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On Muktijuddho and related
matters - III


The people of Bangladesh could have taken up the law into their own hands many other nations have done it in the past in the matter of punishing the 1971 war criminals and those responsible for the excesses against humanity before and during our War of Liberation, so deep is our wound. But, we did not want to imitate their barbaric act. Instead we sought a trial to bring the heinous perpetrators to book.

That this column had stood firm on this demand and related matters since it began in 1995 is in the extracts below:

18 April 2001
We are quite good at describing the charred remains of the unfortunate victims, the dramatics of the injured writhing in insufferable pain, the hysterics of the near and dear ones… But what are we doing about it?

There was humanism here once upon a time.

Is it not the same 'we' who formed a long michil behind the bloodied shirt of Shahid Matiur hoisted on a humble bamboo over thirty years ago?

The day Asad embraced martyrdom the common man in the street renamed Mohammadpur's Ayub Gate as Asad Gate that very evening; as spontaneously as that. No meeting, no resolutions, no fodder from any political party or belief was necessary.

6 August 2002
Because the pain in Bangladesh was caused by one event the unleashing of a genocide, one of the most gruesome human tragedies in history, and sustained brutality by the Pakistanis on our unarmed people through which lakhs of civilians were massacred, thousands of our sisters and mothers were raped, millions were uprooted from their homes and forced to find refuge in neighbouring India and elsewhere, the nation's economy and infrastructure were totally destroyed, and our intellectuals were systematically murdered;

Whereas the pain in Pakistan may have been due to quite another event the loss of its fountainhead of fortune East Pakistan, which it exploited, neglected and discriminated against since1947 by the power of the gun and shameful deceit. Its grisly plan to obliterate and cripple in 1971 almost the entire Bangalee population remains one of the most treacherous cases of betrayal by Muslims on Muslims.

13 May 2004
In the gloom that settled in the House, lawmakers from all parties, except for the Jamaat-e-Islami, mourned the assassination of Ahsanullah Master, a renowned freedom fighter and a highly admired labour leader, a devout Muslim, who got up from the meeting to offer his Jumma prayers just before being shot. At the session Krishak Sramik Janata League lawmaker Kader Siddiqui requested the chair not to allow any Jamaat-e-Islami lawmaker to conduct the munajat as Ahsanullah was a prominent freedom fighter.

The speaker moved the obituary reference, reading, "The nation lost an eminent politician, a freedom fighter and a social worker (at his death). This parliament expresses deep shock and sorrow at his death and sympathises with the members of the bereaved family." (DS 13 May)

Let us also not forget the little boy of ten, perhaps twelve, who was also gunned down in the mindless gunfire. Let us also pray for the unknowns who are innocent victims of the continuing terrorism, and there have been many.

Sir will not be back. But let his gruesome death mark the beginning of a joint campaign by all parties to rise above party lines and weed out those responsible for making the life of the common man intolerable.

14 November 2005
While today visiting Pakistani leaders conveniently salute the martyrs of this land that verily their soldiers killed, it has evaded apologising and financially compensating (for moral compensation is impossible) for one of the most grisly crimes in the history of mankind. In fact, Pakistani leaders should not be allowed to set foot on the Jatiya Smriti Soudha, bathed in sacred blood of countless shaheeds, until they (Pakistan) have asked for forgiveness for their sin.

The mother of the child lost in 1971 still wipes a tear. The widow hopelessly longs for the return of her loved one. The child of a shaheed expects every other living parent to at least feel, if not fight for the cause his father laid down his life.

The cruelty of the Pakistani junta aided by a predisposed civil service of the 1960s and 70s may be gauged to some extent by the treatment it is meting out to its supporters, languishing in sub-human conditions in the so-called Bihari camps in Bangladesh. A country that cannot shoulder its responsibility for its opted citizens for 35 long years has a lot to learn about Islamic values and brotherhood two of the many blames the mainly West Pakistanis levelled against the Bengali population in pre-1971. Let us pick up the folk tune and sing in chorus, 'Feel like laughing when we hear…' If that does not ring a bell, try “shunle moder haashi paay…”



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