Hasina Sarkar Targets Razakars After 48 Years of '71 War
| Onkareshwar Pandey - Editor in Chief - CEO, IOP - 17 Dec 2019

Bangladesh:

Razakars Helped the Pakistan Army to Butcher 30 Lakh Bengali Muslims and Hindus and Raped over 2 Lakh Women During '71 Liberation War 

By Onkareshwar Pandey & VK Gaur

Nearly five decades after Bangladesh gained independence Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina led Government has released the names of 10,789 Razakars, who were responsible for the genocide of over 30 lakh Bengali Muslims and Hindus and the industrial-scale rape of over 2 lakh women in their infamous rape camps in collaboration with the predominantly Sunni Punjabi Pakistan army. 

Razakars was a militia force formed by the Pakistan military through an ordinance promulgated in 1971 to help the army suppress any rebellion in the country. They were the volunteers who actively took part in the acts of murder, rape, and looting in erstwhile East Pakistan. 

In Bangladesh, Razakar is a pejorative word meaning a traitor and this auxiliary group systematically with the support of the Pakistan army, targeted Hindus and Bengali nationalists during the 1971 liberation war.

AKM Yusuf, a member of fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami, was believed to be the founder of the Razakar force. He was arrested in May 2013 and charged with crimes against humanity but he died of cardiac arrest in 2014 while in detention.

There is still no specific data on exactly how many Bangladeshis collaborated with the Pakistani occupation forces and committed crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War.

But the Liberation War Ministry of Bangladesh on 15 Dec 19 (48 years after birth of Bangladesh) published first list of the Razakars who were collaborators of the Pakistani occupation forces. 

Ex-Bangladesh prime minister (April, 1979 to March, 1982) Shah Azizur Rahman, the then Chakma Circle chief Raja Tridiv Roy, BNP leader Julmat Ali Khan and Jamaat leader Moulana Abdus Sobhan are also on the list.

Shah Azizur Rahman, (Born in Kushtia, Bengal in 23 Nov 1925 and Died on Sep 1,1989), an arts graduate from Calcutta University who went on to study at Dhaka University, was a staunch and active supporter of Pakistan movement and always worked in collaboration with the Pakistan Army against the struggle to establish Bangladesh. He was opposed to the Bengali Language movement of 1952, a vocal opponent of Bengali leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his Awami League, which advocated greater autonomy for East Pakistan. At the outbreak of the Bangladesh Liberation War, Rahman supported the Pakistani state forces and denounced the Bengali nationalist struggle.

He led the Pakistani delegation to the United Nations in Nov 1971, where he would emphatically deny that the Pakistan Army's Operation Searchlight had degenerated into genocide. In 1971, following the defeat of Pakistan in the Bangladesh Liberation War, Rahman was arrested under the collaborators' act but was released in 1973 under a general amnesty by President Sheikh Mujib.

The first installment of Razakars’ list is less than a third of a fully exhaustive list, which the minister expects to be ready by March 25, 2020. Many collaborators were eliminated by advancing columns of Bengali liberators in Dec71.

“In the first phase, we are publishing a list of 10,789 Razakars reviewing the documents of the home ministry,” Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque told in a press conference in Dhaka on the eve of the nation’s Victory Day.

It is learned, lists of more Razakars will be published in phases after proper scrutiny and examination.

“We are publishing the list of those Razakars, Al-Badr, Al-Shams or anti-liberation elements who were appointed by the Pakistan government in 1971, after scrutinizing the old documents preserved at the home ministry,” he said.

He said efforts are underway to recover all the gazettes published in 1971. The minister also published a draft list of freedom fighters and said actually the number of freedom fighters will not be more than 2.10 lakh. At present 2,01,461 freedom fighters are getting allowances.

The final list of freedom fighters will be published by the next Independence Day on March 26, 2020, he added.

Explaining the background, Mozammel said, “the then BNP-Jamaat government in 2002 initiated the process of compiling a list of freedom fighters by establishing the Jatio Muktijoddha Council. The council was made responsible to make the list while the Liberation War Ministry was assigned to only gazette the list. But breaching their own law, the then government started manipulating the lists and included some 44,000 names.”

The process of scrutinizing the list started in 2017 by forming a committee in each Upazila that consisted of six freedom fighters and a UNO who was assigned to do the secretarial task.

“After we started we received some 6 lakh names and the estimated number of actual freedom fighters came down to 251,000, right now,” he said.

In January 1972, the then Bangladesh government had enacted a law to try the collaborators and war criminals. After that, 37,000 people were arrested and sent to jail. About 26,000 were freed following the announcement of a general amnesty.

