loyalty to Pakistan”. These people are, in fact, representatives of the political parties – were routed at the last elections, with an admixture of men with criminal records and bigoted Muslims who have been persuaded that strong arm methods are needed to protect their religion.

    The election results in Khulna district show how minute the non-criminal political base of the peace committees and razakars really is: the now banned Awami League won all eight seats in the district and scored 75 % of the total votes cast. The three branches of the Muslim League got 3 to 4 % between them and the fanatical Jamate-Islam 6%.

    A regime of thugs and bigots: An investigative report by Murray Sayle (THE SUNDAY TIMES, London-July 11, 1971)

    Top Razakars:
    * Maulana Dawood
    * Golam Azam
    * Abdul Mannan
    * Matiur Rahman Nizami, head of Chhatra Sangha, the students’ organization of Jamat-e-Islami
    * Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid – president of Al-Badr
    * Delwar Hossain Saidi
    * Moinuddin Chowdhury
    * Anwar Zahid
    * Fozlul Quader Chowdhury & Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury
    * Abbas Ali Khan
    * Mohammad Kamaruzzaman
    * Abdul Alim
    * Abdul Kader Mollah
    * ASM Solaiman
    * Maulana Abdus Sobhan
    * Maulana AKM Yousuf
    * Moulana SM Fazlul Karim
    * Mohammad Ayen ud Din
    * ABM Khalek Majumder
    * Ashrafuzzaman Khan
    * Dr. Syed Sazzad Hossain

    List of Collaborators and War Criminals published by Muktizuddha Chetona Bikash Kendra, Dhaka, Bangladesh. (Source: [Book] Ekatturer Ghatokera Ke kothai)

    * List of collaborators by the war crimes fact finding Committee (in Bangla)

    Denials:

    Some claim that the Razakars did not even exist – apparently they were conjured up by the Awami League for political benefit. That the Razakars were officially created by the Pakistani military and trained and paid by the government of Pakistan should not be forgotten – and will become an important element in any future genocide trial.

    The history of 1971 and the Bangladesh Genocide is under attack from revisionists and genocide deniers. The victims of this attack will be the younger generation of Bangladeshis unless we make an attempt to preserve that history.

    Eye-openers:

    * Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid: Book Burning Razakar Rewrites History – Mashuqur Rahman
    * Anti-liberation Role in 1971: Jamaat claims denied by evidence – Shakhawat Liton
    * What Jamaat leaders said in ’71 – Hasan Jahid Tusher and Ashfaq Wares Khan
    * Jamaat: the enemy within – Enayetullah Khan
    * Jamaat-e-Islam and its anti-liberation role in 1971 – Brig. General Shamsuddin Ahmed
    * Activities of Jamaat in 1971 – Muktijudhdho Chetona Bikash Kendra
    * Ali Ahsan Mujahid: Role in 1971 -Suchinta Library
    * Matiur Rahman: Role in 1971 – Suchinta Library
    *Moulana Mannan: Role in 1971 – Suchinta Library
    * Ghatoker Dinlipi (Diary of Collaborators) – June 1971, July 1971
    * Missing Links of The History – Brigadier General M. Sakhawat Hussain
    General Rao Forman Ali confesses that the intelelctual killing was the work of al-Badr anti-liberation militia.

    Islami Chattra Shibir terms the glorious war of independence as a homicidal war in their website.

    Reasons to preserve our hatred against 1971 war collaborators of Pakistan army

    Facts:

    What they said in media in 1971 (in Bangla)

    The war continues

    Fact sheet on Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin

    Naming The Names -Introducing The War Criminals

    Redress report on torture in Bangladesh 1971-2004:

    The failure to deal with the crimes committed during the 1971 war in a comprehensive and transparent manner and to specifically acknowledge the many victims of the war has left many people resentful and this constitutes a problematic legacy. To this day, there is a culture of impunity for serious human rights violations. This impunity is now entrenched, as manifested in the disrespect for the rule of law and the separation of powers, the enactment of repressive laws and the abuse of the state apparatus for the achievement of party political and personal goals. In this context, the status and affiliation of the perpetrator(s) and victim(s) often seem to be more important than the fact of the crime of torture itself. Added to this, there are various shortcomings in the legal and institutional framework that inhibit accountability and effective recourse for torture survivors and relatives of torture victims to courts or other bodies. The failure of successive governments to set up an independent human rights body is particularly glaring in this context.

