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Al-Badr in Mymensingh

Kamaruzzaman was kingpin

War crimes tribunal told

Under the leadership of Muhammad Kamaruzzaman, the Islami Chhatra Sangha of Mymensingh in its entirety was incorporated into the collaborator force Al-Badr within just a month during the Liberation War, read a prosecution exhibit.

All the activists of Mymensingh Chhatra Sangha, then student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, were also given weapons training.

Quoting a report of Bangla daily Sangram's issue of August 16, 1971, a book, the exhibit, says, Kamaruzzaman as the then “Chief of the Mymensingh district Islami Chhatra Sangha” presided over the programme organised by Al-Badr force at Mymensingh to mark the 25th Pakistan Independence Day.

Amena Khatun, a documentation officer of the Liberation War Museum, yesterday testified before the International Crimes Tribunal-2 as the second seizure-list witness in the war crimes case against the Jamaat-e-Islami assistant secretary general.

Amena, also the 17th prosecution witness, said Monowara Begum, a member of the investigation agency designated to probe war crimes cases, seized the book from the Liberation War Museum on March 3, 2011.

Amena yesterday mentioned the relevant parts of the book titled “Ekattorer Ghatak O Dalalra Ke Kothaye”. It is on the accounts of the killers and collaborators of the Liberation War.

She talked about the last paragraph of page-111 and first paragraph of page-112 of the book.

A prosecutor read out from the book, “As soon as the voluntary force of the Al-Badr was formed in Jamalpur, the leaders of the Jamaat realised that not only could the armed [Islami] Chhatra Sangha be used to fight the Mukti Bahini [freedom fighters] but that they could also serve as an effective squad to kill the intellectuals.

“Accordingly, the Chhatra Sangha of the Mymensingh district was turned into the Al-Badr force, and provided with military training,” says the book.

“The man responsible for organising the Chhatra Sangha to merge with Al-Badr was the chief of the Mymensingh district Islami Chhatra Sangha, Kamaruzzaman, at present [when the book was published] the Press Secretary of the Central Jamaat,” it says, adding, “Under Kamaruzzaman, the entire body of workers belonging to the Mymensingh district Chhatra Sangha joined the Al-Badr within a month.”

To specify Kamaruzzaman's leadership of Al-Badr, the book quoted a report published on August 16, 1971 in the Sangram, the mouthpiece of Jamaat-e-Islami.

“On the occasion of the 25th Independence Day of Pakistan [August 14, 1971] a rally and symposium were held under the auspices of the Momenshahi [Mymensingh] Al-Badr last Saturday. The symposium held at the local Muslim Institute was presided over by the chief organiser of the Al-Badr, Janab [Mr] Kamaruzzaman. According to a radio message, different speakers at the symposium voiced caution against the concerted plan to destroy the country.”

The book was edited by Ahmed Sharif, Kazi Nuruzzaman and Shahriar Kabir and was published (fourth edition) on February, 1989, said Amena.

On January 23, Azabuddin Miah, assistant librarian of Bangla Academy and the 16th prosecution witness in the case, showed the report of Sangram published on 16, 1971 with the headline “Azadi Dibasher Baktabye Momenshahite Kamaruzzaman (Kamaruzzaman delivered speech in Mymensingh marking Independence Day).

The prosecution had all along been claiming that Chhatra Sangha in its entirety turned into the Al-Badr force, which collaborated with the Pakistani army in committing genocide and crimes against humanity during the war.

Amena's cross-examination was finished yesterday.

Meanwhile, AKM Saiful Islam, the prosecutor of the case, yesterday filed a petition seeking permission to submit additional evidence in the case.

The three-member tribunal led by Justice Obaidul Hassan with members Justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah and Judge M Shahinur Islam fixed today for hearing the petition.

The prosecution sought permission to submit two newspaper reports and a list of collaborators arrested in Dhaka after the war.

Bangla daily Purbadesh on December 31, 1971, ran a report with the headline “15 more collaborators were arrested including Deen Mohammad”. On the same day, Dainik Bangla ran a report headlined “15 more collaborators arrested”.

Name of Kamaruzzaman was number 14 in the list published by both the newspapers, said prosecutor Saiful.

SAYEDEE'S CASE
The defence of war crimes accused Jamaat leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee yesterday finished its closing argument at the Tribunal-1.

The prosecution began its argument but could not complete due to time constraint as Abdur Razzaq, chief defence counsel for the war crimes accused Jamaat leaders, took much of the court's time yesterday during his closing arguments.

The Tribunal-1 asked the prosecution to complete its argument but prosecutor Syed Haidar Ali said he could have completed it if he had half an hour more.

Razzaq yesterday tried to raise questions on the credibility of the investigation officer and statements of 15 absentee witnesses which were submitted before Tribunal-1 as evidence.

Showing different documents, the chief defence counsel said those witnesses had actually stayed at the witness safe house but were not produced before the tribunal.

The prosecutor yesterday said the documents the defence was basing their argument on were fabricated.

Meanwhile, the prosecution filed a petition seeking permission of the Tribunal-1 to interrogate arrested war crimes suspect Jamaat leader ATM Azharul Islam.

The tribunal fixed February 5 to pass an order in this regard.

On that day, the investigation agency is also scheduled to submit the probe report on Azhar's alleged involvement in the crimes against humanity during the Liberation War.

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