Al-Badr commander Azhar gets death for ‘biggest genocide’

Azhar is the eighth senior Jamaat leader to be convicted of war crimes. Photo: tanvir ahammed/ bdnews24.com

Azhar is the eighth senior Jamaat leader to be convicted of war crimes. Photo: tanvir ahammed/ bdnews24.com

Azhar headed the Islami Chhatra Sangha in Rangpur and led the notorious Al-Badr militia in the region.

Bangladesh’s first war crimes tribunal condemned him to death for three charges, including one for killing 1,400 Hindus.

Prosecutor Tureen Afroz said, “The Jharhuar Beel massacre was the biggest genocide the tribunal has tried till date.”

Azhar along with Jamaat-e-Islami and Chhatra Sangha activists and Pakistan troopers attacked villages around the Beel on Apr 17, 1971.

They torched and looted houses and killed over 1,200 Hindus. Another 200 Hindus were picked up from there and killed at an undisclosed location.

The tribunal said death penalty was the only fitting punishment for the heinous crimes Azhar had committed.

Afroz said the war crimes convict did not show even the slightest remorse during trial for his atrocities.

“I’m innocent,” Azhar cried thrusting his hand towards the judges while they were reading out the verdict.

Jamaat, accused of committing war crimes, dubbed the trials a “farce” and alleged Azhar had been “denied justice”.

The party reacted by calling a countrywide shutdown for Wednesday and Thursday like it did in the past after the verdict against its leaders.

Azhar is the eighth Jamaat leader to be convicted of war crimes.

The Al-Badr commander, a higher secondary student at Carmichael College in 1971, abducted and killed four professors and one of their wives.

The college’s Teachers Association General Secretary Sujon Shah-e-Fazlul greeted the death sentence with a sense of relief.

“Although belated, the Carmichael College family is very happy with the verdict,” he said. “It has absolved us of a historical liability.”

War criminal and Jamaat guru Ghulam Azam, who is a symbol of anti-liberation forces, also taught at the college.

Dhaka University history professor Anowar Hossain said, “The new generation will be able to learn about their (war criminals’) crimes through this verdict.”

“It has recognised the contribution of the ‘Biranganas’ (war heroines violated by Pakistanis and their local collaborators) and asked the state to recognise and rehabilitate them.

“It’s a revolutionary move.”

‘Birangana’ Mansura Begum was pregnant when she was violated and tortured by Azhar 43 years ago. She lost the foetus after 18 days.

“Now, I’ll be able to die in peace after the execution of the death sentence,” she said.

Source: bdnews24

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