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Bangladesh: War Criminals and Denials

During the Liberation war of Bangladesh in 1971 most of the people of the nation supported the fight for independence from Pakistan except for a few groups being the fifth column. Jamaat-e-Islami is the oldest religious party in Pakistan and its Bangladesh chapter collaborated with the Pakistan army to unsuccessfully prevent the independence of Bangladesh in 1971. Besides providing information of the pro-independence forces to the Pakistani army Jamaat also created many militia organizations such as Razakar, Al badr, Al shams in order to capture and eventually kill freedom fighters of Bangladesh. A large section of the intellectual community of Bangladesh was murdered by Al Badr and Al Shams when they saw the defeat was coming. Jamaat was subsequently banned, then restored in 1978 as the progressive political parties in Bangladesh in power allowed them space and made them qualition partners eventually.

Recently Bangladeshis were outraged by the Jamaat-e-Islam’s leader Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mujahid’s statement that “Jamaat did not work against the Liberation War in 1971 and there are no war criminals in the country” and former Islami Bank chairman and Jamaat-e-Islami think-tank Shah abdul Hannan's remark that the liberation war was only a “civil war”. Drishtipat Blog has summarized lots of denials, response, analysis, politics and fact files on this issue and a heated discussion took place in the comments section.

E-Bangladesh thinks this is an attempt to rewrite history and comments:

this contradicts with the Jamaat leaders statement during the liberation war in 1971, in which they sided with Pakistan and aided Pakistani army to kill and rape Bangladeshis which resulted in one of the worst genocides of the world.

demonsShadakalo did not try to hide emotions:

I want to see these snakes tried for war crimes before they die of natural causes.

Tacit questions the intentions of Jamaat and comments:

“With their announcement, Jamaat has in effect heralded politicking back into Bangladesh’s mainstream discourse.”

Lal Dorza reports that Jamaat leaders are vowing that no case has been brought [bn] against the alleged war criminals so why should people call them criminals. In 1974 a general amnesty was declared for some of the war criminals.

However Eskimo reminds [bn] that the amnesty was not a blanket one but limited to only those persons who did not have specific charges against them. The 3rd world view quotes Dr. Hasan, convenor of War Crimes Fact Finding Committee, a group investigating war crimes by Pakistani army and their local collaborators in 1971, who calls Muzahid's statement a blatant lie:

“We have strong evidence and documents against the people who were involved in war crimes during the Liberation War and what is needed now to bring the culprits to justice is an initiative.”

In 1994, a national people's inquiry commission conducted a trial on eight war criminals of Bangladesh (including Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mujahid) and presented a report in 1995 which can be found here. The report concludes:

The Inquiry Commission after reviewing the offences of the accused and related laws came to a conclusion that these criminals can be tried under the International Crime (Tribunal) Act 1973. To make the sovereignty of Bangladesh safe and sound, to ensure peace, human rights and dignity these criminals (killers, collaborators and war criminals) must be brought to the justice. The commission strongly recommends trial of these offences.

However for unknown reasons the succeeding governments of Bangladesh failed to take any actions against them. Leading commentators also suggest that it is high time to take actions against the war criminals. Because of lack of solid evidence after 36 years it would be appropriate to implement other measures like establishing a truth commission to deal with these crimes.

Bloggers like Eskimo are demanding [bn] that Jamaat should not have the right to be active in politics in Bangladesh. They are pointing out that its main agenda is to form a religious state which is in contradiction to the current state of democracy, judicary, constitution and social structure of the country. Some bloggers even put together an website called “Ban Jamaat-e-Islami” to propagate their protests.

Mash posts some video footages and newspaper articles on the 1971 genocide of Bangladesh. ShadaKalo posts some images of the genocide the Pakistani army and their collaborators committed against the Bangladeshis in 1971 and reiterates the words:

I will not forget. I will not let you forget.

  • lcarsnet

    I am a Bangladeshi and strongly believes that the whole liberation war was a mistake. It was the fruit of the gross incompetence of our the then leards, especially penguin-coat Mujib, and their lack of political maturity.

    Thanks to their deplorably leadership quality – we, Bangladeshis, will never be able to rule Pakistan.

  • http://dhakashohor.blogspot.com DhakaShohor

    I am a Bangladeshi and I believe that joining a two-faced snake like Jinnah in 1947 was a mistake. Thanks to the incompetence of our leaders back then, esp. Fazlul Huq and Suhrawardy, we were never able to rule all of East British India.

    Now I don’t necessarily believe the above. But I find it funny that a supposed “Bangladeshi” sees it fit to blame Mujib and those who fought for us and led us, rather than blaming those who oppressed us. Complete partisanship. Ashamed to call myself Bangladeshi at the moment.

