Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal today said that Ministry of Liberation War Affairs did not correct the list of Razakars before publishing it even though his ministry sent a note asking it to verify the information before making the list public.
The Ministry of Liberation War Affairs should have verified the information before publishing the list, the home minister said at a programme in Dhaka.
A day before the 49th Victory Day, on December 15, the government the names of 10,789 Razakars who collaborated with the Pakistan occupation army in carrying out mass killings and atrocities against the Bangalees during the 1971 Liberation War.
“We didn’t prepare a new list. We just published the one prepared in 1971,” Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque told The Daily Star yesterday.
The minister advised the aggrieved freedom fighters or their families to visit the ministry to learn how the list was prepared and how their names got on it.
“The ministry can take initiatives to bring corrections to the list if their claims are found true,” he added.
Pressed further, he said those who prepared the list would be able to give a proper answer.
At an event late last night, the minister regretted that names of freedom fighters were in the Razakars list.
This is the first time the government has made public such a list since the country’s Independence. It includes at least 127 politicians and influential people, many of whom fled the country immediately after the war.
They include convicted war criminal and former Jamaat-e-Islami ameer Ghulam Azam, Muslim League (convention) leader Fazlul Quader Chowdhury, Muslim League leader Khan A Sabur and Muslim League (convention) leader Khwaja Khairuddin.
The Liberation War affairs ministry in May this year started the process of preparing the list of Razakars as per the recommendations of the parliamentary standing committee on the ministry.
In January 1972, the then Bangladesh government had enacted a law to try the collaborators and war criminals. After that, 37,000 people were arrested and sent to jail. About 26,000 were freed following the announcement of a general amnesty.
Around 11,000 were behind bars when the government of Justice Sayem and General Ziaur Rahman repealed the Collaborators Act on December 31, 1975. An appeal spree and release of war criminals en masse followed the scrapping of the law.