Ashraf tells of 'obstacles' from home, abroad | The Daily Star
11:00 PM, August 19, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, August 19, 2009

War Crime Trial

Ashraf tells of 'obstacles' from home, abroad

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The government is facing pressure from different quarters at home and abroad for not trying the war criminals of 1971, LGRD Minister and Awami League General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam said yesterday.
"We are facing obstacles in bringing the war criminals to trial...But we are putting in our best efforts to overcome the obstacles," he said at a discussion meeting organised by Samprodaikata, Jangibad Birodhi Mancha (a platform against communalism and militancy) at the Jatiya Press Club.
Ashraf, however, did not name the quarters.
He called upon all pro-Liberation War political parties, the media, professionals, the young generation and all people to create public opinion in favour of trying the war criminals across the country and abroad.
"We have to create a congenial atmosphere [for trying the war criminals] by creating public opinion and disclosing documents and papers regarding the war criminals...And participation of the young generation is a must for this," he said.
Ashraf said an ill-motivated quarter has engaged in a conspiracy to misguide the people through confusing statements about trials of the war criminals. "Joint efforts should be made to resist that quarter," he added.
Referring to the government's strong stand in this regard, he said, "In the inaugural speech of the ninth parliament, President Zillur Rahman vowed to try the war criminals. Later, parliament passed a regulation on the issue."
Ashraf informed that the government has initiated negotiation with the United Nations and different human rights organisations to remove the barriers to trying war criminals and already allocated Tk 10 crore to meet the cost of the trials.
On the demand for reviving the 1972 constitution, he said, "I think it is not essential to revive the constitution of 1972 to facilitate the trial."
Addressing the meeting, Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya, general secretary of Dhaka City Awami League, categorically demanded trial of not just the war criminals but the killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the masterminds of the August 21 grenade attack on an Awami League rally. He claimed that there are links among these perpetrators.
Economist Prof Abul Barakat said at least 126 militant groups exist in the country at present and one-third of their total finance is generated inside the country.
The Jamaat-e-Islami, militancy and its financing are the major components of communalism and fundamentalism, he observed, adding that all these components must be destroyed.
Comrade Bimal Biswas, general secretary of Workers' Party, Pankaj Bhattacharjee, presidium member of Gono Forum, Pankaj Debnath, general secretary of Awami Sechchhasebak League, human rights activist Rokeya Kabir, freedom fighter Maj Gen (retd) Amin Ahmed Chowdhury, among others, spoke at the event.

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