Chaos over list of ‘Peace Committee’ members in Ishwarganj

Map of MymensinghProthom Alo illustration

A chaotic situation has emerged over drawing up of a list of ‘peace committee’ members (collaborators of occupying Pakistani army in 1971) in Ishwarganj of Mymensingh. A local leader of ruling Awami League has filed a case at a court against three freedom fighters, who prepared the list.

Many other local leaders of Awami League have been divided over the list drawn up in 2017.

There are 24 names in the list. Late Abbas Ali, father of Ishwarganj pourashava unit Awami League president Habibur Rahman, is in the second position in the list. Besides, Javed Ali Bepari, father of Ishwarganj upazila unit Awami League’s acting president Rafiqul Islam, is fourth in the list.

Three freedom fighters of Ishwarganj Upazila Muktijoddha Sangsad signed the list. They are -- the then assistant commander Md Nurul Haque, assistant commander Md Abdul Hye and former commander Habibur Rahman Akanda.

Speaking to Prothom Alo about the list, former commander Habibur Rahman Akanda said, “The investigation officers of International Crimes Tribunal collected the names of anti-liberation people from different areas in Ishwarganj. The freedom fighters of Upazila Muktijoddha Sangsad helped them.”

Habibur Rahman also said the then upazila nirbahi officer of Ishwarganj, Zakir Hossain, sent a letter requesting him to draw up the list. The UNO’s letter mentioned the memorandum number of International Crimes Tribunal’s letter and the demand made in the letter, he added.

The matter went viral on social media following a news report on the list of ‘peace committee’ members a few days ago. Following this, acting president of Ishwarganj unit Awami League, Rafiqul Islam, on Wednesday filed the defamation suit against the three freedom fighters involved with preparing the report.

Rafiqul Islam told Prothom Alo on Friday that his father was a “pro-liberation war” person and he could “challenge” anyone on this. “The conference of upazila unit of Awami League is scheduled to be held on 29 June. I'm a president candidate in the conference. My opposition is trying to oust me from the contest by bringing the peace committee members’ list in front.”

Countering this, Habibur Rahman Akanda said, “I’m a freedom fighter and not involved with the politics of any party. Still I have been nominated for boat (electoral symbol of Awami League) in the union parishad elections. Even you (journalist) can verify whether the list is correct or not.”

Another signatory on the list is freedom fighter Abdul Hye. He said the investigation officers of the International Crimes Tribunal have prepared the list after gathering information from the freedom fighters of different areas in the upazila.

He acknowledged that he also worked with freedom fighter Habibur Rahman in preparing the list.