The government has published the names of 10,789 Razakars who collaborated with the Pakistan occupation army in carrying out mass killings and atrocities against the Bangalees during the 1971 Liberation War.
This is the first time the government has made public such a list since the country’s independence. It includes at least 127 politicians and influential people, many of whom fled the country immediately after the war.
They include convicted war criminal and former Jamaat-e-Islami ameer Ghulam Azam, Muslim League (convention) leader Fazlul Quader Chowdhury, Muslim League leader Khan A Sabur and Muslim League (convention) leader Khwaja Khairuddin.
Ex-Bangladesh prime minister (April, 1979 to March, 1982) Shah Azizur Rahman, the then Chakma Circle chief Raja Tridiv Roy, BNP leader Julmat Ali Khan and Jamaat leader Moulana Abdus Sobhan are also on the list.
“We are publishing the names of Razakars, Al-Badrs, Al-Shams and anti-liberation elements, who collaborated with the Pakistan army in 1971, on the basis of records preserved at the home ministry,” Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque said at a press briefing.
This was the first of the phases in which the government will make public the names of Razakars, he mentioned.
“We published the names so that the next generation knows about the collaborators.”
He said they are trying to collect more names of Razakars and other collaborators from different districts.
No name will be included in the list without verification and cent percent confirmation, the minister stressed.
Asked whether the list will be published as a gazette, he said it can be done if the nation demands so.
The Liberation War affairs ministry in May this year started the process of preparing the list of Razakars as per the recommendations of the parliamentary standing committee on the ministry.
In January 1972, the then Bangladesh government had enacted a law to try the collaborators and war criminals. After that, 37,000 people were arrested and sent to jail. About 26,000 were freed following the announcement of a general amnesty.
Around 11,000 were behind bars when the government of Justice Sayem and General Ziaur Rahman repealed the Collaborators Act on December 31, 1975. An appeal spree and release of war criminals en masse followed the scrapping of the law.
The list will be available at www.molwa.gov.bd
Following the publication of the list on the ministry website, several netizens told this newspaper that they found it disorganised and repetitive.
The list contained names of Razakars, members of the peace committees, collaborators who went into hiding after the Liberation War, and also those who are under investigation over crimes committed in 1971.
The name of Ghulam Azam, considered by many as the symbol of war crimes in Bangladesh, was mentioned at least five times in the list with the same address.
In July 2013, the ICT-1 sentenced Ghulam Azam to 90 years in prison for masterminding crimes against humanity, genocide and other wartime offences in 1971.
The tribunal observed that the 91-year-old Jamaat ideologue deserved the gallows but he was given prison terms considering his old age. He died in prison in October 2014 while his appeal with the Supreme Court was still pending.
Besides, the names of East Pakistan Muslim League (council) leader Khwaja Khairuddinand Muslim League leader Khan A Sabur were mentioned at least thrice with the same addresses.
Asked, the Liberation War affairs minister said they published the names from the documents of the home ministry without making any changes.
“We will look into the complaints of repetition and disorganisation… We will fix those after scrutiny,” he told The Daily Star.
Law Minister Anisul Huq yesterday said the investigation agency of the International Crimes Tribunal will scrutinise the list of Razakars and will decide on taking action against them based on the gravity of their crimes.
“The International Crimes Tribunal will conduct probe and decide who is to face action. If it finds evidence against anyone, the person will certainly be brought to book.”
Anisul was talking to reporters after a meeting with visiting Nepalese Deputy Prime Minister Upendra Yadav at his office at the Secretariat.
FFS LIST ON MARCH 26
Speaking at the press conference, Mozammel said the final list of freedom fighters will be published on the Independence Day next year.
He said the list will be published after scrutiny at the upazila level.
“There are about 6.50 lakh names of freedom fighters on various lists as those are full of duplication. My name is on five lists. We are working to prepare a complete list without any duplication,” he said.
At present, 201,461 freedom fighters across the country are getting allowances, he said adding that the number of freedom fighters is not more than 2.12 lakh.