Ghulam faces 52 charges
The prosecution yesterday pressed 52 war crimes charges against former Jamaat-e-Islami chief Ghulam Azam.
The charges include leading the mass murder of intellectuals on December 14, 1971 and the killing of 38 prisoners of Brahmanbaria jail.
Ghulam Azam, considered by many a symbol of war crimes, was also held responsible by the prosecutors for all atrocities committed across the country from March 25 to December 16, 1971.
Chief Prosecutor Ghulam Arieff Tipoo placed the charges before the International Crimes Tribunal and sought arrest warrant for the ex-Jamaat ameer.
The prosecution prayer reflects the will of the people, Arieff said at a press briefing at his office yesterday.
The tribunal received the charges through its registrar's office and is scheduled to pass an order today on the prosecution's plea.
Earlier on Sunday, the prosecutors submitted formal charges of war crimes against top Jamaat leaders Motiur Rahman Nizami, Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed and Muhammad Kamaruzzaman.
Rana Dasgupta, one of the prosecutors, told The Daily Star Yesterday they found evidence that Ghulam Azam and some other Jamaat leaders had allied themselves with Pakistan military regime even before the national elections of December 7, 1970.
The Pakistani rulers had held fair elections, thinking that Awami League would not win. They had planned to form a government headed by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, founder of Pakistan People's Party.
Awami League, however, secured a landslide victory in the historic elections, and it prompted the rulers and pro-Pakistan political forces to plan a violent crackdown on Bangalees to cling to power.
After the Operation Search Light, the military action against the unarmed people of Bangladesh on the black night of March 25, 1971, the Jamaat leaders led by Ghulam Azam met the then East Pakistan governor and martial law administrator Gen Tikka Khan, the “Butcher of Baluchistan”.
In the meeting, they hailed the operation, saying it had saved Pakistan and Islam, Rana Dasgupta added.
They promised Tikka Khan and Pakistan army full cooperation in rooting out the “anti-Pakistan forces”, and also planned to form a band of collaborators, the infamous Peace Committee, with Khwaja Khoiruddin as its convener.
According to the prosecutor, some six persons were given the responsibility to oversee the activities of the Peace Committee and Ghulam Azam was their second-in-command.
Some other anti-liberation organisations including Razakar Bahini, Al Badr, Al Shams and Mujahid Committee were later founded under the supervision of Ghulam Azam.
He was assisted by Chowdhury Rahmat Ali, Moulvi Farid Ahmed, Peer Mohsin Uddin, Khan A Sabur and Nurul Amin in leading the auxiliary forces.
The outfits set up camps in different places throughout the country.
Rana Dasgupta told The Daily Star that Ghulam Azam used to inspect the parades and trainings in the camps and help the collaborators receive arms from Pakistan military.
Under the leadership of Ghulam Azam, the collaborators had committed offences like murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, imprisonment, abduction, confinement, torture and rape of helpless innocents during the Liberation War.
They on several occasions had chanted slogans calling for uprooting and killing of pro-liberation people and the Hindus.
Ghulam Azam was directly and indirectly involved in all crimes against humanity ranging from conspiracy against the independence of Bangladesh to genocide, Rana Dasgupta said.
He was responsible for converting of many Hindus to Islam, mass migration of Hindu families to India and rape of women by Pakistan army.
The prosecution also found evidence that Ghulam Azam was involved in the killing of 38 inmates taking them out of Brahmanbaria jail.
Rana Dasgupta said they had prepared the formal charges on the basis of statements of total 116 witnesses, and national and international documents.
Last month, the tribunal took into cognisance the war crimes charges against BNP leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury.
It is also recording the cross-examination of prosecution witnesses against Delwar Hossain Sayedee, the Jamaat nayeb-e-ameer who is also facing the charges of crimes against humanity.