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We must resist Jamaat’s politics of revenge

02 May 2014

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Gruesome murder on August 15, 1975 was an act of revenge by the defeated forces of 1971.

 After gaining independence in 1971, the country’s radio station came to be known as Bangladesh Betar. But after the August 15 killing, it was renamed Radio Bangladesh on the pattern of Radio Pakistan. The retreat of secular and progressive forces following the brutal murder of the country’s founding father provided a fillip to anti-liberation and pro-Pak Islamist forces and gave them enough space to flourish and re-establish. Following the murder, the anti-liberation force Jamaat that was defeated in 1971, succeeded in acquiring organizational and financial strength and developed scores of business establishments in Bangladesh starting from banks to insurance companies and media houses, under patronage of military

establishments that came to rule the country. Thereafter, over a period of time, Jamaat developed a strong base in Bangladesh. The values of liberation war were trampled and obliterated by this anti-liberation outfit.
 
In the recent past, autocratic rulers captured power in some Muslim countries with the help of some western imperialist countries. But no such thing happened in Bangladesh. On the other hand, the present government of Bangladesh has taken a number of laudable steps as a result of which it has been possible to achieve a consensus on the issue of bringing to justice all the crimes against humanity committed in 1971, to bring about changes in War Crimes Tribunal Act to facilitate unhindered trial of war crimes and at the same time strengthen the prosecution. Moreover, there has been mass awakening against Jamaat-Shibir camp. After being fed up with BNP-Jamaat misrule marked by rise of fundamentalist forces, the people of the country heaved a sigh of relief soon after the present democratic government came to power.
 
The BNP-Jamaat Alliance made a number of attempts to destabilize the present government and also launched several anti-government agitations with the hope of toppling the government. But all such attempts have failed.
 
Last year, youths of the country converged in thousands at Shahbag intersection in Dhaka after the Jamaat Assistant Secretary General Abdul Quader Molla was served with life sentence by the International Crimes Tribunal. For a man convicted of beheading a well known poet, raping women including minor girls and killing more than 350 people (for which he earned the nick name ‘butcher of Mirpur’) during the liberation war, the life sentence came as a big surprise. He was even seen smiling and flashing ‘V’ sign as the verdict was read out in the court. This verdict was by no standard in conformity with the magnitude of crimes committed by him. Bloggers and online activists, mostly young boys and girls, gathered at Shahbag demanding death penalty for Abdul Quader Molla. A fellow war crimes accused Abul Kalam Azad, now on the run, was earlier given death sentence by the same tribunal. 
 
The protest against inadequate punishment initiated at Shahbag by the young bloggers and online activists soon turned into a mass movement showing no signs of abating with a groundswell of people joining and expressing solidarity with the protesters. It all began with a demand for death penalty for Abdul Quader Molla and soon widened its parameters with the surging crowd raising slogans calling for execution of all war criminals and ban on Jamaat and its student front Islami Chhatra Shibir. People from all walks of life turned up in huge number to join the rally and express solidarity with the demands raised by the youth.
 
In order to counter this resurgence of pro-liberation forces, Jamaat-Shibir duo launched a massive campaign to crush the Shahbag movement and take revenge. One of the organizers of Shahbag crusade and online activist Razib was brutally killed by them. A number of Shahbag activists were attacked and severely injured. Thereafter another militant group Hifazat-e-Islam, patronized by Jamaat, appeared on the scene at Shapla Chattar in Dhaka with its 13-point Taliban-like demand. What happened afterwards is known to all and needs no reiteration.
 
Our point of discussion was Jamaat’s politics of revenge and killing. The investigation agency of International War Crimes Tribunal has recently submitted its report on war crimes charges against Jamaat seeking its ban. The prosecution is now scrutinizing the report. The tribunal will soon initiate the process of trial of Jamaat for the crimes committed by it. Jamaat can easily anticipate the likely verdict of the tribunal. It is well aware of all the heinous crimes committed by it to crush the liberation movement in 1971. Will it be possible for it to accept any adverse verdict? Emergence of Bangladesh by defeating Pakistan in 1971 was its first defeat that it has not reconciled with till now. If the tribunal gives an adverse verdict now this will be its second defeat. Is the Jamaat ready to accept its second defeat? Indications of things to come are evident.
 
Hifazat-e-Islam chief is well known for his negative views on female leadership. Jamaat’s views in this regard are no different. Recently, the militant activities of Jamaat’s women front and some other Jamaat-funded female groups have come to notice. Activists of these organizations have spread out in different parts of Bangladesh under the guise of devout Muslims for carrying out anti-government propaganda, terming the government ‘anti-Islam’ and inciting the Musallis to rise up in revolt against the government. Under their instigations anti-government propaganda is being carried out in mosques across the country. There are around 40,000 such workers who have been deployed in different corners of the country on monthly remuneration of Tk 5000 to Tk 20,000 each depending on nature of assignment.
 
Jamaat has now conveniently put its anti-women policy on the back burner. It has been seeking to prop up women’s organizations in all educational institutions where it has presence. Of late, this fundamentalist and anti-liberation group has stepped up activities in elite academic institutions such as Dhaka University, Eden College and Bangladesh University of Science and Technology with the motive of setting up its affiliated student units in these places. 
 
People of the country are well aware that Jamaat’s main objective is to subvert the gains of liberation war and take the country back to pre -1971 days. Jamaat activists have launched jehad against the Hindu minorities. Reports of torching of Hindu temples, desecration of Hindu deities and holy places, land grabbing and looting Hindu property and wealth, molesting and raping of Hindu women and minor girls continue to make headlines of Bangladeshi newspapers. 
 
Although the government is determined to put an end to all fundamentalist forces in the country, its efforts will bear fruit when the people of the country extend their helping hand to ensure communal harmony and make the country free from all anti-liberation groups seeking revenge for defeat in 1971.

 




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