Friday, February 23, 2007

What about the war criminals of Bangladesh?

RIPAN KUMAR BISWAS

Couple of days before, I watched a Bengali drama titled, “Ajob Chele” (strange boy) written by eminent teacher-writer Dr. Muhammad Jafor Iqbal. According to the drama, a strange boy completed the distance between Dhaka and Birampur, a border of Bangladesh-India by walking to feel his mother’s pain while she had to complete the same distance by walking with her pregnancy in 1971.

Like others Hindu family in Bangladesh, the strange boy’s parents need to flee India during the independence. A short while after his birth, his mother died at Birampur due to huge sufferings. The boy tried to feel how much pain and problem his mother had to face during the birth of him and Bangladesh.

Bangladesh has so many days to feel those pains and problems like the February 21, the March 26, the December 14, the December 16 and many more. General people, government, different type of organizations and media usually try to pay their heartiest homage to those brave people of Bangladesh who had to sacrifice their life due to their patriotism. Remembering their sacrifice, it is too much impossible for every Bangladeshi to forget the barbaric killing of 1971 which was only possible with the help of some demons of Bangladesh.

The interim government is trying to fight against corruption. But has Bangladesh any plan to exorcise the demons of 1971 as the present government is not bound to keep any coalition even with the war criminals?

The people of Bangladesh can hardly expect any trial against this traitors as every political party in Bangladesh has a deep collaboration with them. Now Bangladesh has an international figure, noble laureate Dr. Muhammad Yunus. Will it be too much for him if the people of Bangladesh ask for trail against the traitors as he is giving a bunch of hopes and dreams to every Bangladeshi for a new Bangladesh?

Today, these demons that collaborated with the Pakistan army and murdered countless people of Bangladesh are even using the national flag of Bangladesh. Isn’t a big pain for Bangladeshis?

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 Talibans. Members of both the forces, Razakars and Talibans, were recruited, trained and inducted in the same process. Besides this, Al-Badars and Al-Shams were composed with the members of the student wing of the fundamentalist party Jamaat-e-Islami and the follower of ‘Moududi (a political leader Maulana Abul Ala Moududi)’ ideology.

During the liberation war in 1971, the collaborators of Pakistani army provided intelligence against the freedom fighter, the supporters and sympathizers of the war and abducted, arrested and eventually killed them with the help of the Pakistani army. They became happy to burn the houses and loot the properties of Bangladeshis. In addition, they kidnapped thousands of Bangalee women and trafficked them to various Pakistani military camps and raped and molested 450,000 Bangalee women.

The Pakistan army, on the verge of defeat, was determined to wipe out Bengali culture in one final act of barbarism with the help of the war criminals of Bangladesh. On December 14, 1971, the Pakistan army unleashed the paramilitary units Al-Badr and Al-Shams to exterminate Bengali intellectuals.

The goal was to find and kill Bengali political thinkers, educators, scientists, poets, doctors, lawyers, journalists and other intellectuals. The Al-Badr and Al-Shams fanned out with lists of names to find and execute the core of Bengali intellectuals. The intellectuals were arrested and taken to Rayerbazar, a marshy area in Dhaka city. There, they were gunned down with their eyes blindfolded and their hands tied behind their backs.

Members of Razakar. Al-Badr and Al-Shams are leading now the various political parties like Jamaat-e-Islami, Islami oikko Jot, Khelafat-e-Majlish and many more while others live freely in foreign countries. They are capable to grab the seats of the Parliament of Bangladesh. None of these criminals have yet to face any trial for the crimes they committed in 1971.

Although the leader of Jamat-e-Islam Golam Azam’s citizenship was revoked and Matiur Rahman Nizami and other top leaders were sent to jail under trial, the whole political scenario was changed after the assassination of Sheikh Mujibar 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. And the journey against humanity begins once again in full suing.

As a result of the last thirty five years of their pampering journey with the help of corrupt politicians, bureaucrat and so-called national leaders, the once loathed demons of Bangladesh now became the most powerful people of Bangladesh, a country ironically they fought against.

Being in power in the last government, they deliberately destroyed (while the Bangladesh Nationalist party leaders were busy stealing the public money to get rich) the main political / social institutions of Bangladesh and rewrote the history of Bangladesh liberation war. Even they banished the history of independence from the history texts of Bangladeshi schools.

In 1992, after restoration of democracy, an unofficial but popular “Court of People” sentenced Golam Azam and his ten accomplices to death for war crimes and crimes against humanity. But later on, verdict was ignored and banished.

The religious extremism has been growing in Bangladesh for decades now. Although these forces were put in total disarray after their defeat in 1971, they have managed to regroup due to subsequent political patronage. They were further helped in their revival by the confrontationist politics of Bangladesh.

To further consolidate their grip on the country, the defeated forces of the 1971 Liberation War are now carrying out bomb attacks across Bangladesh. The forces, namely Razakar, Al-Badr and Al-Shams, who massacred the frontline intellectuals and professionals at the fag end of the liberation war in 1971, are the masterminds behind this bomb terrorism.

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.

Thirty-five years after the birth of the nation, many have forgotten the sacrifices of those who are no longer with us. But for those of us who survived, for our parents who kept us safe through the months of terror, there is no erasing the horrors of 1971.

Very often, it is regular to see the sufferings, humiliation and deprivation of freedom fighters of Bangladesh. Some of them are rickshaw-pullers, street slumbers or even beggars. Most of the countries in the world respect their freedom fighters and senior citizens for their great contribution towards the country. Government has special priorities for those great heroes.

Freedom fighters don’t need only a monthly token money. There is no such development program in order to rehabilitate destitute freedom fighters and victims of liberation war and their families. A country can’t ever rise without paying attention to the country’s great heroes.

Today Bangladesh that was born from the ashes of 1971 is under the same threat. It is under threat from the same anti-liberation forces that helped perpetrate the genocide of 1971. Bangladeshis is still now experiencing the same history of both racism and religious extremism due to the war criminals.

Former president of Iraq Mr. Saddam Hussein was executed by hanging after being convicted of crime against humanity for the murder of 148 Iraqi Shia in the town of Dujail in 1982. Then what about for the murder of 3 million innocent people? What about 450,000 women, raped and molested by Pakistani army? #

Ripan Kumar Biswas is a freelance writer based in New York