Conference to recognise 1971 war as Genocide held at DU

Amra Ekattor organised an international conference to draw attention of international community to have the 1971 war recognised as genocide on 22 May at Dhaka University

Amra Ekattor, an organisation based on the sprit of liberation war, organised an international conference for first time of this type on Bangladesh Genocide Recognition, reports UNB.

The conference was arranged to draw the attraction of the international community to have the 1971 war recognised as genocide.

The conference was organised at Abdul Matin Chowdhury virtual classroom of Dhaka University at 11 am today.

An international team of genocide specialists comprising of Harry van Bommel, former member of parliament of Netherlands, Anthonie Holslag, teacher at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Chris Blackburn, communications director of the Swiss Inter strategy Group, and representatives of EBF from the United Kingdom joined the program.

From Bangladeshi side, Helal Foyeji, Shahriar Kabir, DU vice chancellor prof Mohammad Akhtaruzzaman, chairperson of the Aamra Ekattor organisation Mahbub Jaman and other freedom fighters and activists were present in the conference.

Harun Habib, one of the sector commanders of liberation war of Bangladesh, said, "During the war Pakistani military committed crimes like mas killing, genocide, ethnic cleansing, raping Bangladeshi girls. These crimes must be addressed and globally recognised as genocide. It is not a political claim or movement. It is a matter of human rights."

"By raping our women and girls during the war, they wanted to change our nationalism, and religions. It's a crime against the Bangladeshi nation," he added.

In this regard, Ansar Ahmed, co-president of European Bangladesh forum and a community leader, said, "today we came here to consolidate with the movement of gaining global recognition of the incident of 1971 as a genocide which was committed by Pakistani military. Four United States (US) based organisations have already recognised the incident as genocide. It is a hope for us."

"To have global recognition, we need to make our profile clear about our movement and to clarify our profile, we have to produce more research based publications about the 1971 war. It is the easy and best way to have global recognition of the incident of 1971. However, already some institutes like Center for Genocide Studies (CGS) have started working in this field," he added.

Hafizur Rahman Carzon, director of center for genocide studies, said, "Millions of people were massacred by Pakistani army during 1971 genocide. Again Pak military intentionally and pre-planned way destroyed ethnic minorities and religious minority people especially the people of Hindu community. According to statistics we have, Pakistani military killed 10,000 to 100,000 (1 lakh) people on 25th of March in 1971 after they started Operation Searchlight."

"International community did not pay much attention to this incident as a result we do not have any international recognition till now in spite of passing 52 years of the war. But we are working to have the recognition. Our young researchers are working and doing great jobs. They are bringing incredible information to light which will help us to gain global recognition," he added.

Harry van Bommel, head of the foreign delegation team to the program, said, "Genocide is a part of global history. To make the real history known to the people the incident shall must be recognised globally.

"To have global recognition of this type of incident, it requires much political involvement. For this reason politicians have to come forward and work in this field."

"However, in the Netherlands, I'm working with Bangladeshi people to have an international acknowledgement of the war of 1971. It is a Humanitarian call. As far as I remember, 500 Bangladeshi children were adopted by Dutch families after the war ended in 1971. They do not have any recognition and identity of their own. So, human rights organisations have also a ground to work for attaining global recognition of independence war as a genocide."

"However, as it has much relation with politics, it may take time but it will be recognised as we know that the Armenian genocide was recognised much later from the time it took place,"

"Dhaka University is the place where the genocide was started in 1971, let Dhaka University the first place to recognise it," he concluded.

Thanking all the people demanding the international recognition of the 1971 war as genocide, DU vice chancellor Md. Akhtaruzzaman said, "In 1971, Dhaka University was the center of genocide. No other university in the history of the world has witnessed such a brutal massacre. Some people of this country also collaborated in this massacre."

At the end of the program, Mahbub Jaman, chairperson of Aamra Ekattor, gave framed pictorial posters of 1971 war as gifts and mementoes.