Thursday, June 13, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

War heroes voice concern over Jamaat, Shibir's efforts to glorify 1971 war criminals

  • Undermining war crimes through social media
  • 'International lobbyists also spreading propaganda in exchange of money' 


Update : 28 Apr 2024, 11:48 PM

Sector Commanders Forum Liberation 71 has denounced what they described as an alarming spike in efforts by the Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing, Islami Chhatra Shibir, to glorify the war criminals and undermine the war crimes through social media targeting university students.

“These lobbyists who spread propaganda in exchange for money also continuously spread false and fabricated campaigns to stop trials of war criminals and confuse the world's opinions,” said the organization in a statement on Sunday.

The statement came following media exposure of a sudden surge in promoting content targeting former Buet students from a Facebook page inaugurated by a British lawyer who actively advocated for the impunity of a notorious war criminal from Jamaat.

The page was accused of promoting content that SCF found derogatory for war heroes and only amplified by the social media assets of Shibir to aggravate the ongoing deadlock at the leading engineering university, according to campus sources. 

Throughout 2013, Jamaat and Shibir reportedly carried out a grisly spell of firebombing of buses and trains, targeting the killing of law enforcers and bloggers who were vocal about war crimes trials.

Moreover, the page reportedly described a war crimes trial driven by political vendetta and vilified former Buet students, including former Buet student Tonmoy Ahmed, who had been stabbed reportedly by Shibir for his stance in demand of ending impunity for war criminals.

About the presence of Michael Polak, the UK advocate, who was hired by infamous war criminal Mir Quasem Ali, at the inaugural of the Facebook page, the organization of war heroes, mentioned a renewed push has been marked to glorify those who aided the Pakistan army in carrying out crimes against humanity, including genocide, rape, looting, and systematic persecution, in 1971, even five decades after independence.

About the targeted killing of free thinkers who were vocal about demanding war crimes trials, including the recent vilification of anti-war crimes campaigner Tonmoy Ahmed, the statement also raised alarm over the systematic vilification of those students who joined anti-war crimes campaigners in demand of putting an end to the impunity of war criminals. 

In the past, Polak has teamed up with other lobbyists, including Toby Cadman, and ran a campaign to deny justice to millions of family members of martyred heroes at the hands of the Pakistani army and those local collaborators.

Such activity testified to the simple fact that several fronts, including Shibir, the student arm of Jamaat, are still waging a campaign to deny war crimes and project war criminals innocent before students, a clear advocacy to promote wrong history targeting students, said the statement.

The page, operated from the US, was inaugurated by Polak, hired by the family of Quasem Ali, who earlier struck a million-dollar deal with top lobbyist firms in the US to shore up global support for exploiting human rights to ensure impunity for war criminals.

Actively took part in carrying out genocide in 1971, Shibir, renamed from Chhatara Sangha and reborn in 1977, began acting with the ultimate objective of establishing Islamic society and countering the secular spirit of the country. Self-style killing missions and cutting the tendons of students whom they deem rivals are a reported trademark of Shibir.

Pointing out errors on the posts, Tonmoy, who now acts as the coordinator for the Awami League web team and has 130 stitches all over his body, revealed in a Facebook post that “the flimsy allegations are levelled based on the accounts of a former Shibir leader who was involved in plotting the assassination attempt against me."

In association with another Jamaat-hired lawyer Cadman, Polak was found issuing joint statements undermining war crimes and went on an overdrive to present their clients—dreaded war criminals—as victims. The US-based Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention has recognized the killing of Bangladeshis during the 1971 War of Independence as genocide.

Though banned on the campus, the activities of Shibir came to the fore after 24 students were captured, reportedly for plotting subversive activities in a remote area.

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