During the liberation war of 1971, Pakistani occupation army led by General Yahya Khan and his colleagues in collaboration with the anti-liberation forces (Jamat, Muslim League, and other religious political parties) of Bangladesh killed a total of 3 million unarmed Bangalees, molested and raped about 450,000 Bangalee women and, on the eve of the independence, murdered hundreds of leading intellectuals to spiritually cripple the nation. A crime far exceeds, in its atrocity and inhumanity, the crimes of Hitler, Melosovitch, the nazis and the fascists.
The war criminals of Bangladesh liberation war were never tried and they have never apologized for their crimes to the nation:
1. The killing of 50,000 Bangalees in Dhaka on 25 and 26 March 1971 under the military operation code-named “operation searchlight”. and ruthless massacre of 3 million unarmed Bangalees over nine months of armed occupation by the Pakistani military.
2. Senseless and wanton loots, rapes, arson and killings in Bangladeshi countryside during the course of the “sweeping operations” following the military crackdown.
3. Preplanned killings of intellectuals and professionals like doctors, engineers, civil servants, students and social workers and burying them in mass graves over nine months occupation to spiritually cripple the Bangalees.
4. Rapes and molestation of 450,000 Bangalee women by the officers and soldiers of the Pakistani occupation army as a deliberate act of revenge, retaliation and torture. Use of thousands of Bangalee women as sex slaves and comfort girls in military camps and bunkers by the members of all ranks of the Pakistani occupation army.
5. Ethnic (Hindu) cleansing. Forced pregnancy of Hindu women and deliberate killing of Hindu males to exterminate Bangalee Hindus as a race.
What is a war crime?
Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention defines war crimes as: “Willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, including… willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement of a protected person, compelling a protected person to serve in the forces of a hostile power, or willfully depriving a protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial, …taking of hostages and extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.”
At the heart of the concept of war crimes is the idea that an individual can be held responsible for the actions of a country or that nation’s soldiers. Genocide, crimes against humanity, mistreatment of civilians or combatants during the war can all fall under the category of war crimes. Genocide is the most severe of these crimes.
The body of laws that define a war crime is the Geneva Conventions and the statutes of the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague (ICTY). (BBC)
Regular Army: 80 000
Rangers and Militia: 24 000
Civilian Forces: 24 000
Razaker, Al-badar and Al-shams: 50 000 (estimated)
* Pakistan Armed Forces
Headquarter: Eastern Command
Chief Martial Law Administrator: Lt. Gen. Tikka Khan (March 6 to August 1971)
Lt. Gen. A. A. K Niazi (August to December 16, 1971)
Adviser: Major General Rao Farman Ali
Chief of Stuff: Brig. Bakar Siddiqi
Regional Chief: Major General Nazir Hossain Shah
Major General S H Ansari
Major General Rahim Khan
* Local Collaborators
- Peace Committee:
Established : April 1971
Convener : Khawza Khairuddin
Organizers : Prof. Golam Azam
A. Q. M Shafiqul Islam
Moulana Syed Masum
- Razakar forces
Established : May 1971 (Khulna)
Ordinance : June 1971
Convener : Moulana A K M Yusuf
Director : A S M Zahrul Huq
- Al-Badar and Al-Shams
Members of Islamic Chhattra sangha, the student wing of Jamat-e-Islam party killer force of Pakistan Army, like the SS of Hitler.
* General Yahya Khan
* Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
* General Tikka Khan
* General A.A.K. Niazi
* Major General Rao Forman Ali
* Maj Gen Khadim Hussain Raja
* Major General Ansari
* Brig Manzoor Hussain Atif
* Colonel Yakub Malik
* Lt Colonel Shams-uz-Zaman
* Major Mohd Abdullah Khan
* Major Khurshid Omar
* Captain Abdul Wahid
- List of top 200 Pakistani war criminals
- A partial list of Pakistani war criminals with accusations and charges
All about Razakars
The term Razakar is originally derived from an Arabic word meaning volunteer. In the context of Islamic history, Razakars were volunteers to defend or support Islam. But in Bangladeshi context, Razakar means traitors or collaborators of the Paki army who helped them, in our liberation war in 1971, in identifying and killing millions of Bangalees involved in or even supporting the liberation war. The Razakars were mainly the members of Muslim league, Jamat-e-Islam and other Islamic groups and factions.
