Bangladesh freedom fighter hails prosecution of war criminals
Bangladeshi freedom fighter and senior professor in the department of sociology at the University of Dhaka K A M Saaduddin has hailed the prosecution of war criminals, accused of genocide during 1971 liberation struggle.
A war crimes tribunal, which was set up in 2010, requires wrapping up investigations of all those who were accused, as the government aims to finish their trials before Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's five-year term ends. She took charge of office in early 2009.
A former chief of Jamaat-e-Islami, Bangladesh's biggest Islamic political party and the country's top Islamist leader, Golan Azam, is on trial for helping the Pakistani army during Bangladesh's 1971 war of independence when the then East Pakistan broke away to form Bangladesh.
Jamaat -e-Islami and its close ally the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party allege that the tribunal hearing the case takes orders from the government.
Interacting with reporters in Dhaka city on Wednesday (November 07), Saaduddin said that the government have kept up the promise made during the general election of 2008.
"I am sure almost everyone in the country like myself appreciates this move by the government which they are taking in response to the mandate in their general election of 2008. In the general election they promised that the war criminals and the criminals who had perpetrated crime against humanity would be tried in appropriate manner and they have kept their promises in all fairness," said Saaduddin.
Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan, gained independence with India's help in December 1971, following a nine-month war against Pakistan. Around 3 million people were killed.
The Islamist groups in Bangladesh want to scrap "secularism" as a state principle in the Muslim-majority country.
Reiterating his demand for the setting up of more tribunals, Saaduddin said that the number of tribunals should be increased with an aim to expedite the war crimes trial.
"Instead of two tribunals if they institute three or more other tribunals things would be expedited. Since there are not two or five or 10 collaborators, there are almost 30 to 40 collaborators and their name is clearly on record - the newspaper clippings and journals of that time clearly show their activities. So, they cannot deny it," he added.
Saaduddin said that Linguistic nationalism made Bangladesh one of the unique case in the whole subcontinent.
"Linguistic nationalism made Bangladesh one of the unique case in the whole subcontinent also as a clearly secular, nationalistic and democratic government," Saaduddin stated.
Jamaat-e-Islami opposed Bangladesh's independence from Pakistan and fought with the Pakistan army.
They were allegedly involved in war crimes and have thousands of militant followers, including in the Defence forces, analysts say.
Dozens of other Jamaat leaders including its chief Moulana Motiur Rahman Nizami and secretary-general Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid are already in prison accused of war crimes.
A court in Bangladesh charged prominent opposition politician Moulana Delwar Hossain Sayedi with war crimes in the country's 1971 war of independence.
Court officials said Sayedi was the first to be formally charged with war crimes, and others would be charged soon.