    Trials:

    d30-277 Collaborators and War Criminals

    Report On The Findings Of The People’s Inquiry Commission On The Activities Of The War Criminals And The Collaborator – Presented by Forum for Secular Bangladesh

    (Summary of two investigations into activities of sixteen war criminals and collaborators of Pakistan military junta during the Bangladesh liberation war of 1971 published on 26 March 1994)

    * Charges against Golam Azam (in Bangla)
    * Gonoadalat (People’s Trial) 1992- looking back and analyzing – Millat Hussain (in Bangla)
    * Text of Simla Agreement and War Criminals

    Books:

    * Ekatturer Dalalera – List of accused under the collaborator act of Bangladesh (1972) -Shafiq Ahmed

    * Moulana Abdul Awal – Jamater Ashol Chehara
    * Christopher Hitchins – The Trial of Henry Kissinger (Excerpts)

    Media

    Razakar Razakar
    A political audio against razakars

    Related Websites:

  • 1971 Bangladesh Pakistan War Criminals
  • Ekatturer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee
  • Tui Razakar – An allied movement against the War Criminals in Bangladesh
  • War Criminals of 1971: Time to Take Action

    Dr. ABDUL MOMEN

    IT is highly misleading that Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman government pardoned all the war criminals and he did nothing during his ‘war ravaged reconstruction period’. The fact shows otherwise. In fact, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman government started prosecuting the perpetrators of ‘crime against humanity’ or ‘war criminals’ immediately after independence and he also passed the Collaborators Act (1972) and the International Crime Act of 1973 that barred re-entry of any collaborators to Bangladesh. Sheikh Mujib promulgated the Special Tribunal Order on January 24, 1972 (PO No 8 of 1972) after 14 days of his return from Pakistani jail to try those Pakistani collaborators/Razakers/Al-Badrs and other stooges of the Pakistani army. Under this order he arrested 37,000 collaborators amidst of strong opposition by left-leaning journalist like Enayetullah Khan [see his write-up titled ’75 million Collaborators’, the Holiday, 1972]. Out of them as no grievous criminal charges were filed against 26,000, therefore they were pardoned and released in a general amnesty. However, nearly 800 cases were completed and given jail sentences. Another 11,000 were in jail including Nizami, Abbas Ali Khan of the Jamaat-e-Islam Party (JI), and their prosecution was at various stages of completion. In addition, those that were involved in ‘crime against humanity’ and against Bangladesh, they were denied of Bangladesh nationality and passport.

    On November 4, 1972 all religion-based politics were abolished as per sections 12 and 38 of the Bangladesh Constitution of 1972.

    Unfortunately, when General Ziaur Rahman, a valiant Muktijudda emerged as a ‘strong man’ in 1975, he abrogated the Collaborators Act and released all the prisoners including those that were sentenced. For political/ personal reasons he allowed religion-based parties to operate and started reinstating and rehabilitating them. No wonder, those who were guilty of ‘crime against humanity’ and collaboration with enemy (Pakistan) state started returning from abroad especially Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and they were given Bangladesh citizenship and passport. Example, Golam Azam of the JI Party.

    On those days I was working with the Bangladesh government and many individuals and their relatives that had no Bangladesh passport approached us for consideration. However, once General Zia took over, all of them were issued Bangladesh passport or ‘travel documents’ to return to Bangladesh.
    It is sad that few vested quarters including Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, the ousted BNP Secretary General and current Law Advisor Barrister Moinul Hussein are misleading the public and the nation by stating that Sheikh Mujib pardoned them or shifting the responsibility by blaming why they did not prosecute them. In fact, Sheikh Mujib started the prosecution and he pardoned only those that did not have criminal cases against them. He did not pardon those (Razakars, Al-Badr or Al-Shams) that had ‘criminal cases’ and those that committed ‘crime against humanity or war criminals’ such as rape, murder, and the like. Thousands of criminals were in prison during his time; however, many were absconding abroad including Golam Azam, the leader of the JI party and they were involved in anti-state activities abroad. He did not get time to complete the prosecution because of abrupt massacre.

    After the massacre of Sheikh Mujib and his family plus his closed associates; Prime Minister Tajuddin Ahmed, Acting President Syed Nazrul Islam, Secretary General AHM Qamruzzaman and Home Minister Monsur Ali, the founders of independent and sovereign Bangladesh in 1975, one after another civil-military-technocratic or cantonment-based governments ruled the country basically till 1996. In 1996, when pro-people and pro-liberation government of Sheikh Hasina came to power after 21 years with marginal votes; it neither could reinstate the Collaborators Act nor could revive the original constitution of 1972. Secondly, it followed ‘judicial process and rule of law’ and therefore, it did not set up any ‘kangaroo court or special tribunal’ to prosecute the criminals. One can debate that as a weakness of the Hasina government or not.

    Therefore, it failed to punish the war criminals and the culprits. But that does not justify that the criminals of ‘crime against humanity’ or war criminals should not face justice. It would be unfair if they are allowed to go free or untouched. Fortunately, now is an opportune moment to revive the clause that ‘no religion-based political party can register or contest in Bangladesh election’ and those found guilty of ‘crime against humanity’ to be fully prosecuted. Unless the criminals and murderers are fully prosecuted, you can neither establish ‘rule of law’ nor can stop political killing in Bangladesh.

