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View Full Version : The Travail of Ashrafuzzaman Khan's Infamous Diary



Archer
31 May 06,, 20:53
Author: Jamal Hasan
Publication: News From Bangladesh
Date: November 10, 1999
URL: http://www.shobak.org/bangla_nuremberg/ashrafuzzaman_khan/nfbnov99.html


Who's Ashrafuzzaman Khan? Why is it so important that we now know the content of his dairy? Please be patient and read this write-up. I will let you draw your own conclusion regarding the culpability of this man.

It was the first week of December of 1971 -- it was also the final chapter in our nine month long days of fire and blood. Forces under the joint command of our valiant Mukti Bahini and the Indian army had almost encircled Dacca from all directions. But even as all seemed lost for the beleaguered Pakistani armed forces, sinister forces were at work at the Governor's House determined more than ever to deliver the coup de grāce to the "upstarts" who had refused to accept the fate of a subject race. General Niazi was huddling with his comrade the infamous Major General Rao Farman Ali, and their chief troubleshooter, Major Siddique Salek. They had just received the list they had been expecting from Al-Badr and Al- Shams. Ashrafuzzaman Khan, a commander of the brutal Al-Badr, had just compiled a list of Bengali intellectuals for the "benefit" of the high command in the Governor's House. It was the list of intellectuals who have been targeted for elimination. The plan was to kill them immediately so that if Bangladesh becomes an independent nation, it will have to make do without those that can contribute significantly to rebuild the infrastructure of the devastated nation. It would be Pakistan's parting kick to Bangladesh, so to speak.

Many of the Bengali intellectuals listed by Ashrafuzzaman Khan were taken out of their homes in the dead of night in that eventful week of December in 1971. Needless to say, none of them lived to see the light of day. Even in the moment of their defeat, Generals Niazi and Ali must have relished the thought that they have forced Bangladesh to pay an extremely heavy price for its independence. It must have given them no little pleasure to imagine that Bangladesh will fall apart in no time without the services of so many of its leading intellectuals.

Bangladesh was liberated on December 16, 1971. Unfortunately, it took longer than it should have taken for the new administration to attend to its tasks. By the time the investigators arrived at the residence of Ashrafuzzaman Khan, he had fled. However, in haste, he had left behind a crucial piece of evidence. The investigators rummaging through his leftover items managed to recover that piece of the puzzle from his house. They found Ashrafuzzaman Khan's diary. In it was that infamous list of intellectuals in his own handwriting. It was indeed a gruesome find that shocked the people. Ashrafuzzaman Khan was a wanted man. Photos of the suspect were posted in all Bangladeshi newspapers. People were urged to apprehend the criminal. But all this was too late. Ashrafuzzaman had managed to flee not just his residence, but his country as well by the time the search was on for his arrest.

Today, Ashrafuzzaman Khan leads an active life of all places in New York. He has assumed a role of leadership in the Islamic movement in the city. Ashrafuzzaman Khan is now the President of the Islamic Circle of North America. I was reminded anew of his terrible past as I read a recent issue of the Washington Post (November 1, 1999). It carried a statement by Ashrafuzzaman Khan on the tragic Egypt air accident. Ashrafuzzaman Khan was quoted as saying, "Sometimes, we face that we are helpless.... another man lost his parents. Nobody knows anything. Everybody is sad. But we have to put our faith in God." This is coming from the man whose infamous list had left so many children without their fathers in that fateful week in December of 1971. What an irony it is that this conspirator par excellence of Bangalee intellectual killings in 1971, is now a dyed-in-the-wool humanist, after all these years! But, is he a humanist? No. He is just a wolf in sheep's skin. That is what he is!

We, Bangladeshis, seem to be singularly devoid of self-esteem. Bangladesh had failed miserably to bring the war criminals to justice after the surrender of Generals Niazi and Ali on 16th December 1971. And today, Sheikh Hasina seems to be more interested in pursuing only those that had killed her kith and kin on 15th August 1975. No one seems interested to bring the killers of 1971 to justice. To me, this is the greatest travesty of justice in Bangladesh.

Of course, Ashrafuzzman Khan hasn't quite been allowed to forget his criminal past. A few years ago, Shahriar Kabir, a leader of Ghatok Dalal Nirmul (Efface the killers and conspirators) Committee exposed the whereabouts of Ashrafuzzaman Khan who, needless to say, stoutly denies any wrongdoing. But editions of the directory of collaborators, "Ekatturer Ghatok Dalal Kay Kothai" (Where are the killers and conspirators of 1971?") continues to carry Ashrafuzzaman Khan's photo together with a print of the pages of his infamous diary.

The Nirmul (Efface) Committee has branches in almost all States of USA. Most of the members were very active under the leadership of Shaheed Janani Jahanara Imam. They had even sent a lawyer to assist the prosecution during the epoch making People's Trial of Prof. Golam Azam and his cohorts. When will they go after Ashrafuzzaman Khan? In America, it shouldn't be too difficult to force a war criminal to answer in a court of law. The million-dollar question is -- who will bell the cat?

(Jamal Hasan writes from Washington, DC. His email address is: poplu@hotmail.com)

Talk about war crimes.