Full list to be published in phases
Nearly five decades after Bangladesh gained independence, there is still no specific data on exactly how many Bangladeshis collaborated with the Pakistani occupation forces and committed crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War.
But this government is finally going to start gradually releasing a partial list of the collaborators of Pakistani forces during the liberation war of 1971 from today.
The first part of the list of Pak collaborators will be released today at a press briefing organised at the conference room of the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs.
Liberation war affairs minister AKM Mozammel Huq will chair the meeting, said Md Zahurul Islam Rhohel, additional secretary (gazette) of the ministry.
The list will include Razakars in the first phase while a list of Al Badr, Al-Shams and the anti-liberation forces will come later, the official said.
Earlier, the government decided to publish the list beginning from December 16, victory day of Bangladesh, but later it decided to publish it from December 15.
The home ministry listed the names of the collaborators who received payment from the Pakistan government during the Liberation War in 1971.
The list was prepared based on the lists provided by the deputy commissioners (DCs) who prepared the lists using their respective district’s archive.
As of early this month, the ministry had received lists from 10 out of 64 districts. Five of the DCs said they did not find any Rajakars in their areas.
Along with the Pak collaborators list, the government will also gradually publish names of the freedom fighters.
The Pak collaborators
During the nine-month war – which began with the declaration of the Independence by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on March 25, and ended with the liberation of Bangladesh on December 16 in 1971 – these collaborators, collectively referred to as “Razakars,” helped the Pakistanis kill nearly three million people and brutally rape, torture and kill over 200,000 girls and women.
There were several organizations who were partners in crime with the Pakistani occupation forces – Peace Committee, Al-Badr and Al-Shams being among the prominent ones.
In the five decades that followed, none of the successive governments of the country succeeded in preparing a complete and verified list of the Razakars – something that the Liberation War researchers, human rights advocates, and people involved with the war crimes trial see as a failure.
Shortly after the war, Bangabandhu enacted the Bangladesh Collaborators (Special Tribunals) Order, 1972 to try the Razakars who assisted the Pakistani army in the killing of Bangladeshis.
Until November 30, 1973, the government arrested 37,471 collaborators under the 1972 order, but a general amnesty was declared for them in 1973. The amnesty, however, was not applicable to those who committed criminal offences like murder, rape, and arson.
Later, in 1975 the order was repealed and about 11,000 people, who were then in custody, were freed, officials at the Ministry of Liberation Wars Affairs said.