Razakars’ list will be disclosed by December: Minister Mozammel
Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque on Tuesday said the list of Razakars, an auxiliary force of the Pakistani occupation force during the 1971 liberation war, will be disclosed by December this year. He came up with the remark while talking to journalists after offering the Jummah prayer in Hazart Shahjalal (R) Majar Masjid in Sylhet. “Razakars’ list of principles were drafted, and even work is going on in this regard, it will be possible to disclose the list of the Razakars by December,” the minister said. He said, “Even before there was no act to make a list of the Razakars, the act was passed in the last parliament. Now a committee by making Parliamentary Standing Committee President on the Liberation War Affairs Shahjahan Khan as convener was formed to prepare the list.” Read more: Govt finally publishes list of 10,789 Razakars The minister hoped that the list will be disclosed at the end of the year. Asked about the ongoing movement by the opposition BNP on the caretaker government, he expressed reluctance to make comments saying that the party chief or general secretary can talk on this issue.
Rights activists slam US report’s claims about Jamaat
Anti war crimes campaigners and rights activists have criticized the latest US human rights report on Bangladesh that advocated for the “freedom of assembly” of Jamaat-e-Islami – which strongly opposed the independence of Bangladesh and with the Pakistan army committed crimes against humanity during the Liberation War. According to the US State Department report: “Leaders and members of Jamaat-e-Islami (Jamaat), the largest Muslim political party in the country, could not exercise their constitutional freedoms of speech and assembly because of harassment by law enforcement authorities. Jamaat was deregistered as a political party by the government, prohibiting candidates from seeking office under the Jamaat name.” “This report concerns Jamaat-e-Islami (Jamaat) Bangladesh, a political party which has the proven record of collaborating with the Pakistani Military junta in 1971 in the acts of genocide, abduction, loot, arson, rape and other kinds of violence against women. It is an established fact that its military wings in the name of Al-Badr and Al-Shams were responsible for the killings of intellectuals between December 10 and 14,” noted rights activist Sultana Kamal observed. “With due respect, I would like to submit that scanning through the media, Pakistani government communications, international reports on Bangladesh genocide of 1971, one cannot miss seeing what was the role of Jamaat during the nine months of massacre of Bangladesh… It was through a process of law that Jamaat was deregistered,” she said. As a freedom fighter, she asked if one can imagine Nazi party being allowed to function in Germany. Regarding the US report mentioning Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal as “many observers viewed the proceedings as politically motivated,” the rights activist who is also a renowned lawyer said: “I have no idea on what basis the report states the war crimes trial in Bangladesh was flawed. Since I have not seen any clear explanation as to why some quarters make such remark about the war crimes trial, I prefer not to comment. However, my experience with the tribunal was that the accused’s right to self-defence was fully respected.” Meanwhile, Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee – a group demanding the trial of war criminals and advocating for secularism in Bangladesh – has released a statement regarding the US report. “Jamaat is still engaged in various forms of evil conspiracy against democracy and sovereignty of the country through their sponsored militant, terrorist organisations,” the statement reads. “Jamaat is an anti-democratic fascist party which does not obey the constitution. That’s why the High Court scrapped its registration, not the government,” the Nirmul Committee statement adds. The statement also cautions that the “untrue” claims about Jamaat in the US report could instigate “fundamentalism and terrorism” led by Jamaat. Signatories to the statement included Justice Shamsul Huda; former Supreme Court justice AHM Shamsuddin Choudhury Manik; Barrister Shafique Ahmed; Prof Anupam Sen; cultural personality Ramendu Majumdar; noted artists Hashem Khan and Rafiqun Nabi; writer and war crimes researcher Shahriar Kabir; historian Prof Muntassir Mamoon; and writer and educationist Dr Muhammed Zafar Iqbal.
