Razakar was launched with 96 Jamaat men
After two prosecution witnesses, an investigator of international crimes tribunal yesterday also said Jamaat-e-Islami leader AKM Yusuf formed the Razakar force, an auxiliary force of the Pakistani army, during the Liberation War.
“Through investigation, I have found that the Razakar force was formed with 96 Jamaat activists at an Anser camp at Khan Jahan Ali Road of Khulna under the leadership of AKM Yusuf [in May 1971],” investigator Matiur Rahman told the International Crimes Tribunal-1.
During his daylong cross-examination yesterday, Matiur, the investigation officer of the crimes against humanity case against Jamaat's former chief Ghulam Azam, said he got the information from locals and newspaper reports published even after the war.
Earlier, eminent war crimes researcher Shahriar Kabir and journalist Mahbub Kamal, the first and third prosecution witness in the case against Jamaat leader Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, testified before Tribunal-2 that Yusuf formed the Razakar force.
According to the prosecution and historic documents, although the Razakar force started operation since May 1971, the then Pakistani government abolished the Ansar Bahini and turned it into “Razakar Bahini,” proclaiming the Razakar Ordinance on August 2 that year.
In collaboration with the Pakistani force, the Razakar force committed killings, genocide and other crimes against humanity during the nine-month-long war.
On September 26, the investigation agency of the international crimes tribunal said it was conducting investigation into the allegation of crimes against humanity against Yusuf, incumbent nayeb-e-ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami, and hoped to complete its probe by December.
The three-member tribunal led by its Chairman Justice Md Nizamul Huq yesterday recorded the cross-examination of Matiur before adjourning the case proceedings against Ghulam Azam until today.
Defence counsel Mizanul Islam cross-examined Matiur, the 16th prosecution witness in the case, for four and a quarter hours and asked questions mostly on the Razakar force and the Shanti Committee, another collaborator force of the Pakistani army.
Mizanul asked, “Who was the chief of the Razakar Bahini before [the then Pakistan] government took control over the [Razakar] force?”
“I don't know but I have found that Razakar Bahini was formed with 96 Jamaat activists at an Ansar camp at Khan Jahan Ali Road of Khulna under the leadership of AKM Yusuf,” said Matiur.
“During investigation, I got the news from locals,” said Matiur.
“What type of evidence do you have about the formation of the Razakar Bahini?” asked Mizanul.
At this point, Prosecutor Zead Al Malum said formation and activities of the Razakar force, Shanti Committee and Al-Badr force, yet another collaborator force of the Pakistani army, was an “admitted fact.”
“I have a lot of information about the formation of the Razakar Bahini,” replied Matiur later.
“Who had become the chief of the Razakar Bahini after the [then] government took control over the Bahini,” asked Mizanul.
“Mohammad Yunis, who was involved with Jamaat-e-Islami,” said Matiur.
Replying to other questions, Matiur said the Shanti Committee was formed on April 9, 1971, and it had a 140-member central committee.
“On which principle the Razakar force was formed?” asked Mizanul.
“The Shanti Committee was formed to annihilate 'miscreants' [freedom fighters and pro-liberation people] terming the movement for the independence of Bangladesh a movement of miscreants,” said Matiur.
"Genocide '71", details the accounts of the wartime killers and collaborators.
The book says that in order to make decisions promptly and implement that swiftly, a 21-member working committee was formed under the Central Shanti Committee and the name of Ghulam Azam, the then ameer of East Pakistan Jamaat-e-Islami, was number three in that committee.
The book says that on August 14, 1971, Ghulam Azam addressed a meeting of the Central Shanti Committee at Curzon Hall of Dhaka University to mark Pakistan Day.
There, he urged the “peace-loving citizens of the country” to assist the Shanti Committee in “drawing out the enemies of Pakistan from each and every locality, and destroying their existence...”
In their opening statement on June 10, prosecution had said that Ghulam Azam was responsible for the crimes committed by the auxiliary forces of the Pakistani army during the Liberation War since he had control and influence over those forces.
On May 13, the tribunal indicted Ghulam Azam on five charges including involvement in the murder and torture of unarmed people; and conspiracy, planning, incitement for and complicity into committing genocide and crimes against humanity during the Liberation War.