Nizami carried out a wide range of activities against the war of independence in 1971. At the time he was president of Jamaat’s youth front, the Islami Chattra Sangha (ICS, or Islamic Student’s Organisation). Under his direct supervision, and leadership, the Al-Badr force was set-up to eliminate freedom fighters. Nizami was the commander-in-chief of the Al-Badrs.
The principal aim of the Al-Badr, as a para-military force auxiliary to the Pakistan army, was to turn the Bangalee people into a populace, which would believe in Pakistan and the Islamic philosophy of life from a cultural and political viewpoint.
Leaders of the Al-Badr drew-up the blue-print for the murder of hundreds of Bangalee intellectuals across the country. On their orders, hundreds of such prominent men and women of letter and crafts were murdered throughout Bangladesh including Dhaka. Horrifying tales of these killings by the Al-Badr under Nizami’ s command have been published in many newspapers and journals at home and abroad.
Nizami exhorted his followers through speeches as well as articles in newspapers. In one such article in the party mouth-piece daily Sangram, he wrote, “The day is not far away when the young men of Al-Badr, side by side with the armed forces, will defeat the Hindu force (enemies) and raise the victorious banner of Islam all over the world, after the destroying the existence of India” (source: Daily Sangram,Nov. 14, 1971).
On April 12, 1971, Nizami joined Azam and other leading collaborators such as Khan A Sabur etc., to lead a procession in Dhaka to declare support for Pakistan. The procession, under the banner of the “Peace Committee”, ended with a special prayer for the survival of Pakistan (Daily Sangram, April 13, 1971).
In Jessore south-west of Dhaka, Nizami addressed para-military troops at the district headquarters of the Razakar force, and said, “In this hour of national crisis, it is the duty of every Razakar to carry out his national duty to eliminate those who are engaged in war against Pakistan and Islam” (Daily Sangram, Sept 15, 1971).
People in Nizami’s home district of Pabna have brought allegations of direct and indirect involvement in killings, rape, arson, looting etc.
One such person is Aminul Islam Dablu of Brishlika village under the Bera police station (in Bangladesh, all administrative units below the level of districts are organised under a police station, hence all sub-districts are called Thana, or PS). Dablu told the Commission that his father M Sohrab Ali was killed on the orders of Nizami. Dablu further said other people of the area, including Profulla Pramanik, Bhadu Pramanik, Manu Pramanik and Shashthi Pramanik were killed on Nizami’ s orders. He said there were several eyewitnesses to those killings.
Abdul Quddus, a freedom fighter from Madhabpur village in Pabna, once spent two weeks in an Al-Badr camp after being arrested. He witnessed plans being discussed and drawn-up by the Al-Badr men under supervision of Nizami, to carry out killings, arson, rape etc.
On Nov 26, a Razakar commander named Sattar guided Pakistani troops to the Dhulaupara village where 30 freedom fighters were subsequently killed. According to Quddus, Sattar carried out his activities under Nizami’s orders.
Quddus told the Commission he was able to attend a secret gathering of Al-Badr, which was also attended by Nizami who gave instructions about elimination of freedom fighters. In that meeting, houses of Awami League supporters and possible bases and safe-houses being used by freedom fighters were identified. Quddus said, Nizami gave orders to finish off Awami League supporters and destroy bases of the freedom fighters.
The day after the meeting, Al-Badr forces in cooperation with Razakars, surrounded the village of Brishlika and burnt it to the ground. Quddus said Nizami himself bayoneted to death one Bateswar Shaha in Madhabpur village, situated under Sathia PS, which is now part of the parliamentary constituency where Nizami won a seat in 1991 with a slender majority.
Similar allegations against Nizami was brought by M Shahjahan Ali of Madhabpur village. Ali was captured by Razakars along with several other freedom fighters. The Razakars then proceeded to torture the prisoners with bayonets, finally using long knives to slit their throats. Twelve freedom fighters were slaughtered in that manner, but Ali miraculously survived, although he has a deep scar along his throat and is permanently paralysed.
Ali said one prisoner was burnt alive after being doused with petrol. He said all these killings of prisoners were carried out on Nizami’s order.
REPORT ON THE FINDINGS OF
THE PEOPLE’S INQUIRY COMMISSION ON
THE ACTIVITIES OF THE WAR CRIMiNALS AND COLLABORATORS
Presented by Forum for Secular Bangladesh