    More importantly, the International Crime Act of 1973 of Bangladesh is still active and Article 47, Section 3 of the Act allows trial of war criminals. Therefore, the military-backed government of Fakhruddin Ahmed that has started many essential reforms can try the war criminals and punish them provided it has the mindset and commitment. It is unfortunate that its Law Advisor is trying to guillotine the golden opportunity.

    Secondly, Islami activist S. A. Hannan, a retired bureaucrat following the JI party line of argument tried to mislead the public by stating that there was ‘no genocide’ in East Pakistan in 1971.

    Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction of an ethnic, religious or national group. While precise definition varies among genocide scholars, the legal definition of it is found in the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG). Article 2 of the CPPCG defines genocide as “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”[1]

    In 1971 the Pakistan occupation army plus their collaborators like the Jamaat-e-Islam, the Islami Chattra Sangha (currently renamed Islami Chattra Shibir) and their militant killing squads; the Al-Badr and the Al-Shams tried their utmost to apprehend and kill those that demand an ‘independent Bangladesh’. Since majority of Bengali speaking East Pakistanis (Sheikh Mujib got 167 out of 169 seats in East Pakistan) or ethnic group favoured an independent Bangladesh, they waged a war with intent to destroy that ethnic group. The Pak army systematically opened fire on un-armed masses of Bengali ethnic group on the midnight of March 25th 1971 indiscriminately resulting which, as per various reports 19,000 to 25,000 Bengali ethnic people died on that dark night alone and over a period of 10 months, 3 million reportedly killed, 30 million were dislodged from their homes and 10 million had to take refuge in neighbouring India due to cleansing operation, fear and repression. As per global ranking, Bangladesh genocide is second to that of Nazi genocide of Jews.

    In order to cripple the whole ‘Bangalee nationalism and nationhood’ the Pak army in collaboration with the Jamaat-e-Islam and few other such parties and their affiliates systematically and calculatedly murder the Bengali intellectuals, writers, doctors, journalists, educators and their political leadership. In addition, in order to cleanse the society of Hindu population, the Pak army and its collaborators calculatedly killed and/or uprooted them. No wonder, over 10 million East Pakistanis (out of 75 million) mostly Hindu minority took shelter in the neighbouring India. When army captured me on April 20, 1971, they tested me whether I could recite ‘kalima’ (the 1st pillar of Muslim faith) and then they checked whether I had my circumcision, a symbol of being Muslim in the subcontinent. In addition, when the army forced us to lead them in their operations, they repeatedly asked two questions; find ‘Mukti’ (liberation fighter) and Hindu. If such are reported, they would immediately open their fire, weapons and mortars. Such is a testimony of cleansing of a religious group, a clear evidence of genocide. #

    Abdul Momen, Boston, October 29, 2007

    Reactions:

    Saturday, October 27, 2007

    No war criminals and anti-liberation in Bangladesh

    RIPAN KUMAR BISWAS

    WHAT is to prevent anyone from filing cases against someone else accused of collaborating with the Pakistani Army in 1971?

    Is that the blanket amnesty issued by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the first president of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, in January, 1972 due to the pressure from Islamic countries (including the OIC), chaotic internal situation, or the necessity to encourage peace and development steps to be considered for recognition and International Aid without which Bangladesh had the Famine of 1973-74? The general amnesty was the first among many political mistakes which opened the door for rehabilitation of the war criminals of 1971.

    According to his recent comment in a meeting with the Election Commission (EC) of Bangladesh on electoral reforms on October 25, 2007, there are presently no war criminals in Bangladesh and in fact anti-liberation forces were never even existed.

    Ali Ahsan Mujahidi, the Secretary General of the Jamaat-e-Islami, an Islamic fundamentalist party in Bangladesh and the former social welfare minister from 2001-2006 in the last four-party alliance government, further denied his association against liberation of Bangladesh and added that late Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had declared only 195 Pakistani soldiers as war criminals in the liberation war of Bangladesh who later were pardoned and repatriated to Pakistan through Bhutto-Indira Simla pact.

    In a similar remark in an interview with a Dhaka based Bengali daily newspaper on August 8, 2007, Matiur Rahman Nizami, chief of Jamaat-e-Islami and former Industrial Minister, blasted how could they be called or accused as war criminals whether none has even filed a general diary with the police against them.
    .
    Talking with this top two major identity and their association during the liberation war according to the various local or international reports, features, sources, speeches and statements of those accused of war crimes, and the finds of different probes including the People’s Enquiry Commission, both of them, however, were not physically presence in the every killing-campaign proceedings, looting or raping but also were at the center-stage of the anti liberation campaign by helping and providing all necessaries to the Pakistan army with the leadership of Jamaat-e-Islami’s student wing.

