When Bengal Cried…

The 1971 war against the Bengali population, paved on the “good intentions” of keeping the Pakistan together, was carried out in a classical genocidal fashion. “Kill three million of them,” President Yahya Khan reportedly said in February of 1971, “and the rest will eat out of our hands”. The genocidal war initiated on 25th of March with the attack on University of Dhaka where hundreds of students were murdered. In the subsequent months, hundreds of thousands of the Bengali people was exterminated, millions of women were raped, and millions were displaced from their homes. History has not forgotten the atrocities committed in the East Bengal by the Pakistani Army and their stooges in Jamaat-e-Islami.

Here, I am presenting the news about a report published by War Crimes Fact Finding Committee (WCFF) that has spent two decades documenting war-time incidents of the 1971 war:
Bangladesh ‘war crimes’ list out

Bangladeshi war veterans and intellectuals have published a list of alleged war criminals from the country’s 1971 independence struggle with Pakistan.

The War Crimes Fact Finding Committee (WCFF) spent two decades documenting war-time incidents and announced the publishing of the list on Friday.

The list has nearly 1,600 names and the publishers are demanding the prosecution of those who are alive.

The WCFF has also proposed the setting up of a post-apartheid South African-style truth and reconciliation commission.

Prominent names

Among the big names on the list are Yahya Khan, president of Pakistan during the 1971 war, General Tikka Khan, under whose command Pakistan launched the military crackdown to crush the liberation movement in Bangladesh and Lieutenant General Ameer Abdullah Khan Niazi, the Pakistani general who surrendered to India in December 1971.

Among the Bangladeshis on the list was Matiur Rahman Nizami, the head of the Jamaat-e-Islami party and a minister in a coalition government until October 2006.

There are several Jamaat-e-Islami members on the list, but the party has dismissed charges against them.

Tasnim Alam, the party spokesman, said: “Only the country’s highest court can declare anyone a war criminal. No individual, agency or organisation has any such right.”

The group that published the list, however, said around half of those listed were still alive and many were members of Jamaat-e-Islami.

‘Bangladeshi collaborators’

MA Hasan of the WFCC said: “Out of the 1,597 people on the list, 369 were Pakistani army personnel. The rest were Bangladeshi collaborators.”

“We have been investigating for 17 years. The list is on the basis of field-level investigation, mass graves and eyewitness statements,” Hasan added.

“We will give this list to the government and the election commission. Our demand to the government is that those perpetrators should be punished and disqualified from the next election.”

A court in the capital Dhaka has also ordered the police to submit a report on allegations against Nizami.

In a case filed by a former Bangladeshi freedom fighter, Nizami has been accused along with 12 others of helping the Pakistani army plan mass killings in which thousands of villagers died.

However, Jamaat-e-Islami has dismissed the charge as an attempt to “defame” the party.

Since Bangladesh’s emergency government came to power in January 2007, war veterans have led calls for prosecution of war criminals.

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One Response to “When Bengal Cried…”

  1. […] by Jack Stephens on April 6, 2008 Vidrohi, of Red Diary, blogs about the war for Bengali independence: The 1971 war against the Bengali population, paved on the “good […]

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