This write up is in response to a facebook comment by one of my friends who was vocal against war criminals for long time. “I wanted the trial of war criminal. But, in light of the incidents that took place in last few days, I realized the whole country is not aligned with my will. To save one live, if this much of lives are lost, I have to say, people do not want the trial. And, if people had wanted this trial with the loss of this many lives, the reasoning of this trial is lost from me.”
I wrote this blog in response to this comment.
I disagree. For establishing rule of law this trial is critical
The people who are responsible for the death of 3 million people must be put into trial. If this is compromised, the nation loses its moral stand. For a lot of people, this trial is an emotional issue. But, I look at this from the perspective of moral stand.
The people, who are responsible for the death of Shahids, must face trial. The uprising of people in shahbag proves that people of this country are united in this stand.
The problem is, the people who are all are conducting the trial has an ill motive and a conflict of interest
These people which surely includes the government wants to conduct the trial in a manner so that they can hide the rampant corruption of their party man and they want to use this trial as a way cross their election hurdle by capitalizing on the sympathy , mass people have for the trial. To attain this goal they are taking number of steps that suits their political need on certain time. And these actions are giving rise to doubts whether this trial is being conducted freely, fairly and objectively and without any interference. These doubts has been proven beyond any doubt when Kader Molla who was proved guilty of killing 300 people was given lenient sentence of life time imprisonment, whereas Bachu Rajakar was given maximum penalty for lighter offences.
I strongly disagree with Shahbag in two stands.
One of those is, Shahbag movement demanded that, the tribunal can not be questioned at any cost. The idea was, if the integrity of the tribunal is questioned, future justice will be impaired. And ,the people who raised question about the tribunal were termed as Rajakar. This is odd considering, Shahbag movement itself was born out of protest against a fixed judgment of the tribunal.
Whereas during the Skype fiasco, it clearly came in the international media, how the government is setting the tribunal and motivating the judges. Our tribunal friendly media bypassed these issues and were very protective of these very serious allegations that came into light after the skype fiasco. And, the pro tribunal activists treated even a mention of these issues as blasphemy.
For the uninformed, please read David Bergman’s blog http://bangladeshwarcrimes.blogspot.com/ to get an idea regarding the questions that has been asked. David Bergman is a renowned journalist who unearthed the facts behind Moinuddin Rajakar, now living in UK who was one of the masterminds of intellectual’s death at 14th December. You can’t simply discard what David says.
My personal opinion was, there was justification to support the tribunal thick and thin before the judgment of Kader Mullah was delivered. But, after the Kader Mullah tribunal it was very important to rise due questions about the tribunal.
Based on the proceedings of last few days, I feel that stand was clearly wrong
The source of the widespread violence that is going on around the country, is not the war crimes tribunal itself, rather their fundamental belief that this tribunal is agenda driven and not impartial. I believe, 97% people of this country is united behind the punishment of war crimes. People are getting divided because they have been led to believe that, this court has a bias against islam . The propaganda of amar desh group has some meat as these questions were not answered and any question has been gagged.
This strengthened the moral position of the people who are against the tribunal
For them the conversation in skype fiasco came as a smoking gun proof that, the government and media and all the pro trial establishment are ready twist any truth for getting convenient judgment as suitable for the government. This was farther fumed up by the propaganda machinery of amar desh group who had been claiming that government will try to hang Islamic leaders to destroy islam from the country. These arguments have beefed up the support base.
The pro trial activist group also resorted to deceit in the thaba baba incident. Look, in any debate when you are claiming moral high ground, if you resort to slightest bit of subterfuge for your convenience, in course of time, this will encompass your whole argument and you will lose your moral authority even in the eyes of the neutral.
Islam was dragged into trial by the Sayedee case. Before that, there was no religious angle in this trial
The issue of Sayedee is a complicated one. Because, sayedee has his own identify as a Islamic Preist beyond his identify as a Jamat leader. Sayedee is a well known fiery orator who has traveled across the country for years. He has his own dedicated follower group. And, interestingly amongst all the accused the trial of Sayedee has raised most controversy and number of questions had arisen specially in light of the conversations recorded in Skype. These questions were conveniently ignored by the mainstream media but amar desh group and internet support groups has highlighted those issues repeatedly.
May be the questions are wrong and may be each of the questions has valid answers. But, those questions were never answered and any discussion relating the Skype conversations were gagged in the media by court order. However, in an era of social media due to Streisand Effect, the gagged information gets more publicity than usual. Since these questions were not answered by the appropriate people, the answer to these questions were set by the war criminals and their sympathizers in way that was suitable for them and were used as a huge propaganda to establish the claim that, this tribunal is set up to destroy Islam from the country and it is not a free and fair tribunal.