    They and their Dhaka murderers in the Al-Badr and Al-Shams were directly involved of the killings of renowned academics, litterateurs, doctors, engineers, journalists and other eminent personalities with a view to leave the nation intellectually crippled on December 14, 2007.

    There are much more evidence and allegations can be submitted including for the others senior Jamaat leaders Abdus Sobhan, Maulana Delwar Hossain Sayeedi, Abdul Kader Molla and Muhammad Kamaruzzaman who were in the delegation to the EC have been charged with war crimes. They all refused to accept that parties on the basis of religion and war criminals will be disqualified to do politics or to contest or even to cast vote in any national elections in Bangladesh. In addition, they reminded that the constitution of Bangladesh does not support the demand since Islam is the state religion and 90 percent of the populations are Muslims.

    When a person or a group is involved against national, racial or religious groups to destroy their political and social institutions, culture, language, national feelings, religion, economic existence, and the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups, what left to mark them as criminals or war criminals? Anti liberation forces in Bangladesh were actively involved to destroy the essential foundations of Bangladesh, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves.

    The world has seen genocide, but the worst genocide in the annals of history, in 1971, could not have been carried out by the Pakistani army only. Local allies of the Pakistan army helped in the attempted extermination.

    According to the July 30, 1971 of the New York Times issue, the Pakistani government recruited more than 22,000 Razakars of a planned force of 35,000. Politically Razakar were composed with the fundamentalist members and supporters from the whole country by the Pakistani military and they were the predecessors of today’s Taliban. Members of both the forces, Razakars and Taliban, were recruited, trained and inducted in the same process.

    Jamaat had been constitutionally banned in Bangladesh up to 1976 since the independence of the country, until late president Ziaur Rahman, who was the chief martial law administrator at the time, reinstated it in mainstream politics despite their fundamentalist ideology. It has steadily rebuilt itself into a strong political force, and was often courted by other parties for support in elections and first came to share state power with BNP in 2001 as part of the immediate past ruling alliance.

    The major political parties in the country Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), Jatiya Party (JP) or even the Awami League (AL), which is supposed to associate closely with the issues of liberation war and its spirit and aspirations of independence, freely did include, within their folds, persons with serious questionable roles in the liberation war. It is not the victory of such persons or religious based political groups rather than the failure of secular democratization when parties like AL need to sign a 5-point pact with Shaikhul Hadis Allama Azizul Haq, leader of Bangladesh Khelafat Majlish (BKH) on December 23, 2006.

    No one has anything to say when election commissioner M Sakhawat Hussain suggested the Jatiya Party (Manju) delegation at the same dialog on electoral laws reforms to produce the list of convicted war criminals before demanding that they should be barred from contesting polls.

    Meanwhile, a case was filed in the Federal Court of Australia on September 20, 2006 under the Genocide Conventions Act 1949 and War Crimes Act, alleged crimes of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity during 1971 by the Pakistani Armed Forces and its collaborators. This is the first time in history that someone named Raymond F Solaiman is attending a court proceeding in relation to the crimes of Genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity during 1971.

    Recently, United States Senate has adopted a legislation titled “Denying Safe Havens to International and War Criminals Act of 1999”. In where for the first time, it has empowered the Attorney General, among others, to transfer international criminals in custody for prosecution. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) of US is denying admission or removing aliens who have committed torture abroad.

    To further consolidate their grip on the country, the defeated forces of the 1971 liberation war are now carrying out bomb attacks across Bangladesh. They don’t believe in democracy, rather they use it as a way of surviving, and propagating their views. Their main aims are the destruction of democracy and the implantation of a totalitarian state based on Sharia law.

    Although the leader of Jamaat-e-Islam Golam Azam’s citizenship was revoked, the whole political scenario was changed after the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. General Ziaur Rahman granted Golam-Azam Bangladeshi citizenship, released all the war criminals imprisoned on various criminal charges and by amending the constitution allowed them to be involved in politics. Many of them awarded and posted with high designation both nationally and internationally.

    Earlier on March 27, 2007, when some freedom fighters at a tea party demanded that the war criminals be prosecuted, Chief of Army Staff Gen Moeen U Ahmed said he would bring up the issue at meetings with the government high-ups.

    It’s not a time to be lenient towards war criminals as the crimes like genocides and the movements against humanity that can make Bangladesh to be an orthodox Islamic republic, negating the concept of secular Bengali nationhood, which was the basis of the liberation war, are not good. #

    Ripan Kumar Biswas is a freelance writer based in New York and first published on October 26, 2007. He could be reached at: Ripan.Biswas@yahoo.com

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