List of Rajakars (War Collaborators): Awami League’s “bizarre gift” on the Victory Day

মঙ্গলবার, ডিসেম্বর ১৭, ২০১৯ ৮:৩৩ PM | বিভাগ : English Articles

“Dell,” said he, “let's put our Christmas presents away and keep ’em a while. They're too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on.”

It was the last dialogue of the widely acclaimed short story by O’ Henry “The Gift of the Magi,” a must read one in our H.S.C. syllabus of English literature. Della, a young housewife, could save only one dollar and eighty-seven cents up to the day before Christmas and it was impossible to buy a decent, silver chain for her husband Jim’s gold watch which earlier belonged to Jim’s father. So Della made up her mind to sell her long and brown cascade like hair for 20 dollars and purchase the chain of the watch for Jim. Jim, on the other hand, sold his gold watch to buy a set of tortoise shell combs with jewels for Della.

O’ Henry, in the last paragraph of his story, mentioned “The magi, as you know, were wise men—wonderfully wise men—who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents.”

The author actually wished to convey the message about presenting gifts to our near and dear ones with our best intention, devotion and selflessness which Jim and Della proved for each other.

Enough of browsing literature and let us now focus a bit on the contemporary politics! Yesterday was 16th December, i.e., our glorious Victory Day. But the nation was simply shocked at a very “strange gift” of the “List of Rajakars (War Collaborators)” by the present Awami League (AL) government on the Victory Day morning. It appeared that the recent most list of Rajakars (War Collaborators) by the “Ministry of Liberation War” connotes names of war veterans on pension, gazetted freedom fighters, members of minority communities (who were the worst victims of the 1971 War by Pak Army and their collaborators and it was impossible for them to act as collaborators…it is as much unimaginable as for the Jews to support the Nazi gas chamber in the Second World War) and language movement activists.

It is reported that the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs on Sunday published a list of 10,789 Razakars who collaborated with the Pakistani occupation forces during the War of Liberation in 1971. But the official list of Razakars spark anger and dismay as the name of a Language Movement veteran and war-wounded freedom fighter along with 26 Hindu community members and six women have been noted as Razakars in the list which comprises names of around 1,000 collaborators from Barishal.

Dr Manisha Chakraborty, Member Secretary of Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal’s (BSD) district unit, who earlier contested for mayor position the Barisal Municipality Corporation poll “thanked” the present government for mentioning her father Tapan Chakraborty in the list of the War collaborators who is actually an enlisted freedom fighter. Dr. Manisha, who has resigned from her position as government physician after surviving in the PSC exam, works for battery driven rickshaw pullers and other poorer segments of the society. She is also known as “Goriber Daktar (Doctor for the Poor).”

Manisha’s father Tapan Chakraborty is a gazetted freedom fighter in reality (serial no. 112, page no. 4113) and he obtains the pension as and freedom fighter on a regular basis. He is now counted as Rajakar no. 65 in the list.

“Today I was rewarded for my selfless social work. Thanks to Awami League. Names of my father and grandmother have been published in the gazette of the Rajakars,” she expressed her anguish in a post on social network.

The list, in addition, also connotes the name of her grandmother Usha Rani Chakraborty, wife of Sudip Chakraborty, whom the Pak army took on gun point and slaughtered. Manisha’s party comrades have assured the incident as “outcome of political revenge.”

Meantime, Mihir Lal Dutta, another prominent Language Movement activist, who passed on January 20, 2007 and who suffered from bullet injuries in his abdomen in the War of 1971, has also been mentioned a war collaborator in the list. His father Jitendra Lal Dutta and a brother Subir Dutta Pantha too were slaughtered in the war.

The language movement activist’s son Shuvabrata Dutta too worried over this bizarre list and claimed punishment for those who had made this list.

“My father has been mentioned as Rajakar no. 94 of 22 no. page of Barisal Division as published by the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs. My father was reputed as a journalist, poet, dramatist, lyricist, linguist and short story teller. He was a language soldier and injured freedom fighter. His no. in the “gazette of the freedom fighters” is 289 21/05/2005 and Muktibarta no. 0601011060. I cannot comprehend that how his name has been enlisted in the list of the war collaborators. It is really an insult to the nation.”

On top of all, name of Advocate Golam Arif Tipu, prosecutor of the International War Crimes Tribunal, has also been mentioned in this disputed list.

“I am ashamed even as a citizen of this country. There should be an investigation regarding mentioning me in this list who had participated in every movement of this state since the Language Movement.”

Golam Arif Tipu and five other freedom fighters have been named as “Rajakars” in the list no. 89 (serial no. 606) of the International War Crimes Tribunal while these five freedom fighters and even their family members were basically supporter of the Liberation War. Persons like Advocate Mahsin Ali (organizer of Liberation War), Advocate Abdus Salam (five of his family members were killed in the war and he was staying in India at that time) and the then DC of Rajshahi Abdur Rauf and Police Officer SS Abu Taleb have also been enlisted in the controversial list of Razakars.

Ariful Haque Kumar, a family member of the organizer of Liberation War Advocate Abdus Salam, vented his frustration over naming of the organizers, martyrs of the Liberation War in this “stigmatizing” list. ‘

“It’s really a matter of great pain for us that the Prosecutor of the War Crimes Tribunal himself has been mentioned as a Rajakar. We cannot take it,” he observed.

Waliur Rahman Babu, a researcher on Liberation War, informed that notorious war collaborators of Rajshahi like Advocate Afaz Uddin (Ameer of the then Jamat-e-Islami in Rajshahi), President of the Peace Committee and former MP Ayen Uddin or Wahed Ali Molla are not mentioned in this list while the real freedom fighters have been enlisted.

“It’s a matter of disgrace and shame,” he added.

The “last comic relief,” however, has been offered by the Minister of Liberation War Ministry AKM Mozammel Haque saying that the “list was actually prepared by the Pak army and hence we cannot comment about it.”

As conscientious citizens of the nation, we demand immediate nullification of this disputed list and protect the dignity the families of the freedom fighters. Also we do raise our voices for immediate resignation of the Secretary and Minister of the Liberation War Ministry.

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