Around 11,000 were behind bars when the government of Justice Sayem and General Ziaur Rahman repealed the Collaborators Act on December 31, 1975. An appeal spree and release of war criminals en masse followed the scrapping of the law.

The minister said many documents and records of Razakars, Al-Badrs and Al-Shams were destroyed in various ways as the anti-liberation forces stayed in the state power for a long time.

He said the present government is determined to bring the anti-liberation forces to justice.

It may be recalled that Bangladesh as a sovereign nation came to existence on 16 Dec 1971 after the total collapse of Pak armed forces.

Pakistan army on 25/26 Mar71 launched operation SEARCHLIGHT. 

For nine long months Pak armed forces comprising of Jamaat-e Islam, Nagorik Santi committee, Razakars, Al-Shams and Al-Badrs were on the rampage.

Most tyrant components were pro –Islamic, anti- Hindu and anti-Awami League. Razakars, Al-Badrs and Al-Shams were religious radical militia. They actively participated in mass murders, deportation, genocide, kidnapping, rape, arson, and loot.

Razakars worked as the eyes and ears of the Pak army. They ransacked harmony, peace, stability and law and order in East Bengal (now Bangladesh).

WHEN 200 BENGALI INTELLECTUALS KILLED IN ONE NIGHT

On the night of 14 December 1971, over 200 East Pakistan's intellectuals including professors, journalists, doctors, artists, engineers, and writers were rounded up in Dhaka. That lists 991 teachers and professors, 49 doctors, 42 lawyers, 13 journalists, and 16 others including artists, engineers, and non-journalistic writers. 

They were taken blindfolded to torture cells in Mirpur, Mohammadpur, Nakhalpara, Rajarbagh and other locations in different sections of the city. They were later executed en masse, most notably at Rayerbazar and Mirpur. In memory of the martyred intellectuals, 14 December is mourned in Bangladesh as Shaheed Buddhijibi Dibosh.

Details of the Bangladesh “War Crimes” committed by Pakistan army and East Pakistani collaborators known as Razakars are brilliantly documented by former American diplomat Archer Kent Blood who was the last American Consul General to Dhaka, Bangladesh (East Pakistan at the time).

There is also a Pulitzer Prize finalist book ‘The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide by author Gary J Bass and in this book there are full details of how the Americans knew about the murder and rape of men and women of East Pakistan but did nothing due to strategic reasons and then president Nixon’s hatred towards India.

BACKGROUND OF PAKISTANI GENOCIDE IN EAST PAKISTAN

The story begins, as do so many in our modern world, with the end of the British Empire. In 1947, when the British quit India, they lopped off its majority Muslim flanks in the east and west. At the time, the partition unfolded in a frenzy of murder and expulsion, leaving a million people dead. Pakistan emerged as one of the largest countries in the world but improbably divided into two parts by more than a thousand miles of Indian Territory. When you look at a map from that time, you have to wonder what on earth the cartographers were thinking,.

Pakistan carried on for 23 years like that, with the more numerous Bengalis in the east feeling increasingly neglected by their Punjabi brethren in the west, where the capital was. Things came to a head in December 1970, when Sheik Mujib-ur-¬Rahman, a pipe-smoking Bengali leader, and his party, the Awami League, won the elections on the promise of autonomy for East Pakistan. (Whatever he wanted privately, he did not call for independence.) Rahman never got a chance to form a government. Gen. Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan, egged on by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the second-place finisher, arrested Rahman and ordered the army to crush the Bengalis. Dominated by Punjabis, the army moved brutally, shooting and detaining Bengali leaders, intellectuals and anyone who opposed them, wrote Dexter Filkins in an article published in the Newyork Times on Sept. 27, 2013.  

File Image credit - Dhaka Tribune / Wikipedia / UNB Dot Com

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(Onkareshwar Pandey is Founder, Editor in Chief & CEO, Indian Observer Post, and former Senior Group Editor- Rashtriya Sahara (Hindi & Urdu) and also former Editor, (News), ANIhttp://bit.ly/2mh7hih Email - editoronkar@gmail.com) 


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INDIAN OBSERVER POST (IOP) is a Class, Creative, and Constructive News platform which publishes ONLY exclusive and Special News / Views / Interviews / Research Articles / Analysis / Columns / Features and Opinions on the national and international issues, politics, security, energy, innovation, infrastructure, rural, health, education, women, and entertainment. Email – editor@indianobserverpost.com


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(Onkareshwar Pandey is Founder, Editor in Chief & CEO, Indian Observer Post and former Senior Group Editor- Rashtriya Sahara (Hindi & Urdu) and also former Editor, (News), ANI. http://bit.ly/2mh7hih Email - SMS- 9910150119)


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