The investigation agency of the International Crimes Tribunal has launched a probe into the war crimes allegations raised against Maqbul Ahmed, the newly-elected ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami from Feni's Dagonbhuiyan.
“An investigation officer was appointed on Wednesday to carry out a preliminary probe,” Coordinator of the agency Abdul Hannan told the Dhaka Tribune Thursday.
The agency has not got any evidence against Maqbul, “but we have received some specific information from the media about his complicity in war-time crimes,” he added. “We will launch formal probe once evidence of his involvement in crimes against humanity is found.”
After serving his party for six years as the acting ameer, Maqbul took oath on Monday after being elected as the new chief of the anti-liberation party. Most of the top leaders of the party have been convicted or executed after trial.
Meanwhile, the freedom fighters in Feni raised allegations of Maqbul's involvement in atrocities committed by Peace Committee and razakar force – formed by Jamaat – in Dagonbhuiyan Upazila of the district during the 1971 Liberation War.
According to Feni district freedom fighters' Commander Mir Abdul Hannan, Maqbul was a razakar leader of Dagonbhuiyan during the war.
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Upon his directives, members of al-Badr and razakar forces had abducted freedom fighter Maulana Waz Uddin, a former leader of Bangladesh Students Union and vice-president of Feni College Central Students' Union, and later killed him in Chittagong, he said.
Dagonbhuiyan unit Commander of freedom fighters Shariat Ullah Bangali accused Maqbul of masterminding the death of 10 Hindus at Laalpur village of Joylaskar Union in the upazila. The victims were burnt to death.
“In another incident, razakar Mosharraf Hossain Mosha killed freedom fighter Ahsan Ullah of Khushipur village of the upazila on the order by Maqbul. Mosha, hailing from Safua village, is still alive,” Shariat told the Dhaka Tribune, demanding investigation into the allegations against the new Jamaat chief.
Mir Hannan alleged that around 200 razakars of Feni including Maqbul had been enjoying impunity as no charges were brought against them at the International Crimes Tribunal.
Jamaat has refuted the allegations as baseless and imaginary.
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During the war, the Jamaat top brass had branded the freedom fighters as miscreants, atheists and agents of India, and took part in genocide, rape, looting and arson attacks in collaboration with the Pakistani occupation forces.
After taking oath, Maqbul in a written statement the same day recalled the contribution and sacrifice of the “valiant and courageous freedom fighters and the people of all classes” in 1971. He also mentioned the names of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Ziaur Rahman, Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani and General Ataul Gani Osmani.
In the same statement, Maqbul, however, claimed that the “authoritarian” government had “unlawfully” executed five Jamaat leaders “because of their pro-active and dynamic roles.”
The government has executed the death penalties of Motiur Rahman Nizami, Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid; Muhammad Kamaruzzaman, Abdul Quader Molla and Mir Quasem Ali.
Jamaat guru Ghulam Azam, who was given 90 years' jail due to old age though his crimes amounted to capital punishment, died when the appeals case was pending with the Appellate Division. Another Jamaat leader AKM Yusuf died in jail during the trial period.
Maqbul also claimed that Jamaat leaders Abdus Subhan, Delawar Hossain Sayedee and ATM Azharul Islam had been kept in jail to face slow death as they were sentenced on the basis of “false and baseless” allegations of crimes against humanity.
Earlier he served as the nayeb-e-ameer, assistant secretary general, regional coordinator and Rokon of the party.
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Hailing from Omrabad village under Purbo Chandrapur Union of Dagonbhuiyan in Feni, Maqbul was a teacher at Feni Model High School in 1971 and later joined Jamaat-e-Islami after his retirement. He lost the 1991 elections contesting from Feni 2 constituency.
Maqbul also supported the 13-point charter for demands of radical Islamist party Hefazat-e-Islam when the latter waged all-out movement against the government in 2013 demanding blasphemy law to try atheist bloggers and a ban on Ahmadiyya Muslims.
Earlier this year, he threatened to wage tough movement if the state religion provision in the constitution was revoked by the apex court.
After taking oath, Maqbul asked the government and other parties to arrange a national dialogue with all the political parties and stakeholders to solve the existing problems and crises of the country.