If BNP comes to power 1971 spirit will vanish: Quader
Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader on Wednesday said that if BNP gets power again, there will be no spirit of Liberation War in the country. "We cannot hand over power to BNP, which is the patron of communal forces and militancy," he said. He made the remarks while joining a discussion meeting organised in the city by Dhaka Metropolitan South Awami League unit to commemorate the ‘Homecoming Day’ of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman after Bangladesh gained victory over Pakistan in 1971. Bangabandhu returned to Dhaka via London and New Delhi on January 10 in 1972 after being freed from jail in Pakistan. Read more: Must maintain good relations with India: Obaidul Quader Quader said that another name for Bangladesh is Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Bangabandhu will remain as long as this land exists, he added. Pointing to BNP's mass sit-in programme on Wednesday, he bitterly criticised the opposition party and said 54 parties have joined hands against Sheikh Hasina. “(But) What will the 54 parties do? They can’t do anything,” he said. Criticising local media, Quader said he could not stay at home even for 50 days during the BNP regime. “(Now) Two BNP leaders had been in jail for 26 days. Some media outlets are writing in a way as if they had been in jail for 26 thousand years,” he said. Read more: Awami League ready to quash domestic, foreign conspiracies: Quader Quader said there will be a game “against corruption, looting and misrule” of BNP. He said that Hasina has “repaired what the BNP had destroyed while in power.” "Sheikh Hasina inaugurated hundreds of bridges and hundreds of roads in one day. Sheikh Hasina can, only Sheikh Hasina can. Let us strengthen her hands," he said. Dhaka Metropolitan South Awami League General Secretary Humayun Kabir presided over the meeting.
‘The energy and magnetism in Sheikh Mujib’s voice in 1972 made me understand why he was a leader of the people’
Back in the country, whose birth she documented, after half a century – Anne de Henning effortlessly recalls those tumultuous times. The veteran photographer met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the other surviving family members of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at Dhaka’s Dhanmondi 32 Memorial Museum on December 19, 2022 – an event she described as “an emotional family reunion”. Henning photographed Bangabandhu giving a speech at the first Council Meeting of Awami League in independent Bangladesh, in 1972. After Bangabandhu and most of his family members were brutally assassinated in 1975, his images were routinely destroyed. Henning’s colour photos of the Father of the Nation are among the few known to still exist. During the Liberation War in 1971, when Pakistan army was not allowing foreign photographers to come here, what compelled her to undertake a perilous journey to Bangladesh? Read more: Anne de Henning’s rare photos of Bangladesh’s birth, Bangabandhu to have Dhaka exhibit Dec 15-24 “I was in Kathmandu at the time, and I saw a dispatch in the local English paper… that trouble had erupted in (then) East Pakistan and that Pakistani authorities had closed the country to the foreign press. And I thought, well, I’m going to go there. As journalists and photographers, when you are told you can’t go somewhere, you know something is going on. So that’s where you want to go,” Henning said.
Rivers, lifeline of Bangladesh, played a crucial role behind victory over Pakistan in 1971: Study
The country’s rivers had played a vital role in defending and guiding the trajectory of Bangladesh's 1971 War of Liberation to victory as a larger number of operations run by the freedom fighters were on the rivers. In 1971, rivers played one of the critical strategic roles, resisting the free and frequent movement of the enemies – Pakistani occupation forces. Most importantly, rivers acted as front-line soldiers by encountering enemies in the first place in the War of Liberation. During the War of Liberation, Bangladesh was strategically divided into 11 sectors to defeat the Pakistani army. As Bangladesh is a riverine country, rivers formed most sector boundaries. Some 87 percent (precisely 86.89pc) of the total boundary of the 11 sectors was demarcated by the rivers, according to a study conducted over the role of rivers in the War of Liberation by a non-government organisation --River and Delta Research Centre (RDRC). Read more: Bangladesh's Liberation War deeply moving for us: Kennedy Jr Mainly, rivers such as Padma, Brahmaputra, Meghna, Jamuna, Surma, Madhumati, and Muhuri played a key role in the formation of the sectors. The highest 100 percent boundary of Sector-1 was demarcated by rivers, while lowest 76.32 percent of Sector-7 was drawn by rivers. Based on the study findings, the RDRC prepared several maps that help understand the geographical aspects, especially rivers and water bodies of Bangladesh in 1971 and how they influenced Bangladesh’s birth. The Sector-10, which covered the entire waterways of Bangladesh including coastal areas, rivers and seaports was formed on May 13, 1971, before the other sectors formed on 12-15 June, 1971. Read more: Brave Women Freedom Fighters of Bangladesh’s 1971 Liberation War According to government official data, naval commandos of sector-10 had undertaken 78 operations along with Jackpot and Hot Pants. In addition, the RDRC in its study found more than 300 guerrilla operations carried out on rivers. In these operations, rivers served as a natural defence, and tactical advantage support mechanism that holds an unassailable position on the enemy side of the river. In this manner, rivers led to the success in the Liberation War. Big and small rivers, monsoon and rains, have isolated, slowed the enemy forces from their occupation, led to national