The liberation war affairs ministry on Sunday published on its website a partial list of collaborators who aided the Pakistani regime during the War of Independence.
Liberation war affairs minister AKM Mozammel Huq launched the list at a press briefing at his office.
The list, collected from the home affairs ministry, includes names of 10,789 people who collaborated with the Pakistani occupation forces in their genocide against the unarmed common people of Bangladesh during the war, he said.
The list features the names of collaborators in different categories like politicians, peace committee members, government officials, professionals and members of the axillary forces of the occupation forces like Razakar, Al-Badr and Al-Shams.
The infamous collaborators have been named in the segment that listed the prominent persons accused in the collaboration cases and awaiting trial just after the independence.
The segment featuring 58 names includes Nurul Amin, Hamidul Huq Choudhury, Khan A Sabur, Khwaja Khairuddin, Raja Tridiv Roy, Aung Shawe Prue Choudhury, Ghulam Azam, Shah Azizur Rahman, Fazlul Kader Choudhury.
The partial list includes a section naming the 204 politicians who became members of the Pakistan National Assembly and the Provincial Assembly during the war.
They were elected after the Pakistani regime vacated the seats won by the Awami League candidates in the general elections of 1970.
This segment includes the names of leaders of the Muslim League, Pakistan Democratic Party, Pakistan People’s Party and Jamaat-e-Islami like Fazlul Quader Chowdhury, MA Hannan, Abbas Ali Khan, Chowdhury Habibur Rahman, Shah Muhammad Ruhul Islam, advocate Abdul Quasem, MA Matin, Afazuddin Ahmed, Maulana AKM Yousuf, Abdur Rahim.
Interestingly, the list includes names of many Hindus as collaborators like Shishir Kr Mukherjee, Tapan Kr Chakroborty, Amrita Lal Ghose, Narendra Nath Majumder, Haripada Dey, Jagadish Ch. Mukherjee and Peari Lal Gain.
But, it does not include the names of many infamous Al-Badr and Al-Shams leaders like Motiur Rahman Nizami, Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mojaheed, Abdul Qader Molllah, Chowdhury Mainuddin and others who were awarded capital punishment by the International Crimes Tribunal in the past five years.
‘It’s not acceptable. The government should have given more attention to compiling lists of collaborators and martyred intellectuals rather than preparing lists of freedom fighters,’ Dhaka University professor emeritus Serajul Islam Choudhury told New Age.
London-based columnist-writer Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury addressing a programme at the National Press Club on Sunday expressed doubt about the government effort for making a list of the collaborators.
He said that many collaborators joined the Awami League or were exercising power showing their connection with the ruling party.
He requested prime minister Sheikh Hasina to publish the names of Pakistani collaborators who joined her party.
Shahriar Kabir, a campaigner for the trial of the collaborators, said that former lieutenant general in the Pakistan Army AAK Niazi in his book stated that the number of collaborators was over 50,000.
‘Many Hindus were forced to be members of Razakar during the war. Instead of publishing the names of such people, the government should publish the names of beneficiaries of the Pakistani government in 1971,’ he added.
Shahriar further said that the ministry would never be able to make a complete list of the collaborators by engaging bureaucrats.
‘Researchers must be engaged in the task,’ he observed.
Bangladesh Muktijoddha Kalyan Trust managing director Iftekharul Islam Khan said that he, while posted at the home ministry in 1997, had found a list of 44,000 members of Razakar, 8,000 of Al-Badr and 3,000 members of Al-shams.
The liberation war affairs minister said that publishing a complete list of the collaborators appeared difficult as many documents on the collaborators preserved at different agencies had been intentionally destroyed by the government led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Jamaat between 2001 and 2006.
‘We will continue our efforts to collect those from the record rooms of the deputy commissioners, the national election commission and other agencies and will publish those on the next Independence Day on March 26,’ he said.
He, however, could not say whether the list of collaborators would be notified through government gazettes or not.
‘We will decide after seeing reaction from the public,’ the minister said.
‘The government will not even punish them unless any aggrieved party files any case against any of them or unless the International Crimes Tribunal tries them as per their routine task, he said.
Mozammel also said that that the ministry could not complete the list of the freedom fighters as it faced difficulties sorting out the names of freedom fighters, many of whom had been enlisted on different gazettes and other lists, published by the ministry at different times.
‘We found that the name of one freedom fighter was included in 12 such lists; even my name was included in five lists,’ he added.
At present, he said, 2,01,461 people are getting benefits from the government as freedom fighters while their number after a primary sorting from different documents stood at 2,51,285, including the 1,589 names recommended by the Jatiya Muktijoddha Council following the screening of over 1,50,000 fresh applicants.
‘We will assign the upazila nirbahi officers to sort out FF names from different gazettes and lists and will publish a complete list on March 26,’ the minister said.
Noted freedom fighters, however, said that the ministry would not be able to publish a complete list of the freedom fighters soon as 793 cases were pending with courts and over 37,200 review petitions were lying with the Muktijoddha Council.
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