Published: Thursday, May 9, 2013

Yusuf involved in genocide

Formal charges against Razakar 'founder'

Yusuf involved in genocideAKM Yusuf, infamous as the founder of the Razakar force, was “involved” in at least seven instances of genocide in Khulna during the Liberation War in 1971.
The prosecution yesterday submitted formal charges against war crimes suspect Yousuf to International Crimes Tribunal-1 through the registrar’s office.
One of the seven genocide charges brought against him says around 600-700 unarmed Hindus of Dakra village in Bagerhat were killed at a temple by Razakars as ordered by the suspect on May 21, 1971.
The 15 war crimes charges pressed by the prosecution include genocide, killing, looting, arson, religious conversion and deportation of people.
The prosecution also filed a petition with the registrar’s office seeking issuance of a warrant against Yousuf and sending him to jail.
According to the International Crimes Tribunal Act, 1973, tribunal-1 will pass an order whether the charges are taken into cognisance.
Registrar AKM Nasiruddin Mahmud told The Daily Star yesterday that tribunal-1 had yet to fix a date to decide about the charges or pass an order regarding Yousuf’s arrest.
The formal charges say on May 21, 1971 around 3,000-4,000 Hindus from about 22 villages took shelter in the famous Kali Mandir [temple] at Dakra in Bagerhat.
Two local Muslim League leaders — Liakat Ali Gaznabi and Altab Gaznabi — informed Yousuf about the gathering at the temple.
Yousuf sent 40 to 50 Razakars led by locally influential collaborator Badar Ali Fakir to kill the Hindus. At around 3:00pm the Razakars reached Dakra on two big boats and approached the temple from its eastern and western sides.
“They approached the temple from both sides, opening fire and killing whoever they found in the way,” the charge reads.
The priest of the temple, Binod Bihari Chakrabarty, was surrounded by hundreds of people. The Razakars opened fire on them and within a moment the Kalibari playground turned into a pile of bodies.
The Razakars also charged bayonets and knives on the injured to ensure their death.
OTHER 14 CHARGES IN BRIEF
At a Peace Committee meeting in Rampal on April 19, 1971 Yousuf openly directed his followers to carry out loot and vandalism.
The homes of about 300-400 Hindus in 10 villages in Kachua were looted and set on fire on April 22.
On May 17 commercial and residential houses were looted and set on fire at Morelganj Bazar.
The following information was made available regarding Yousuf’s role in 1971:
Genocide, looting and arson were committed on May 13 at Ranjitpur; genocide committed at Morelganj Bazar on May 19; commission of genocide at Chulkathi on October 14; genocide at Moghia on the following day; commission of genocide on November 5-6 at Shakharikathi; religious conversion and genocide at Shakharikathi in mid-July; killing of one Abu Bakkar Siddiqui at Morelganj on May 13; killings at Rayenda on June 7; Tafalbari killing on June 9; Dr Mazid’s killing at Morelganj on July 26; and one Salam was killed at Rayenda on July 29, 1971.
Earlier, tribunal-1 asked the prosecution to submit formal charges against war crimes suspect and Jamaat leader ATM Azharul Islam on June 30.
Prosecutor Zead Al Malum yesterday submitted the progress report of ongoing investigations into the crimes allegedly committed by the war crimes suspect.