strength and often to war success, cumulating to national independence. “We found 1270 rivers and streams existed during 1971 in Bangladesh. Every channel and stream played a role of direct defence, as well as served as a tactical advantage support mechanism that holds an unassailable position,” said RDRC chairman Mohammad Azaz. Read More: 1971 and the Elderly He said the eastern units of Pakistani troops were supported and supplied the logistics and ammunition through river networks from the beginning of the war in March 1971. In the beginning, the guerilla operations were mainly on land, he added. As the operations increased, Pakistani troops used rivers and waterways as the safest network. Ships and supply chain networks were active and transported across all the major river ports in the country. This situation was functional up to mid-August, he said. “We found that the naval operations and other operations on rivers gained attention globally, and Pakistani forces started losing their confidence and started losing the war from August to December 1971.The guerrilla operations had also lowered the morale of the Pakistani army,” said Azaz. During the 1971 War of Liberation, rivers and waterbodies played a vital role in facilitating communication within and outside the country and helped demolish the Pakistani Military. The influence of Pakistani occupation forces started declining sharply due to naval operations particularly after August 16, 1971, which led to the victory and birth of Bangladesh as a new country in the world’s map. Read More: 1971 loss a ‘military failure’, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal says after ex army chief called it ‘political failure’
30 Indian soldiers who fought to liberate Bangladesh recognised on V Day
The Ministry of Liberation War Affairs accorded a reception to 30 Indian soldiers who fought for Bangladesh during the 1971 Liberation War, at a hotel in the capital on Saturday. Minister for the ministry AKM Mozzamel Haque, President on parliamentary standing committee of Disaster Management and Relief Ministry Captain (retired) AB Tajul Islam, law maker Kazi Firoz Rashid, Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh and Public Security Division Senior Secretary Aminul Islam Khan, among others were present at the programme. A 30 member delegation led by Indian army’s Lieutenant General (retired) Anil Kumar Lambar came to Bangladesh to attend the programme in response to invitation by Bangladesh marking the Victory Day. Read more: Work together to keep 1971 legacy alive: Indian envoy at 'Maitri Alumni Reunion' Expressing gratitude to foreign friends for their role in the liberation war, Minister Mozzamel said the role of India in the history of Bangladesh will remain memorable forever. Bangladesh could not have been liberated within such a short time if India had not extended its support, he said. The minister also informed that the Bangladesh government initiated scholarship for the members of the ally force. He also said that the relationship between the countries will be strengthened in the days to come. Also read: 1971 loss a ‘military failure’, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal says after ex army chief called it ‘political failure’
Prevent plots that go against the constitution, spirit of Liberation War: President
President Abdul Hamid on Saturday called upon people to be vigilant, to prevent any activity and plot that goes against the constitution and the spirit of the Liberation War. “As the practice of democracy and development of values increase, the effectiveness and dignity of the constitution will also increase," he said. He made this call as the chief guest at the function organized by the Bangladesh Supreme Court at the Bangabandhu International Convention Center on the occasion of the golden jubilee celebration of the implementation of the Constitution of Bangladesh and Supreme Court. The president said that exploiting the constitution for the interests of individuals, groups and parties can never be a good example. Terming Bangladesh Supreme Court as the “guardian of the constitution”, he said the executive, legislative and judicial divisions have to work together to keep the sanctity and dignity of the constitution intact. He also reminded the judiciary and lawyers to play a leading role in this matter. Read more: President for ostracising the corrupt for combatting corruption The president asked everyone irrespective of party affiliation to respect the constitution and play a role in establishing democracy and rule of law in the country. Hamid said that the Father of the Nation had mentioned the establishment of an independent judiciary in the constitution, where the Supreme Court and the subordinate courts would conduct judicial work independently according to the law within their respective jurisdictions and limits. The first step towards fulfilling Bangabandhu's dream was ensured when the Supreme Court of Bangladesh started its journey on December 18, 1972, he added. The president lauded Bangladesh Supreme Court as it has been playing a prestigious role as the guardian and protector of the constitution in times of peace and crisis, besides protecting human rights and ensuring justice. A publication, titled “Fifty Years (1972-2022), Literature and Legacy, Supreme Court of Bangladesh”, was launched in the programme while a documentary on the history of constitution was presented. Justice Mohammad Nuruzzaman from Appellate Division of the Supreme court delivered the inaugural speech whileChief Justice of Sri Lanka Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya spoke at the programme as guest of honour. Read more: Create your own identity at national and international level: President at NDC Law Minister Anisul Huq spoke as the special guest while Chief justice Hasan Foez Siddique presided over the programme.
