Jaideep Mazumdar


DHAKA: Last week’s executions of two war criminals, convicted of genocide during the 1971liberation war that led to Bangladesh’s creation, have polarised the country along liberal and radical lines. Liberals say Opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) functionary Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury and Jamaat-e-Islami secretary general Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed’s hangings were necessary to defeat forces opposed to secular and progressive ideals the country was founded on.


The radicals see the executions ruling Awami League’s political vengeance and have vowed counter-attacks. The fresh executions followed those of two other war criminals — Abdul Quader Molla in 2013 and Muhammad Kamaruzzaman on April 11. Both belonged to the Jamaat-e-Islami.


“These executions are necessary to end the culture of impunity that had been prevailing in Bangladesh since 1975 after the assassination of (the country’s founder) Sheikh Mujib,” Bangladesh information minister Hasanul Haq Inu told TOI.


“They are necessary to bring the perpetrators of those horrendous atrocities and genocide in 1971 to book and provide justice to the families of the millions who were raped, killed and maimed.”


***Institute for Environment & Development executive director Numan Ahmed Khan said they were awaiting executions of two more war criminals, Motiur Rahman Nizami and Mir Qasem Ali, whom International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) has sentenced to death. “These two executions are critical.” The liberals believe execution of Nizami, who was supreme commander of Pakistan-backed al-Badr militia that killed Hindus and Muslim intellectuals in 1971and is now Jamaat-e-Islami chief, will deal a body blow to the organisation.*** [Emphasis added.]


“The execution of their chief will be a huge psychological blow to the Jamaat and the government has to follow that up with a concerted crackdown on the Jamaat and its affiliates,” The Dhaka Tribune publisher Kazi Anis Ahmed said. “It is critical to trace businesses that the Jamaat runs in Bangladesh and cut off their sources of funding.”


PM Sheikh Hasina’s advisor, H T Imam, said the executions serve vital purpose of reversing the Islamisation and radicalisation of the polity that started after Mujib’s assassination in 1975 under successive military rulers and the BNP-Jamaat combine. “Forces opposed to the country’s formation got entrenched in Bangladesh. These anti-liberation forces were pro-Pakistan and anti-Indian and were responsible for turning this country into a haven for criminals, including Indian insurgents,” he said.


“The process of defeating these anti-liberation and pro-Pakistan forces has commenced and will be carried forward so that Bangladesh becomes the country that ‘Bangabandhu’ Sheikh Mujibur Rahman dreamt that it would become,” said Imam.

Top - Home