Abu Saleh Md Abdul Aziz, a former Jamaat-e-Islami parliament member from Gaibandha and convicted war criminal, is known as ‘Ghoramara’ Aziz (horse killer) in his locality.
He was one of the key razakars or collaborators of Pakistan army in Gaibandha during the Liberation War. Aziz assisted the occupation force to carry out torture, rape, murder and looting in the district.
When asked about the origin of this rather peculiar moniker, war crimes prosecutor Sayedul Haque Sumon said Aziz had killed a horse during the war.
Sumon said: “He (Aziz) used to guard Gaibandha’s Matherhat bridge regularly with his cohorts. There was a sugarcane field beneath the bridge. One day, when on guard, they noticed something move in the field.
“The razakars became scared, believing the freedom fighters had taken position there and would soon launch an attack. They fired randomly at first. Later, when the movement stopped, they got down to see what it was.
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“What they discovered was a dead horse. Since then, locals of the area had been calling him Ghoramara Aziz.”
Aziz headed the district’s razakars, formed to assist the marauding Pakistan army. He led the torching of houses belonging to supporters of independence, looting, rape, and killing, according to case details.
His atrocities did not stop with Bangladesh’s liberation. He killed 14 freedom fighters after independence.
Aziz, a member of Jamaat’s central committee, was the member of Parliament from Gaibandha 1 constituency in 2001-06.
Thirteen cases, including two accusing him of crimes against humanity, were filed against him between 2009 and 2013.
He is also one of the key accused in the killing of four policemen in Sundarganj police station in 2013.
The International Crimes Tribunal finally started hearing cases against him on October 26, 2014.
This article was first published on Bangla Tribune