  • http://atunu.blogspot.com Atunu

    I see words, big words. huge sentences, monstrous proposals and other assorted crafts. That is fine and dandy, but I think we are forgetting a tinsy-winsy point of note.

    This is Bangladesh where 58~65% people can write their names..and about 40% of them writes it backwards . How can we expect to cause a mass rift among folks like these with left-wing, liberal propaganda efforts like distributing flyers or making complementary posters? Did anyone find out what happened to the so called “Nilima Andolon” protesting the slaying of the former Finance Minister? You know, those scenes where a bunch of socio-political elites with their snobbish “I have a better understanding of Goethe than you do” attitude would stand around the corners of the street wearing only blue clothing and holding protest signs. Nobody gave a flying fudge about them.

    What we need is “Viral Media Outbreak” and Media Saboteuring work against a common evil. In doing so, we can’t afford to alienate the religiously impulsed majority of the country. In previous years, most of these “Anti YOU KNOW WHO” efforts were propelled by publicly declared atheists like Kabir Chowdhury, which ironically I must rephrase, might’ve cause some negative effects. So in order to bring about moderate views in our society that is free of any influences from “YOU KNOW WHO…AND YOU KNOW WHAT”, we must progress tactically…defeating “YOU KNOW WHOM” in their own game of cat and genetically altered mouse.

    The defence rests

    Ref: “YOU KNOW WHO” doesn’t refer to the legendary antagonist of the world of Harry potter. Mind that.

  • http://atunu.blogspot.com Atunu

    Oh, another thing…I just can’t resist saying a few words to the first commenter.. here goes

    “Thanks to their deplorably leadership quality – we, Bangladeshis, will never be able to rule Pakistan.”

    Judging by the recent events in Pak-E-Stain, I would thank one other person “GOD” :) Although, us Bangladeshis are pretty self righteous bastards ourselves, but we can’t possibly match the level of Entropy displayed by Postuns and Panjabis. Let me quote a few lines from the Star Wars chronicles that I see would best fit the situation:

    ” Padmé: [to Bail Organa] So this is how liberty dies… with thunderous applause. ”

    Capische?

  • lcarsnet

    “..but we can’t possibly match the level of Entropy displayed by Postuns and Panjabis” – You think so? Perhaps a cup of coffee would refresh our senses :)

  • lcarsnet

    “Ashamed to call myself Bangladeshi at the moment.” – Welcome aboard :)

  • Bangladeshi

    Creation of Bangladesh was inevitable – had it not happened
    in 1971 then eventually it would. India helped in disintegrating Pakistan to serve their own interest – it was not because of it’s GREATNESS – we felt it right after the independence. Infact, had Mujib been not there India would have annexed us just like it did to Sikkim. We need to be aware that Rajkars are war criminals and they must be
    prosecuted. But at the same time we need to be very careful
    not to weaken our nationalist ideology – we are Bangladeshi( not just Bangalee) and fought against Pakistan and do the same against India if it tries to meddle in our national intertest.

    There is need for us to end the pro and anti liberation divisive politics (as it is in best interest of RAW of India to keep it alive and utilize it against us to deter our economic emancipation). Rajakar issue must be resolve d once and for all by taking proper legal actions. Pakistan is 1500 miles away and we are done with them. Now we need to move on and concentrate on the immediate threat of Indian ‘failed state’ propaganda. The more we become engaged in divisive politics the easier it would be for India to weaken us. So, Let’s not let that happen.

  • crypticfate

    I am amazed to see that how this ignorant secular liberals like Rezwans twist the facts to serve their own purpose. First of all, Shah Hannan is NOT a Jamaat Leader. so calling him a Jamaat leader is a total lie and an indication of this blogger’s ignorance. Secondly Shah Hannan admitted that it was a liberation struggle for the Bangalis but then he also said many in the world consider this as a civil war between political forces. You can read the full transcript or watch the video on youtube to know what he REALLY said on that interview.

  • http://www.fugstar.blogspot.com fugstar

    You are putting words into shah abdul hannan’s mouth. This really makes your cause look a bit naff and the chain of narration faulty. He was adamant about not speaking as a representative of JIB. He is not an official leader of said organisation, and he mentioned that it was both a liberation and a civil war. Its plain for all to see on youtube.

  • R SMAHMOOD

    I suggest that a “TRUTH and RECONCILIATION COMMISSION” on the same lines as the South African ONE be SET UP. Both the Bangla Desh and the Pakistan Governments should honestly participate and fully cooperate. this will go a long way in clarifying FACT from FICTION. Any one should be given the right to press charges on the basis of the Evidence they have or may collect or obtain.

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