What Jamaat leaders said in '71 | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 27, 2007 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 27, 2007

What Jamaat leaders said in '71

Jamaat-e-Islami was directly involved in war crimes in 1971 as part of the Razakar, Al-Badr and Al-Shams groups and peace committees, inciting killings of Liberation War supporters and collaborating with the Pakistani occupation force, according to speeches and writings in 1971 by the then Jamaat leadership and the party's current amir and secretary general.
In 1971, Golam Azam was the Jamaat amir while Motiur Rahman Nizami, the present amir, was the president of Islami Chhatra Shangha and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, the present Jamaat secretary general, led its Dhaka unit.
Their speeches and writings published in Jamaat's mouthpiece, the daily Sangram, during the Liberation War in 1971 chronicle their direct involvement in supporting the Pakistani occupation force, their leadership in collaborating with the army, and their activities to incite and encourage annihilation of the liberation forces.
On Thursday, Mojaheed denied Jamaat's involvement in war crimes and with the Razakar, Al-Badr and Al-Shams groups. He claimed that Jamaat did not work against the Liberation War in 1971 and that there is no war criminal in the country.
"In fact, anti-Liberation forces never even existed," Mojaheed told reporters after Jamaat's dialogue with the Election Commission on electoral reforms.
As a response to the Jamaat secretary general's claims, following are selections from the reports published in the daily Sangram and documents of the then West Pakistan government:
Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, president of Dhaka unit of East Pakistan Islami Chhatra Shangha (ICS), directed his party workers to build Al-Badr Bahini to resist freedom fighters, according to a "Fortnightly secret report on the situation in East Pakistan" the political section of the then East Pakistan home ministry used to send to the head of the government General Yahya Khan.
Mojaheed at a meeting of the ICS in Rangpur on October 17 directed the party workers to build the Al-Badr Bahini. He told the meeting that anti-Islamist forces must be resisted. He also emphasised organising youths to join Al-Badr.
Al-Badr day was observed in Dhaka on November 7, 1971 and Mojaheed announced a four-point declaration that said, "We do not believe in any map of Hindustan on earth. We will not rest until the name of Hindustan is erased from the world.
"From tomorrow, you will not be allowed to sell, publicise or keep at libraries books either written by Hindus or written in their support," according to a report published in the daily Azad on November 8, 1971.
The Al-Badr was assigned a variety of combat and non-combat tasks, including taking part in operations, spying against the Muktibahini, interrogation, working as guides for the regular army, assassination, detecting and killing Bangalee intellectuals, looting and supplying women and children to rape, according to Wikipedia.
According to the secret report, the current Jamaat ameer addressed an ICS meeting in Jamalpur as chief guest on June 14, 1971 and directed his party workers to assist the Pakistani army to save Islam.
On April 12, the Nizami-led ICS and Jamaat brought out a procession, chanting "Long live Pakistan".
The Sangram reported on April 13 that Nizami, the then Pakistan ICS president, Golam Azam and other collaborators also led a procession on April 12 under the banner of "Peace Committee of Dhaka" with a special prayer for the survival of Pakistan and to declare their support for Pakistan.
On August 2, Nizami addressed a seminar in Chittagong organised by the local Muslim Institute, where he said, "If the patriotic people had come forward since March 1 to confront the assailants, this situation would not have taken place in the country. Allah has given the faithful Muslims the duty to protect His beloved Pakistan, but when the Muslims failed, Allah protected Pakistan through the military."
The next day Sangram quoted Nizami as saying, "The Pakistani soldiers are our brothers...It is not a matter of personal dignity or partisan interest, it is a matter of Pakistan's survival.
"The only way the Muslims can survive here is Pakistan's survival," he said, adding, "With the chaos the miscreants and Indian agents had created since March 1, no one could hope that Pakistan and Pakistani Muslims would be able to survive as independent entities."
Lamenting the victory of Awami League in the 1970 elections, Nizami said, "Divisions within the Pakistani and Islamic leaders allowed them to win and cause havoc in this country.
"I pray to Allah for the success, courage and sacrifice of the military brothers in facing external and internal attacks," he said.
He blamed the rulers for misleading and misinforming students on Islam and said, "We forgot our identity after achieving Pakistan. When India attacked our country in 1965, we became self-aware but we were confused as soon as the war ended. Allah punished us. Now we have become self-conscious again, but if we make the same mistake again, maybe Allah will not give us another chance."
On August 16, the Sangram reported that Nizami said, "Those who want to secede from Pakistan want to uproot Islam from this country."
On September 4, Nizami in a letter to the Pakistani flight cadet who died in an air fight with Bir Sreshtha Matiur Rahman described Matiur as an "Indian agent".
On September 8, Sangram reported Nizami as saying, "Every member of the Islami Chhatra Shangha is committed to protect every inch of Pakistan. We are even ready to attack Hindustan to protect Pakistan."
On September 9 Nizami said in Jessore, "Allah has punished those who conspired to destroy Pakistan...Those who said Pakistan is a graveyard have not been accepted by the land. The funeral pyres in Calcutta and Agartala are all they got.
"The way we have come forward risking death, the same way the government should build Pakistan in a purely militaristic manner," he said.
Addressing a gathering of Razakars in Jessore the next day, Nizami said, "Every single one of us must identify ourselves as soldiers of Islam and we have to use all our forces to destroy the people who are involved in an armed conspiracy against Pakistan and Islam," Sangram reported on September 15.
The next day Nizami urged his followers to "confront and reveal the true identity of the so-called Bengali-lovers".
While visiting an Al-Badr camp on September 22, Nizami said, "Only the patriotic youths of East Pakistan can effectively annihilate the Indian infiltrators and their local agents."
Celebrating the Badr day on November 14, 1971, Nizami wrote an editorial in Sangram, saying, "Hindu forces are far stronger and capable than us. Unfortunately, a number of infidels have taken their side and are trying to weaken us from within. We have to foil their conspiracy and protect the existence and ideal of Pakistan. This is not possible only by defensive action...It is our luck that the Islam-loving youths of this country have been able to form the Al-Badr unit with the help of the Pakistani military...The youths of Al-Badr have renewed their pledge on this occasion...to stand next to the army to defeat the Hindu forces and annihilate Hindustan and hoist the flag of Islam all over the world."
At a meeting of the Jamaat in Khulna on August 4, 1971, the then Jamaat ameer described Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as a separationist. He told the meeting that Mujib had been misleading the country's people and urged party workers to be united to destroy the separationists, according to secret document No. 482/158-PL.S(I).
Golam Azam at the party council of Kushtia district unit in the second week of August 1971 described the freedom fighters as criminals and directed the party workers to resist them. He also directed formation of Shanti Bahini (peace committee) in every village of the country. He told the meeting that very soon the Razakars, Mojaheed and police would be able to resist the "criminals", said document No. 549 (159)-PL.S(I) signed by the then home secretary MM Kazim on September 14.

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