Razakars had ID cards signed by Nizami
Razakars during the Liberation War used to carry identity cards signed by the Jamaat-e-Islami leaders, eminent war crimes researcher Shahriar Kabir told International Crimes Tribunal-2 yesterday.
"The Razakar Bahini was a paid auxiliary force of the Pakistan army," said Shahriar, executive president of Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee. He added that incumbent Jamaat Ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami had urged both party activists and people to join the anti-liberation force.
"In their interviews for my documentary, Razakars said they used to put on identity cards signed by Motiur Rahman Nizami," said Shahriar during his cross-examination at the tribunal for the sixth day.
During the cross-examination on Sunday, the 62-year-old journalist said Jamaat leader Moulana AKM Yusuf formed the Razakar force first in Khulna in May 1971 and later the Pakistan government issued a gazette notification merging it with Ansars.
Testifying on August 26, Shahriar appealed to the tribunal to try the Jamaat-e-Islami and its associate forces for crimes against humanity committed during the War of Liberation alongside its top leaders.
The three-member tribunal headed by Justice ATM Fazle Kabir with members Justice Obaidul Hassan and Judge M Shahinur Islam recorded the cross-examination of the first prosecution witness in a case against Jamaat Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed.
Defence counsel Mizanul Islam cross-examined Shahriar for two hours and asked him more than 50 questions before the court adjourned proceedings until September 13 when Shahriar is set to face further cross-examination.
Shahriar gave his testimony in two hours and 40 minutes, while the defence has so far cross-examined him for 12 and a half hours in six days.
During yesterday's cross-examination, Mizanul asked him if there was any book over the identity of Razakars. Shahriar responded that there was a book edited by Major Arefin containing the identities of 33,000 Razakars.
Replying to another question, Shahriar said Maj Arefin did not mention the political identity of the Razakars on his three-volume book.
"Was anything about the political identity of Razakars mentioned in your research as well as the mentioned book by Major Arefin?" asked Mizanul.
"No, but as per information of our research, most of them [Razakars] had political identity and there were some who had no political affiliation," said Shahriar, adding, "It is mentioned in my documentary Juddhaparadh' 71 how Jamaat leaders enrolled their activists and common people into the Razakar Bahini."
Activists and supporters of other political parties, such as the Muslim League and Pakistan Democratic Party, also joined the Razakar force, he added.
"Mahakuma [sub-division] administrators used to enrol Razakars [during the war]," commented Mizanul.
"Yes, but Razakars used to put on identity cards signed by Jamaat leaders," replied Shahriar.
"Do you have any Razakar's identity card signed by Prof Ghulam Azam, Abbas Ali Khan, advocate Afazuddin or Motiur Rahman Nizami?" asked Mizanul.
"No, but in their interviews for my documentary, Razakars said they used to put on identity cards signed by Motiur Rahman Nizami," Shahriar reiterated.
"Motiur Rahman Nizami was not a Razakar and was not involved with Razakar Bahini," suggested Mizanul.
"It is true," replied Shahriar and went on to explain: "The Razakar Bahini was an auxiliary force of the Pakistan army and Motiur Rahman Nizami was a civilian. But his party was an ally of the then East Pakistan government. He urged Jamaat activists, supporters and common people to join the Razakar Bahini."
Replying to questions, Shahriar said after the Liberation War, one Nazir Ahmed filed a case in connection with the abduction of his cousin Shahidullah Kaiser and one Khalek Majumder was handed down seven years of rigorous imprisonment in the case, but he was later released on a High Court order.
A case was filed under the Collaborators Act, 1972 in connection with the abduction of Prof Munier Chowdhury, observed Mizanul.
"I don't know. We, the members of martyrs' families, have never accepted the way the trial was held under the Collaborators Act, 1972 because it is not possible to hold trials for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes under the existing laws," replied Shahriar.
CONTEMPT PETITION AGAINST SAJEDA
The same tribunal yesterday adjourned hearing on a contempt of court petition filed against Deputy Leader of the House Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury until October 1 following a time petition by her lawyers.
Yesterday had been fixed for hearing on the petition filed by Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah on August 5 on the charge that Sajeda Chowdhury had made a statement disrespecting the court.
On August 27, the tribunal asked the Awami League leader to explain her position about the petition through her lawyer by September 10.
Sajeda's lawyer Abdul Baset Mazumder sought a three-week adjournment for preparation of the defence and the tribunal later adjourned the hearing until October 1.
CASE AGAINST KAMARUZZAMAN, QUADER MOLLAH AND ABDUL ALIM
Meanwhile, the tribunal completed recording the cross-examination of Md Hasanuzzaman, the sixth prosecution witness in the war crimes case, against another Jamaat leader Muhammad Kamaruzzaman.
The tribunal adjourned the case proceedings until September 12 when the seventh prosecution witness is expected to give her testimony.
Defence counsel Kafiluddin Chowdhury yesterday suggested, "Kamaruzzaman is a victim of political vengeance and was neither an Al-Badr man nor a Razakar or anti-liberation person."
Hasanuzzaman, who testified on September 3, rejected the defence suggestion saying, "It is not true."
The tribunal also recorded the cross-examination of Amir Hossain Mollah, the ninth prosecution witness, in another case against another Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah before adjourning proceedings until September 13 when Amir is set to face further cross-examination.
The tribunal also deferred the cross-examination of Saidur Rahman, the second prosecution witness in the war crimes case against former BNP lawmaker Abdul Alim, to September 17.