The Razakars…..should be specially helpful as members of rural communities, who can identify guerrillas (freedom fighters)”, an army officer (Pakistan) said…The government says it has already recruited more than 22,000 Razakars of a planned force of 35,000.’-New York Times, July 30, 1971
‘To help control of Bengali population, the army has been setting up a network of peace committees superimposed upon the normal civil administration, which the army cannot fully rely upon. Peace committee members are drawn from …..Beharis and from the Muslim Leagues and Jamat-e-Islami. The peace committees serve as the agent of army, informing on civil administration as well as on general populace. They are also in charge of confiscating and redistribution of shops and lands from Hindu and pro-independence Bengalis. The peace committee also recruits Razakars……many of them are common criminals who have thrown their lots with the (Pakistan) army.-The Wall Street Jornal, July 27,1971.
Jamaat leaders collaborated with them [Pakistan army] not only to advance their ideals of Pakistan as an Islamic state, but also to wreak vengeance on people they were at enmity with.
Referring to the drives against Bangalee freedom fighters, he wrote, “These operations were only a partial success because the West Pakistani troops neither knew the faces of the suspects nor could they read the lane numbers (in Bengali).
They had to depend on the cooperation of the local people.
(On the collaboration groups) these patriotic elements were organised into two groups. The elderly and prominent among them formed Peace Committees, while the young and able-bodied were recruited as Razakars (volunteers). The committees were formed in Dacca as well as in the rural areas and they served as a useful link between the Army and the local people.
Razakars were raised to augment the strength of the West Pakistani troops and to give a sense of participation to the local population. Their manpower rose to nearly 50,000 as against a target of 100,000.
Some of them were genuinely interested in the integrity of Pakistan and they risked their own lives to cooperate with the Army, but a few of them also used their links with the Army to settle old score with pro-AL people.
To stress the point once again that the Bangladeshi collaborators had purposes other than pursuing the ideology of an Islamic state, Salik recollects, “In the evening I met the officer who carried out the attack. What he said was enough to chill my blood. He confided. ‘There were no rebels, and no weapons. Only poor country-folk, mostly women and old men got roasted in the barrage of fire. It is a pity that the operation was launched without proper intelligence. I will carry this burden on my conscience for the rest of my life’.”
– Siddiq Salik, who was serving the Pakistan army as a major in Bangladesh in 1971, in his book ‘Witness to Surrender“
There are now, according to the military authorities, 5,000 razakars in East Pakistan, 300 of them in Khulna district. They are paid Rs. 3 a day (25 pence at the official rate) and receive seven days’ training which appears to consist entirely of learning how to shoot a police Lee-Enfield rifle. Their work consists of “security checks” – guiding the West Pakistan troops to the homes of supporters of the Awami League. They are supposed to be under the orders of local `peace committees” which are selected by the military authorities on a similar basis of “loyalty to Pakistan”. These people are, in fact, representatives of the political parties – were routed at the last elections, with an admixture of men with criminal records and bigoted Muslims who have been persuaded that strong arm methods are needed to protect their religion.
The election results in Khulna district show how minute the non-criminal political base of the peace committees and razakars really is: the now banned Awami League won all eight seats in the district and scored 75 % of the total votes cast. The three branches of the Muslim League got 3 to 4 % between them and the fanatical Jamate-Islam 6%.
– A regime of thugs and bigots: An investigative report by Murray Sayle (THE SUNDAY TIMES, London-July 11, 1971)
* Maulana Dawood
* Golam Azam
* Abdul Mannan
* Matiur Rahman Nizami, head of Chhatra Sangha, the students’ organization of Jamat-e-Islami
* Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid – president of Al-Badr
* Delwar Hossain Saidi
* Moinuddin Chowdhury
* Anwar Zahid
* Fozlul Quader Chowdhury & Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury
* Abbas Ali Khan
* Mohammad Kamaruzzaman
* Abdul Alim
* Abdul Kader Mollah
* ASM Solaiman
* Maulana Abdus Sobhan
* Maulana AKM Yousuf
* Moulana SM Fazlul Karim
* Mohammad Ayen ud Din
* ABM Khalek Majumder
* Ashrafuzzaman Khan
* Dr. Syed Sazzad Hossain
List of Collaborators and War Criminals published by Muktizuddha Chetona Bikash Kendra, Dhaka, Bangladesh. (Source: [Book] Ekatturer Ghatokera Ke kothai)
Some claim that the Razakars did not even exist – apparently they were conjured up by the Awami League for political benefit. That the Razakars were officially created by the Pakistani military and trained and paid by the government of Pakistan should not be forgotten – and will become an important element in any future genocide trial.
The history of 1971 and the Bangladesh Genocide is under attack from revisionists and genocide deniers. The victims of this attack will be the younger generation of Bangladeshis unless we make an attempt to preserve that history.
* Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid: Book Burning Razakar Rewrites History – Mashuqur Rahman
* Anti-liberation Role in 1971: Jamaat claims denied by evidence – Shakhawat Liton
* What Jamaat leaders said in ’71 – Hasan Jahid Tusher and Ashfaq Wares Khan
* Jamaat: the enemy within – Enayetullah Khan
* Jamaat-e-Islam and its anti-liberation role in 1971 – Brig. General Shamsuddin Ahmed
* Activities of Jamaat in 1971 – Muktijudhdho Chetona Bikash Kendra
* Ali Ahsan Mujahid: Role in 1971 -Suchinta Library
* Matiur Rahman: Role in 1971 – Suchinta Library
*Moulana Mannan: Role in 1971 – Suchinta Library
* Ghatoker Dinlipi (Diary of Collaborators) – June 1971, July 1971
* Missing Links of The History – Brigadier General M. Sakhawat Hussain
General Rao Forman Ali confesses that the intelelctual killing was the work of al-Badr anti-liberation militia.
The failure to deal with the crimes committed during the 1971 war in a comprehensive and transparent manner and to specifically acknowledge the many victims of the war has left many people resentful and this constitutes a problematic legacy. To this day, there is a culture of impunity for serious human rights violations. This impunity is now entrenched, as manifested in the disrespect for the rule of law and the separation of powers, the enactment of repressive laws and the abuse of the state apparatus for the achievement of party political and personal goals. In this context, the status and affiliation of the perpetrator(s) and victim(s) often seem to be more important than the fact of the crime of torture itself. Added to this, there are various shortcomings in the legal and institutional framework that inhibit accountability and effective recourse for torture survivors and relatives of torture victims to courts or other bodies. The failure of successive governments to set up an independent human rights body is particularly glaring in this context.
Report On The Findings Of The People’s Inquiry Commission On The Activities Of The War Criminals And The Collaborator – Presented by Forum for Secular Bangladesh
(Summary of two investigations into activities of sixteen war criminals and collaborators of Pakistan military junta during the Bangladesh liberation war of 1971 published on 26 March 1994)
* Charges against Golam Azam (in Bangla)
* Gonoadalat (People’s Trial) 1992- looking back and analyzing – Millat Hussain (in Bangla)
* Text of Simla Agreement and War Criminals
International Crimes Tribunal:
The International Crimes Tribunal was re-established in 2010 in order to hold the perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, during the liberation war of Bangladesh in 1971 accountable.
An War Crimes Fact-Finding Committee was tasked to investigate and find evidence for the 1971 war crimes and identified 1,600 suspects in a report submitted in 2008. In 2009, the government amended the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1973 (ACT NO. XIX OF 1973) to pave way for a tribunal, which was finally set up on 25 March 2010. On 22/3/2012 the government established another tribunal namely international crimes tribunal-2, under the same jurisdiction mentioned in section 3 of the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act (1973). However, the main perpetrators of the war crimes, the Pakistan soldiers, remained out of bounds of the courts.
The first indictment was issued in 2010 and by 2012, nine leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami, and two of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, had been indicted as suspects in war crimes.
The testimonies provided by the witnesses, and the documents submitted by the Prosecution and the Defence, remains as an important collection of memories of the 1971 genocide.
A political audio against razakars
- 1971 Bangladesh Pakistan War Criminals
- Ekatturer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee
- Tui Razakar – An allied movement against the War Criminals in Bangladesh
Credit: Muktadhara, Suchinta, Mashuqur Rahman