1971 Indo-Pak War victim’s wife calls for trial of all perpetrators

Dhaka, Dec.20: The wife of a Bangladesh liberation war victim, Shyamali Nasreen Chaudhury, called for the trial of all war criminals accused of genocide in the wake of the execution of Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader Mollah.

Mollah was hanged last week. His was the first war crimes execution in Bangladesh. He was accused of collaborating with Pakistani forces, who were eventually defeated with India’s help.

Protesters from Jamaat and its student wing, Islami Chhatra Shibir, attacked members of the ruling Awami League party in deadly reprisals after the execution, while hundreds of people staged vigils in Dhaka to celebrate his death.

Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal has exposed divisions in society over what role Islam should play and the strong public reaction to its verdicts have raised fears that young Jamaat members are being radicalised.

The 1971 war, in which an estimated three million people died in nine months, is a festering wound not only for those personally affected, but also many young Bangladeshis.

Hailing Mollah’s execution, Chaudhury said: “We want that all war criminals should be tried and they get same kind of punishment, because during the liberation war, these people, these war criminals, were engaged in war crimes. They killed thousands and thousands of people.”

In the latest violence, Jamaat supporters set fire to vehicles and houses, looted shops, set off crude bombs and blocked roads in several parts of the country.

Chaudhury also slammed Jamaat-e-Islami for acting as a hindrance in the path of the country’s progress.

“We have realised that if Jamaat-e-Islami is here, if they live in Bangladesh, Bangladesh can never rise, Bangladesh will be destroyed,” Chaudhury also said.

Mollah’s execution has worsened tensions that were already running high, threatening to cripple Bangladesh’s economy, notably its USD 22-billion garment industry.

There has been almost daily unrest in the impoverished nation of 160 million people since last month’s announcement of parliamentary elections on January 5.

Attacking Pakistan for protesting against Mollah’s execution, Chaudhury said: “In the Pakistan parliament, there were discussions about Quader Mollah’s punishment, and they made different comments about Bangladesh. They are against Bangladesh and we protested.”

Pakistan’s National Assembly had on December 16 passed a resolution voicing concerns over the hanging of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader Mollah, local media reported.

The Lower House of the parliament passed the resolution with majority, demanding the Bangladeshi government to end cases against the Jamaat’s leaders and refrain from resurrecting issues of 1971.

Mollah, dubbed the “Butcher of Mirpur” in Bangladesh for his part in hundreds of killings 42 years ago, was buried in the early hours of December 13 in his home village in the southern district of Faridpur. (ANI)