No headway in process of listing Razakars

A law has been enacted to prepare the list of Razakars, but there are no associated regulations.

There is no significant progress in the making of an accurate list of the members of anti-liberation war forces – Razakar, Al Badar, Al Shams. The authorities have not even finalised a process for the verification of the identities of the anti-liberation war elements.

Also, no certain regulation has been formulated before preparing the list of Razakars. When the nation is celebrating the 52nd year of victory, a discussion is going on over the setbacks that the authorities may face while preparing the final list of anti-liberation elements.

Members of the sub-committee which was formed to prepare the list are giving contradictory remarks, posing uncertainty about the future of the Razakar list.

The liberation war affairs ministry constituted the three-member sub-committee in April and entrusted it with preparing an accurate and flawless list of Razakars. Shajahan Khan, president of the parliamentary standing committee on liberation war affairs ministry, is heading the committee while the two remaining members are - former state minister for liberation war affairs Tajul Islam and Jatiya Party co-chairman Kazi Firoz Rashid.

The sub-committee is supposed to travel from district to district, talk to the freedom fighters, enlist the Razakars and send their names to the Jatiyo Muktijoddha Council - Jamuka (National Freedom Fighters Council).

The sub-committee has so far held four meetings and discussed what can be done to prepare the Razakar list. They also discussed the possible setbacks in the process.

Talking to Prothom Alo, all three members said it is a tough job to prepare an accurate and flawless list of Razakars. They are facing various challenges to prepare the list after so many years of independence. Hence, no significant progress has been made in the process.

Liberation war affairs minister AKM Mozammel Haque said, “Many Razakars have become relatives of various people and formed family ties with them in the 52 years after independence. Social bonds are also there. Many will not tell the truth in their personal interests while many others may try to make someone a Razakar out of his rivalry. Such a situation may appear at the field level. Therefore, the work of preparing the list should be done consciously and very carefully, so that no controversy emerges.”

The liberation war affairs ministry released a list of 10,789 Razakar, Al Badar, Al Shams members and other anti-independence elements. It sparked a huge public outcry as some gazetted freedom fighters were also mentioned in the list.

The minister came under fire at the parliament and was forced to suspend the list.

Complications with the list

Earlier, there was no legal scope to prepare the list of Razakars. The government repealed the old law and enacted the Jatiyo Muktijoddha Council - Jamuka act. Later, the Jamuka got the task of preparing the Razakar list. The cabinet approved the draft of the Jamuka act in a meeting on 17 January and the parliament cleared it in August.

Kazi Firoz Rashid said it is a tough job, but some tasks have been completed already. They are facing hurdles to work at the field level as the incidents took place five decades ago. They have to keep in mind that someone might be named out of enmity. Also, many people expressed their inability to provide information.

He, however, claimed that around 50 per cent work of the list has been completed.

Tajul Islam, another member of the sub-committee, said there is no noticeable progress in the process of making the list. “It requires traveling district to district. But I haven't been to any district yet. The marginalized village people would not show interest in providing information about another person. The task is complicated, but not impossible.”

Meanwhile, the liberation war affairs ministry said they will not enlist any new freedom fighters. The scope to add new people to the freedom fighters’ list has been repealed, no matter if the proposed one is a real freedom fighter or not.

However, those who have been excluded from the freedom fighters’ list can appeal for their relisting. Also, if any fake name appears in the list, it will be canceled.

On the flip side, there is an indication of adding more than a hundred names to the list of martyred intellectuals. The liberation war affairs ministry called a meeting on 27 December to discuss the issue.

Some 334 people have so far been added to the list of martyred intellectuals in two phases and their names have been gazetted.

AKM Mozammel Haque said, “We have made an accurate list of freedom fighters. If there is any mistake, if anyone draws attention, we will look into it. If a non-freedom fighter is listed, we will check it again. If he is not a genuine freedom fighter, then his gazette will be revoked.”