“Now it is being said that no war criminal exists in the country. Maybe after some time it would be said that the Liberation War never took place. All this will mean we will be deprived of the real history.” - Former chief justice and chairman of the Law Commission Mostafa KamalBangladeshis were outraged by the Islamist political party Jamaat-e-Islami's leader Ali Ahsan Muzahid's statement that "Jamaat did not work against the Liberation War in 1971 and there are no war criminals in the country."
Before we go dissecting the above statement 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. A few excerpts:
Addressing a gathering of Razakars in Jessore, Nizami said, "Every single one of us must identify ourselves as soldiers of Islam and we have to use all our forces to destroy the people who are involved in an armed conspiracy against Pakistan and Islam," (The Daily) Sangram reported on September 15.Here is the background of Ali Ahsan Muzahid.
The next day Nizami urged his followers to "confront and reveal the true identity of the so-called Bengali-lovers".
While visiting an Al-Badr camp on September 22, Nizami said, "Only the patriotic youths of East Pakistan can effectively annihilate the Indian infiltrators and their local agents."
Golam Azam (the then Jamaat Ameer)at the party council of Kushtia district unit in the second week of August 1971 described the freedom fighters as criminals and directed the party workers to resist them. He also directed formation of Shanti Bahini (peace committee) in every village of the country. He told the meeting that very soon the Razakars, Mojaheed and police would be able to resist the "criminals", said document No. 549 (159)-PL.S(I) signed by the then home secretary MM Kazim on September 14.
So it is a call of the time to try the proven war criminals and bring proceedings against them. This is what war heroes are demanding.
This is required because Jamaat leaders are vowing that no case have been brought against the alleged war criminals so why should people call them criminals. In 1974 a general amnesty was declared for the war criminals as people were taking law in their own hand in those times of political turmoil. Later on Jamaat as a party was rehabilitated, which still contains some of the war criminals and they are even made partners of the government.
Dr. Zia Uddin Ahmed wrote a brilliant piece in 1997 where he said about Amnesty:
Post-genocide traumatized society often has to make a dichotomous choice between two perilous options, should the perpetrators be prosecuted or should they be amnestied in the interests of national reconciliation. (Amnesty) is discriminatory application of criminal law, privileging certain defendants, which bread cynicism toward the rule of law.Zia Uddin describes in his article about ways to deal with the past and how to systematically bring the war criminals to trial.
States have the duty to prosecute violations of international law like genocide. Such crimes cannot be unilaterally forgiven; even a victim society cannot forgive crimes against humanity.
There is another theory that Jamaat is wanting that charges are being brought against the war criminal. Because of the complicated and corrupted Judiciary and lack of evidence (after 36 years) they can get easily acquitted. So the court order will give them more power to deny the truth.
So it is imperative that the cases should be brought in international tribunals. We need our Simon Wiesenthal who hunted for the Nazis all his life.
The above video shows the student wing of Jamaat, the Islami chatro Shibir is participating in a rally posing as Muktijoddhas (freedom fighters).This is how they are changing colors.
Even some persons in Government are apologists towards them. Jamaat's Islamic militancy connection is widely known but neglected by the Government.
Some documents in public domains allege that the military intelligence in Bangladesh is subverting political process to breed a new political landscape. (Read the Washington Post's article A New Hub for Terrorism: to see the documented linkage between Jamaat and the current DGFI). "What makes future prospects in Bangladesh especially alarming is that the Jamaat and its allies appear to be penetrating the higher ranks of the armed forces. Among many examples, informed journalists in Dhaka attribute Jamaat sympathies to Maj. Gen. Mohammed Aminul Karim, recently appointed as military secretary to President Iajuddin Ahmed, and to Brig. Gen. A.T.M. Amin, director of the Armed Forces Intelligence anti-terrorism bureau".)
These are worrying signs but let me remind you the people cannot be fooled always. Well aware Bangladeshis will not let it happen that easily. The reactions I am seeing on the web is enormous. Statements like this from Jamaat will create a commotion among the public. And if people rise then the consequences will not be limited to war of words only.
Reminding you about the liberation war with this song of Joan Baez sang by a Bangladeshi: