Intro : Bangladesh Supreme Court’s verdict against death sentence to a senior Islamist leader sparks row between police and his party supporters.
Bangladesh, amidst all political turmoil where the Opposition parties are calling frequent strikes since the last general election, readies to hang another war criminal any time. The poverty stricken Muslim dominated south Asian nation earlier witnessed the hanging of religious political leader Abdul Quader Molla on December 12, 2013 for his crimes against the Bangladesh freedom fighters in the 1971 Liberation War. Now it is Islamist leader Muhammad Kamaruzzaman’s turn—A journalist turned political leader of Bangladesh, who is serving as the senior assistant secretary general of Jamaat-e-Islami, who led the Pakistan Army backed Al-Badr militia forces to kill over hundred Muktijoddhas (Bengali freedom fighters) in Mymensingh’s Sohagpur locality during Bangladesh’s uprising against the then west Pakistan authority.
Meanwhile, the close relatives of Kamaruzzaman including his wife Nurun Nahar and eldest son Hasan Iqbal met him in Dhaka Central Jail on April 6 evening. Till then it was not clear whether Kamaruzzaman would go for seeking presidential pardon, the only option left for the sexagenarian leader, before proceeding to the gallows in the next few days. Jamaat’s third important leader Kamaruzzaman was convicted and sentenced to death by a special international crimes tribunal in May 2013 for the crimes he committed four decades back against liberation war fighters. The order was upheld by the Bangladesh Supreme Court in November last year. On April 6, the apex court of the country rejected his final plea, filed on March 5, 2015 to revise the death sentence against his crimes involving genocide, rape and arson.
Kamaruzzaman, who was born in 1952 at Sherpur locality, was a master degree holder in journalism from Dhaka University. He maintained his journalism career with political proximity to Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party. Kamaruzzaman is still the editor of weekly Bengali newspaper ‘Sonar Bangla’ (means Golden Bangladesh). His membership to Bangladesh National Press Club was cancelled only two years back. The Bangladesh law minister Anisul Huq commented that the Dhaka jail authority was ready to hang Kamaruzzaman any time. He, admitted that the war crime convict can still apply for mercy from President Abdul Hamid.
Haroon Hassan, a Dhaka based political analyst, while talking to this correspondent from Dhaka, expressed happiness that Kamaruzzaman would be executed very soon for his crimes against the Bengali freedom fighters, which was sponsored by the Pakistani forces.
“Our Prime Minister (Sheikh Hasina) set up the war crimes tribunal in 2010 amidst the oppositions from various corners including the Jamaat-e-Islami party, which was once an ally to Bangladesh Nationalist Party (led by Begum Khaleda Zia). They unsuccessfully alleged that our present government is scoring political mileages with the war crimes trials,” said Hassan. “I don’t think our President will pardon him (Kamaruzzaman) as he was involved with the killing of over hundred innocent freedom fighters,” asserted Hassan adding that Abdul Quader Molla was even hanged immediately after the review petition in the Supreme Court was scrapped.
On the other hand the probability of hanging another Islamic politicalleader has sparked clashes between the supporters of Jamaat-e-Islami and the police personnel on duty in various parts of south Bangladesh. The Islamic political party even called for a nationwide strike to oppose the death sentence to Kamaruzzaman that resulted in violent activities too. —NJ Thakuria from Guwahati