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Mollah's journey with Jamaat

Abdul Quader Mollah's career with Jamaat-e-Islami started long before the Liberation War when he had joined the party's student wing Islami Chhatra Sangha in 1966. This wing of Jamaat was largely responsible for the formation of Al-Badr that executed many intellectuals during the war.

Jamaat was banned since the birth of Bangladesh in December 1971. Mollah as well as Jamaat returned to politics in independent Bangladesh after the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on August 15, 1975. The war crimes convict resumed active politics when Islami Chhatra Sangha was reborn at the Dhaka University mosque and renamed as Islami Chhatra Shibir in 1977.

He joined Jamaat in 1979 and held different posts in the party before assuming the incumbent post of an assistant secretary general.

He had discharged two other important duties for the party. In the early 80s, he served as an executive editor of the daily Sangram, mouthpiece of Jamaat, and was also personal sectary of former ameer Ghulam Azam.

He also severed several organisations and education institutions including Manarat International School and College in Dhaka.

Mollah was born in Amirabad village under Sadarpur of Faridpur in 1948. He passed the SSC from Amirabad Fazlul Haq Institute in Faridpur in 1964 and the HSC from Faridpur Rajendra College in 1966.

The war crimes suspect in his testimony as a defence witness said he had joined the East Pakistan Chhatra Union when he was in class eight and defected to Islami Chhatra Sangha in September 1966 "understanding the supremacy of Islam over communism".

Later, he was elected as the president of Chhatra Sangha's Rajendra College unit in the last year of BSc, he said, adding, he enrolled at Dhaka University in 1969 in physics but could not complete the course.

He was elected as the president of Shahidullah Hall [previously Dhaka Hall] of Dhaka University unit's Sangha in 1970, added Mollah.

According to the prosecution documents, all the members of Islami Chhatra Sangha had turned into Al-Badr activists during the Liberation War and Al-Badr collaborated with the invading Pakistani army in committing genocide and others crimes.

The indictment order says Mollah organised formation of Al-Badr with the members of the student body in 1971.

After independence, Mollah joined Islami Chhatra Shibir when it was "formed" in 1977 in Bangladesh.

However, according to the prosecution and historic documents, Shibir was reformed with the leaders and activists of Chhatra Sangha after the assassination of Sheikh Mujib.

"Genocide '71", a book containing accounts of the killers and collaborators, was published by Muktijuddha Chetana Bikash Kendra in 1987 and is a prosecution document in several war crimes cases.

According to the book, "There was, however, no difference between the Islami Chhatra Shibir and the Islami Chhatra Sangha except in the name. Discarding the 'Sangha' portion of their name, the organisation substituted the word 'Shibir'.

"The term [Shibir], it may be noted, was taken from the name of the junior branch of the Sangha, 'Shaheen Shibir'. But apart from this change in nomenclature, everything else, including the flag and the monogram, remained the same," the book reads.

Mir Quashem Ali, who became the first president of Islami Chhatra Shibir in 1977, was the general secretary of East Pakistan Islami Chhatra Sangha in the last part of 1971. Muhammad Kamaruzzaman, the second president of Shibir, was a top leader of Chhatra Sangha in Mymensingh in 1971, the book adds.

In a special publication of Shibir on the occasion of its "silver jubilee," one of its former presidents said, "Bangladesh Islami Chhatra Shibir began its journey anew at the Central Jame Masjid [mosque] of Dhaka University."

According to the defence documents, Mollah in 1975 completed his diploma in education examination and master's in education administration in 1977.

In 1977, he joined Udayan High School as a part-time teacher and later joined Bangladesh Rifles Public School and College, say the defence documents, adding, he also served Islamic Foundation Bangladesh.

Mollah was appointed as the private secretary of former Jamaat ameer Ghulam Azam when he, for the first time, returned to independent Bangladesh on a Pakistani passport.

The Bangladesh Government had cancelled the citizenship of Ghulam Azam on April 18, 1973 for his anti-liberation role, but after the assassination of Bangabandhu, he returned to Bangladesh on August 11, 1978, according to historic documents.

Mollah was founder secretary of Manarat International School and College in Dhaka and was attached to the Sangram as an executive editor in 1981 as per the defence documents.

Mollah in his testimony identified the Sangram as the "mouthpiece of Jamaat-e-Islami".

He was elected vice-president of the combined Dhaka Union of Journalists for two consecutive terms from 1982 to 1983, the documents add.

He was elected as the ameer of Jamaat's Dhaka city unit in 1985, central publicity secretary in 1991 and assistant secretary general in 2000, defence documents add.

He took part in parliament election twice from Faridpur but forfeited his deposit money on both occasions, Mollah confessed during his cross-examination.

Mollah along with his political colleague Muhammad Kamaruzzaman was arrested on July 13, 2010 in a case filed in connection with the killings of 345 people in Mirpur during the Liberation War.

Later on August 2 they both were shown arrested in a case for crimes against humanity committed in 1971.

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