Jamaat played proactive role in 1971 genocide: ICT-2Tapos Kanti Das
The Jamaat-e-Islami, in collaboration with the Pakistani occupation forces, was significantly proactive in carrying out its mission of wiping out the Bengali nation and stood firm against the onslaught of freedom fighters in 1971 in the name of shielding Pakistan, observed the International Crimes Tribunal-2 in its judgment against Jamaat leader Mohammad Kamaruzzaman.
The tribunal on Thursday sentenced Jamaat assistant secretary general Kamaruzzaman to death for war crimes committed in 1971.
It has already been established that the Al-Badr was an action section or armed wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami formed mainly with activists of the party’s student wing, Islami Chatra Sangha, the tribunal said in a section titled ‘The Role of Jamat E Islami (JEI) in 1971’ of its judgment.
The victims and sufferers of the diabolical atrocities do have the right to know the role played by Jamaat in committing those in 1971, maintained the tribunal.
It quoted old newspaper reports and excerpts from authoritative books to depict the role of Jamaat, a potential religion-based political party of the then Pakistan and a brainchild of Mawlana Sayyid Abu’l-A’la Mawdudi, during the independence war.
‘It is found from the book titled “Muktijuddhe Dhaka 1971” that in 1971, Jamat E Islami with [the] intent to provide support and assistance to the Pakistani occupation army by forming [the] armed Razakar and Al-Badr force[s] had obtained government’s recognition for those para[military] forces,’ said the tribunal.
In its judgement, the court also mentioned that it was found in a report published in the April 17, 1971 issue of the daily Sangram that a delegation comprising Central Peace Committee members including Ghulam Azam [also the then amir of Jamaat] in a meeting with the governor of East Pakistan, Lt General Tikka Khan, expressed solidarity and their adherence to the armed forces.
‘Representing the delegation by the then Amir of Jamat E Islami predictably indicates that as an “organisation” JEI, together with other religion[-]based political parties, had endorsed the policy and plan of Pakistani occupation armed force[s] [of] annihilating the Bengali nation,’ the court inferred.
The tribunal in the judgment quoted a paragraph of the book ‘Pakistan between Mosque and Military’ by Hussain Haqqani which narrated that, ‘In addition to motivating the troops with religious frenzy, the regime gave the Jamaat-e-Islami, the various factions of the Muslim League, the Nizam-e-Islam Party, and the Jamiat Ulema Pakistan – the parties that had lost the election to the Awami League – a semiofficial role….These parties functioned as the intelligence network of the Pakistan army.’
Thus it is evinced that Jamaat played a key role in forming the peace committees in 1971 with the objective to crush the Bengali nationalists by maintaining an unholy alliance with the Pakistani army, the tribunal argued.
The tribunal, quoting the June 20, 1971 issue of the daily Sangram, mentioned that ‘The then chief of Jamat E Islami Professor Ghulam Azam afterwards in a press conference in Rawalpindi proposed the government for proper arming of the people having belief [i]n [the] ideology and solidarity of Pakistan to combat the “miscreants” (known as freedom fighters) and their supporters’.
Thus the Pakistan government and the occupation military set up a number of auxiliary forces, such as the Razakars, the Al-Badr, the Al-Shams, the peace committee etc, essentially to act as a team with the Pakistani occupation army in identifying and eliminating all those perceived to be pro-liberation, individuals belonging to minority religious groups, especially the Hindus, political groups belonging to the Awami League, Bangali intellectuals, and unarmed civilian population of Bangladesh, terming them ‘miscreants’ and ‘intruders’, the judgment said.
It quoted a July 1, 2010 report of The Economist as saying that the Al-Badr, formed with Islami Chatra Sangha activists, provided support to the occupation armed forces.
The vital role of Jamaat in creating the Al-Badr is also reflected in the narrative of the book titled ‘Sunset at Midday’ by Mohi Uddin Chowdhury, a leader of the Noakhali district peace committee in 1971 who left Bangladesh for Pakistan in May 1972, said the judgment. It quoted a paragraph of the book, which explained that ‘The workers belonging to purely Islami Chatra Sangha were called Al-Badar, the general patriotic public belonging to Jamaat-e-Islami, Muslim League, Nizam-e-Islami etc were called Al-Shams and the Urdu-speaking [people] generally known as Bihari were called al-Mujahid’.
The Razakar force was formed in May 1971, the tribunal mentioned, quoting a report run by the Dainik Pakistan on May 16, 1971.
The judgment detailed Jamaat’s anti-liberation role and barbaric atrocities in 1971 by quotes from a report published by the New York Times on January 3, 1972 and another by the Pakistan Times on November 28, 1971, a report titled ‘Butchery by Al-Badr’ published in the New Delhi-based Patriot on December 23, 1971, the book titled ‘The Vanguard of the Islamic Revolution: The Jama’at-i-Islami of Pakistan’ by Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr, and a dispatch of New York Times New Delhi correspondent Sydney H Schanberg who was expelled from East Pakistan on June 30, 1971.
In September 1971, the alliance between Jamaat and the Pakistani army was made official when members of the Jamaat-e-Islami of East Pakistan joined the military government of the province, the tribunal mentioned, referring to the book, ‘The Vanguard of the Islamic Revolution: The Jama’at-i-Islami of Pakistan’.
‘[T]he brutality of their contribution, as found, to the perpetration of systematic atrocities indeed was no lesser than that of the Pakistan occupation army. Jamat E Islami, as it is found, acted as the think tank and colluded as key architect of the crimes against humanity committed, in territory of Bangladesh in 1971, in violation of customary international law,’ it remarked in the judgment.
Williams A Boe, the then secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council who flew in Calcutta from Delhi, told newsmen at Dum Dum airport on October 10, 1971 that ‘the influx of over nine million evacuees into India could be said to be “the biggest tragedy since World War II,’ the tribunal mentioned with reference to Bangladesh Documents, Volume II, published by the Indian external affairs ministry, adding that it demonstrated the extent of reigning terror throughout the country by the Pakistani occupation army with the aid of its paramilitary forces – Al-Badar, Razakars – the creations of Jamaat-e-Islami.
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