It should be marked here that, Amar Desh group were instrumental in this propaganda. Amar desh have used this to instigate people against Awami League to gain electoral advantage for BNP and their allies. So, like it or not this tribunal related propaganda and in turn the tribunal itself has converted into political tool for the both the leading parties.
One must not fail to see that there was no demonstration after the judgment of Bacchu rajakars which was the first verdict. Bacchu rajakar himself was a religious cleric but he does not have fan base like Sayedee has. There is no doubt that, violence that followed the judgment of Sayedee were organized by Jamat Shibir but, this is also apparent that a big group of Islamic minded population participated in these demonstrations who otherwise are not Jamat supporter by default. We may call this group “Touhidi Janata”. It had surprised many how Jamat have been able to organize such widespread protest across the country because they liked to believe that, Jamat and Islami Janata are same thing.
For this Touhidi Janata this is a “fight to save Islam”
I find it difficult to comprehend that there can be grass root support in this country for people who were involved in mass killing, rape and other heinous crimes during our liberation war. It is inconceivable that the country will be divided by the support of war criminals. Rather, the reality is country is divided in line with a support for the trial, which has been projected by Amar desh group as an instrument of governments political vendetta.
So, the Touhidi Janata felt that this is their Imani requirement to free Sayedee whom they considered as the protector of Islam. The secular media and facebookers and bloggers have collectively ignored these viewpoints and possibilities. For them anyone who participated in the protest, were Jamat. In last few days there were number of incident where the communities of religious minorities were burnt down and their temples were also attacked. These acts were definitely carried out by the Jamat –Shibir -the defeated forces of 1971. They had only goal and that is to fume up religious hatred. It is unlikely for the Touhidi Janata to participate in this kind of act. The reality is, the Touhidi Janata is a simplistic group of people who even believe that, face of Sayedee was visible in moon.
Beyond this, secular media have also intensified their anger by hiding the stories of widespread shooting on protest marches by police in difference places in simplest of provocations and they were appalled to see that Media were trying to justify this as self defense. This has also angered them and they are still fuming to see that their voices are not heard in the mass media and they feel anguished to see that their side of the story has been marginalized.
The attack on Hindu temples and on Hindu community, opening fire on procession, support to Jamat hartal by BNP is farther complicating the events.
Due to these ever changing dynamics of the conflict, more sub plots are emerging that are overshadowing the main plot. And, these sub plots are creating farther ground for conflict and division amongst the secular, urban middle class, the secular media and political establishment with the Islamic minded Touhidi Janata a lot of whom are residing in villages and townships across the country .
They are burning in rage to see that media is hiding the shooting of police and they feel angry to be marginalized in all forms of media and on the other side we have Bengali nationalist, government, secularized urban population who feel enraged to see houses of minorities are being burnt, temples are being destroyed and national flag are being defamed.
So, in one side it is a fight to save their religion and religious figure from the hand of anti Islamic groups and on the other side this is second liberation war to conquer the Bengali values from the fundamentalist and to save Bangladesh from turning into Pakistan.
So, the trial does not remain important anymore. The sub plots become more crucial than the main plot. People forget what they started fighting and get entangled into an ever twisting conflict where there is no way to win and no way to turn back.
But, it needs to be remembered that the trial is the most important issue. The objectivity of the trial is the source of this violence. So, end of the day, it is the government who should be held responsible for this fiasco, who have tried to played game with a sacred feelings that most people in this country holds so dearly in their heart-the spirit of liberation war.
To a lot of people this trial is a sentimental issue- on both side. But, this is not an issue of sentiment. This is an issue of objective judgement and fair trial.
The people who looks at this trial sentimentally, have no other way but to support every step of the tribunal be it right be it wrong. They have mortgaged their minds to the government and they are ready to oppose any view that challenges the narrative given by the pro trial activist group in fear that, if they don’t agree they will be perceived as Jamat sympathizer. But, I repeat this is an issue about objective judgment and fair trial.
To ensure justice, the collaborators must be put into trial. And, this trial must go on. The lives of 3 million people demand this justice. And to ensure that fair trial, people must question the trial without any fear retribution .
My point is, to unite the country from such sartorial violence , we need to be committed steadfastly to the goal of a fair trial. We cannot allow political play makers to dictate their agenda. If we allow this, all the problems will be resolved. A lot of people will say that, it is not that easy. I would like to differ. Yes, it is that easy. Honesty, equality and fair trial.
What is happening now was what was expected.
In Tazreen garments i 112 workers had died in one incident. In a standard launch drowning incident in meghna river average 500 people dies in Bangladesh. I have heard the death toll has not yet crossed 100. But people are saying “civil war” very quickly.
The [Jamaat] wanted the situation to be exactly like this and still now every dice is being rolled exactly in the manner they wanted it to be played.
Source: Alal O Dulal