A man, who was organising secretary of a union unit Awami League in Akhaura for 16 years, has been found to have involvement in crimes against humanity during the Liberation War.
The investigation agency, probing war crimes, yesterday in an announcement to the press said it had completed a probe on Mobarak Hossain and found evidence supporting allegations of his involvement in genocide and crimes against humanity.
They, however, did not say anything specific about Mobarak's political affiliation claiming that it does not concern them.
But one investigator said Mobarak had been a Rokan (permanent member) of Jamaat-e-Islami in Akhaura, Brahmanbaria, after the war.
Another investigator said they had heard that Mobarak was involved in Awami League in his area.
The Daily Star had confirmation from local Awami League leaders that Mobarak was indeed the organising secretary of Mugra union Awami League unit between 1996 and 2012.
Abdul Hannan Khan, convenor of the investigation agency, told reporters at the agency's Bailey Road office yesterday, “We will submit the investigation report [on Mobarak Hossain] to the chief prosecutor tomorrow [Thursday].”
Abdul Hannan Khan said Khodeja Begum, whose father was allegedly killed by Mobarak Hossain alias Mobarak Ali, had filed a case with Brahmanbaria court in 2009 which was transferred to the International Crimes Tribunal in 2011.
The tribunal then asked the agency to investigate the matter.
Sanaul Huq, co-coordinator of the probe agency, said Mobarak, as a commander of Razakar Bahini, an auxiliary force of the Pakistani army during the war, was involved in five incidents of crimes against humanity and genocide.
They are: the incident of genocide at Tanmandail and Jangail of Akhaura that left 33 dead; abduction, torture and killing of Shaheed Ashu Ranjan Dev and Shaheed Abdul Khalek; abduction, torture of two people of Shyampur village; and the killing of one of the two; and the torture of one person of Kharampur in Brahmanbaria.
Sanaul said a total 21 people were made witnesses of the case.
Shyamal Chowdhury, the investigation officer of the case, said Mobarak had been the commander of two Razakar camps, Anandamoye Kalibari Camp and Suhilpur Union Parishad Camp, during the war.
He said Abdul Khalek, father of Khodeja Begum, was a pro-liberation Ansar member and he had been abducted when he was on his way to see his sick grandparents.
Khalek was tortured at Suhilpur Union Parishad Razakar Camp before Mobarak shot him dead at Bakailghat beside the Titas River.
He said Mobarak's name was on the list of Razakars kept at the deputy commissioner officer of Brahmanbaria.
About his political affiliation, Shyamal said, “He was a Rokan [member] of Jamaat-e-Islami unit of the union after the Liberation War. I don't know about his present political status.”
Investigator Hannan said, “We have heard that he was involved in the politics of local Awami League. But political identity [of suspects] is not important to us.”
Meanwhile, prosecutor Rana Dasgupta told The Daily Star that after getting the investigation report, statements of witnesses, related documents, and completing their scrutiny, they would prepare to place formal charges against Mobarak before the tribunal.
LOCAL LEADERS' SAY
Mobarak, whom locals considered to be a Jamaat man, joined the Awami League in 1996, Nowab Miah, president of Mugra union Awami League, told The Daily Star yesterday over the phone.
Nowab said they knew Mobarak as a Jamaat man but in 1996 he delivered an anti-Jamaat speech and became a candidate for the organising secretary post of Mugra union Awami League.
“With the help of some influential local leaders, Mobarak got the post,” said Nowab, who was elected general secretary of the unit in 1996.
"But when we learnt that a war crimes case was filed against Mobarak, we neither expelled him nor invited him to party meetings and programmes," said Nowab.
"In our last council [in 2012] of the unit committee, we dropped Mobarak from the committee and officially, he does not have any relation with our party," he said.
Nowab said Mobarak wanted a certificate from him that prove Mobarak used to be an organising secretary of Mugra union Awami League. "I declined to issue the certificate as he was accused of war crimes," Nowab added.
Syed Borhanuddin, president of Akhaura upazila Awami League unit and the upazila chairman, told The Daily Star, “I know him [Mobarak] as a social worker and a well-established person of Mugra.”
“I do not know whether Mobarak was a Razakar or was involved in war crimes in 1971,” he said, adding, “I have no knowledge of him being involved in Jamaat.”
Borhan said he knows Mobarak as “a member of the Awami League family”.
“He [Mobarak] is a victim of intra-village conflict and he was implicated in a war crimes case due to this conflict and instigation of some people,” claimed Borhan.
Replying a question, Borhan, who introduced himself to The Daily Star as a freedom fighter, said, “I don't know where he [Mobarak] was in 1971 and what he did during the war. I do not even know Mobarak's age.”
Borhan's fellow party politician Nowab said Mobarak was around 60 but he tried to conceal his real age.
When contracted over the telephone, Mobarak brushed aside the allegation brought against him and said he was only 13 years old in 1971.
“I was never involved in Jamaat-e-Islami. I am anti-Jamaat,” he claimed.
“I had been the organising secretary of Mugra union Awami League for 17 years,” said Mobarak, adding that he was not involved in any political party before 1996.
“I will appear before the court tomorrow [Thursday] with courage. If the allegations have basis, I will face the trial,” he added.
The investigation agency sources yesterday said on May 3, 2009, Khodeja filed the murder case against Mobarak with a Brahmanbaria court.
When Mobarak sought bail from the High Court, it ordered him to surrender before the Brahmanbaria court, which sent him to jail on October 19, 2011.
The Brahmanbaria court sent him to jail saying that the case was related to crimes against humanity and it was the international crimes tribunal's jurisdiction whether to grant bail.
When Mobarak sought bail at the tribunal, on July 16, 2012, it granted him bail and asked the investigation agency to probe the allegations.
The tribunal extended the tenure of his bail twice and fixed today for him to show up at the tribunal.
Investigator Hannan yesterday said the agency was investigating 11 war crimes suspects and had already completed probes against 12 others.
Trial of eight Jamaat-BNP leaders is pending with the two tribunal while Tribunal-2 delivered the verdict in a case against expelled Jamaat member Abul Kalam Azad.