French photographer who documented Liberation War revisits Bangladesh after 50 years
When French photographer Anne de Henning was visually documenting wartime stories of Bangladesh in 1971, a youth urged her to let the world know about the atrocities committed by the Pakistan army. The acclaimed photographer, now 76, went back to her 25-year-old self while talking to journalists at the exhibition “Witnessing History in the Making: Photographs by Anne de Henning”. Samdani Art Foundation and Centre for Research and Information (CRI) jointly organized the event at Liberation War Museum. The exhibition opened on Friday. "Back in 1971, when I was capturing the stories of Bangladesh, a youth narrated how innocent people were being murdered and requested me to let the world hear about it," she told journalists as she was revisiting Bangladesh after 50 long years. Read: Anne de Henning’s rare photos of Bangladesh’s birth, Bangabandhu to have Dhaka exhibit Dec 15-24
Spirit of Victory Day imbues celebrations at home and abroad
Bangladeshis at home and abroad celebrated Bangladesh’s 52nd Victory Day on Friday paying deep homage to the martyrs who laid down their lives for the country during the Liberation War. Imbued with the spirit of the Liberation War and new energy, people from all walks of life joined various programmes paying profound tribute to the martyrs who laid down their lives for the country during the Liberation War in 1971. After a bloodstained nine-month-long war and at the cost of the supreme sacrifice of three million martyrs and the honour of nearly half a million mothers and sisters, Bangladesh finally gained its freedom as an independent country on this glorious day, December 16, 1971 with the surrender of Pakistani occupation forces. Along with the government, different socio-political, educational and cultural institutions and organisations chalked out a series of programmes to celebrate the day. Bangladeshis at home and abroad also celebrated the day. The day’s programme began with a 31-gun salute. Read more: President inspects Victory Day parade President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina paid tributes to the martyrs of the Liberation War by placing wreaths at the National Mausoleum in Savar with the rising of the sun. Freedom fighters and their family members, foreign diplomats, leaders of Awami League, BNP and different other political and social organisations and people from all walks of life also placed wreaths at the National Memorial paying tributes to the martyrs.
Victory Day: BNP pays homage to Liberation War martyrs
BNP on Friday paid homage to the martyred freedom fighters who made the supreme sacrifice for the country during the Liberation War in 1971, by placing wreaths at the National Mausoleum in Savar, marking the Victory Day. BNP's standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain together with party senior leaders placed wreaths at the memorial around 9am. Later, they placed wreaths at the grave of BNP founder Ziaur Rahman at Sher-e-Banglanagar in the capital. Read more: BNP leaders, activists being treated inhumanely in jail: BNP The BNP leaders also offered a monajat seeking salvation of Zia’s departed soul. Khandaker Mosharraf told the reporters, “On this victory day, we hope, we expect - the dictator-fascist government will be ousted from Bangladesh, democracy will be re-established, people's government will be established.” Replying to Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader’s remark on BNP’s connection with militancy, he said this government is distorting the history of the liberation war to stay in power, distorting the 50-year history of Bangladesh for their own advantage. “But people are aware. People will judge whether they (Awami League government) are right, or whether people are right.” BNP also took out a colourful ‘V Day Rally’ around 2:30pm from Nayapaltan in front of BNP’s Central office. Read more: Oust govt to materialise dreams of martyred intellectuals: BNP BNP’s different units and associate bodies also marked the day with various programmes across the country. Earlier in the morning, they hoisted national and party flags atop the party offices marking the Victory Day. The nation has celebrated the Victory Day on Friday to pay deep homage to the martyrs of the Liberation War. After a bloodstained nine-month-long war and at the cost of the supreme sacrifice of three million martyrs and the honour of nearly half a million mothers and sisters, Bangladesh finally gained its freedom as an independent country on this glorious day, December 16, 1971 with the surrender of Pakistani occupation forces.