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Abdul Alim

A former minister in the cabinet of late president Gen Ziaur Rahman (1977-81), Abdul Alim served as the chairman of the "Peace Committee" in Joypurhat in 1971.

1. The first piece of evidence against Alim is given on page 38- 39 of the The Killers and Collaborators of 1971: An Account of Their Whereabouts. It says, "Abdul Alim himself carried out execution of Bengalis by lining them up in rows and then shooting them. Besides, there are many allegations of Alim killing Bengalees by bayonet charges".

2. The same book carries a photograph from a newspaper of the period, which shows a beaming Alim standing beside one Major Afzal of the Pakistan army. Sitting on the ground were a number of freedom fighters, blindfolded and with their hands tied behind their backs. "Those freedom fighters were paraded through the town and later shot dead."

3. According to Dr Kazi Nazrul Islam of Joypurhat, son of late Dr Abul Kashem, on July 24, 197 1, Razakar forces in association with the Pakistani troops raided his father's home and took the latter away. This was done on the orders of Abdul Alim, he said. After torturing Kashem throughout the night, the Razakars took him to Alim at the "Peace Committee" office. Kashem was then sent to Joypurhat police station, and finally to Pakistan army camp at nearby Khanchanpur. On July 26, Kashem was murdered on the order of Alim. Kashem's decomposed body was discovered in a sugarcane field a month later. The killing of Abul Kashem on the orders of Abdul Alim was confirmed by many others in the area, including elected village council chairman of Bomboo Union Molla Shamsul Alam.

4. Molla Shamsul Alam, an eyewitness to the activities of Alim, narrated the tale of one freedom fighter, Fazlu who was captured by Pakistani troops after a fire-fight. He said the Pakistanis took Fazlu and two other prisoners to Abdul Alim at the C&B Colony hall room. Outside, Alim stood on truck and said to supporters gathered there, "Fazlu's father is a friend of mine. I had repeatedly asked him to dissuade his son from this path, but he didn't. Today he has to be to given his punishment, and that is death. I ask you all to find out those who still talk of Joy Bangla (Victory to Bengal, war-cry of the freedom fighters), in your neighbourhoods and beat them to death". Fazlu and others were then taken to Alim's house where they were put through inhuman torture. Later they were taken to the killing grounds in Khanchanpur and murdered.

5. Molla Shamsul Alam also alleged in his testimony that Alim carried out killings of poor members of the Garoal community. In April 1971, Pakistani troops arrested 26 Garoals and took them to Alim's house. They were kept there for three days, then taken to Khanchanpur and killed. Alam further said that Alim used his house as a recruitment camp for Razakars during 197 1. Recruitment of Razakars was one of Alim's duties.

6. Alam also said that in April, Pakistani troops surrounded the Hindu area of Koraikadipur village in Joypurhat and massacred 165 men and women. This raid was carried out on the orders of Alim and Jamaat leader Abbas Ali Khan, he said.

7. In addition to allegations of murder and torture, there are accusations of rape against Alim. Shamsul Huq, an elected village council chairman, said that Alim always justified acts of murder, rape etc., by Pakistani troops and Razakars. According to Huq, Alim used to say that "troops do these sort of things at war time. This is not a fault. We have to accept it in the interest of the country".

8. Shamsul Alam, an associate professor at Joypurhat College, said that Alim and his cohorts once paraded 26 captured freedom fighters around the town on trucks before the prisoners were put to death. Before killing them, Alim put the prisoners on display in the play ground of Joypurhat College, where he told the students, "You can all understand the fate of these prisoners. They are all going to die. If you students join the Mukti Bahini (freedom fighters), then your fate will be the same".

9. ldris Ali, another resident of Joypurhat, said he entered his home-town on December 5 along with other freedom fighters. They captured the "Peace Committee" headquarters the same day, and discovered various documents, including lists of intellectuals earmarked for elimination. Among the documents was minutes of a meeting held on Dec 4 and presided over by Abbas Ali Khan. The minutes bore Alim's signature. There were many other eyewitness reports by local inhabitants of the killings, torture and repression carried out in the area by Alim.

Courtesy : Muktodhara

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