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First list of Razakars published

  • Published at 12:23 pm December 15th, 2019
Liberation War minister
Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque addresses a press conference at the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs on Sunday, December 15, 2019 Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

The liberation war affairs ministry will publish updated complete list of freedom fighters in March 2020

The Ministry of Liberation War Affairs on Sunday published the first instalment of the list containing names and addresses of 10,789 Razakars, who collaborated with the Pakistani occupation forces during the 1971 Liberation War.

While releasing the names for the first time in 48 years of its independence, Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Huq at a press conference in the ministry's conference room said the initiative was taken in an attempt to let the next generations know about the anti-liberation forces.

“They should learn who played what roles during the liberation war,” he said.

“The list did not include the top brass of the then political parties who supported Pakistani army in the atrocities. These [Razakars] are those who helped the military at the field level,” the minister said.

The first instalment of Razakars’ list is less than a third of fully exhaustive list, which the minister expects to be ready by March 25, 2020.

The ministry will also publish an updated complete list of freedom fighters on March 26 next year.

The list has already been published at the Liberation War Affairs Ministry's website.

According to the minister,  the Razakars’ list was prepared after scrutinizing the records provided by the archives of the home ministry and several district administrations, who in the first place prepared the lists using their respective district’s archive.

The names those were found in the record room of the deputy commissioner (DC) offices, which were published as gazette by the Ministry of Home Affairs and BG Press earlier was included in the list, he added. Some DC offices claimed that they did not have such records, whereas, some DC offices could not forward their documents to the home ministry in time.

The minister ensured that they have asked the DCs for further information.

While replying to questions, the minister said the list would not be considered as the base for filing case against Razakars. “Filing of any case against war criminals will be continued the usual way.”

Mozammel also mentioned that they only included the addresses and names of the Razakars and were not able to find out their whereabouts. “Their political identities have not yet been confirmed. It can be done in the future.”

The minister assured that the list may later be published as a gazette “as per people’s wishes.” Besides, filtering the list in terms of Al Badr, Al-Shams, and another list of Shanti Bahini would be made based on public demand.

List of freedom fighters to be published on March 26

While speaking on the completion of the list of freedom fighters in the country, the liberation war minister accused BNP-Jamaat led government of manipulating the listing process of freedom fighters of the country.

He explained how the process started and how the ministry finally went for scrutinizing the lists to make it complete.

The then BNP-Jamaat government in 2002 initiated the process of compiling a list of freedom fighters by establishing the Jatio Muktijoddha Council. The council was made responsible to make the list while the Liberation War ministry was assigned to only gazette the list.

“But breaching their own law, the then government started manipulating the lists and included some 44,000 names,” Mozammel said.

The process of scrutinizing the list started in 2017 by forming a committee in each upazila that consisted of six freedom fighters and a UNO who was assigned to do the secretariat task.

“After we started we received some 6 lakh names and the estimated number of actual freedom fighters came down to 251,000, right now,” he said.

The minister said that the spelling error of the freedom fighters’ names and multiple inclusion in several lists, made the number higher than it is.

“Help would be sought from UNO offices to confirm their names and after the scrutinization process. We are assuming that the number might not be more than 210,000,” Mozammel said.

The list would be published on March 26, the minister announced.

Replying to a question the minister said some 1,589 new names of freedom fighters were included during the process.

‘Highest efficiency needed’

Experts of Liberation War hailed the publication of the lists of Razakars by the government but said a greater task remains to be completed.

Professor Emeritus of University of Dhaka, Dr ATM Anisuzzaman termed the publication as “a good initiative” but said: “If it works out then it would be a good source of information for the youth but problem will arise if they [the government] needs to amend the list upon controversy.”

Specialist on genocide, assistant professor of criminology department at the Dhaka University (DU), Umme Wara said: “Highest level of efficiency is needed to complete the list [of Razakars] to avoid further disaster. Before proving themselves [as not guilty], media trial might cause disaster to a family who might be wrongfully included.”