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Azharul behind intellectual killing in Rangpur: PW

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pwCourt Correspondent
Underpinning most of the charges, a freedom fighter prosecution witness on Monday specifically blamed accused ATM Azharul Islam, Rangpur commander of 1971 Al Badr, a vigilante group of Jamaat-e-Islami, of masterminding the intellectual killing locally during the War of Liberation.
The intellectual killing was put in effect from March 24-27 in 1971, declaring curfew in Rangpur district towsn to carry out raids in the targeted houses for capturing distinguish persons under a blueprint, said Mohammad Mojibor Rahman Master before the International Crimes Tribunal-1 during his deposition as PW No. 8.
In this context, he referred to the killing of four teachers of Carmichael College -Kala Chand, Sunil Chandra Baran, Chitta Ranjan Roy and Ram Krishna Adhikari -whose bullet-riddled bodies were dumped near Damdama Bridge, said the PW, adding that the wife of Prof Kala Chand was also picked up and killed.
Mojibor also told the tribunal that he had heard from Prof Nurul Islam, a 1952 Language veteran, and others about the killing incidents of intellectuals. Accused Azharul, then district unit president of ICS, student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, had emerged as Al Badr commander in perpetrating the crimes against humanity, and also genocide in collaboration with the Pakistan occupation army.
During his deposition, Mojibor corroborated the evidence of the other PWs in connection with the incidents in April 1971 especially at Taksherhat, Uttar Ramnathpur village and Jharuarbeel massacre in which were killed over 1200 unarmed people who had earlier taken shelter in Jharuarbeel fearing indiscriminate gunfire by the perpetrators while swooping on the villages.
Before concluding his deposition, the PW-8 identified accused Azharul in the dock.
The deposition over, defence counsel Abdus Sobhan Tarafder cross-examined PW Mojibar in part.
On November 12, last year, the tribunal framed charges against ATM Azharul Islam, a commander of 1971 Al Badr, for his involvement in crimes against humanity, including genocide, during the Liberation War, dismissing the discharge plea filed by the accused.
Also a leader of Jamaat-e-Islami, Azharul faces six counts of charges of crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War like killing, abduction, confinement, torture, loot, arson, rape and genocide in Rangpur district.
A week after submitting the formal charge by the prosecution, the tribunal on July 25 took cognisance of the charge against the Jamaat-e-Islami assistant secretary general as it found a strong prima facie case against the accused under subsections 3(2) and 4(1) (2) of the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973.
According to the prosecution case, Azharul, the then Islami Chhatra Sangha (ICS) president of Rangpur district unit, had been involved in the killing of more than 1,200 unarmed innocent civilians in Rangpur during the Liberation War in collaboration with the Pakistan occupation army and its auxiliary force like Al Badr.
It mentioned that Azharul Islam had played a key role in the killing of intellectuals, cultural personalities, physicians and lawyers in different areas of Rangpur during the 1971 war.
On August 22, 2012, police arrested Azharul from his Moghbazar house in the capital in connection with the war crimes case, hours after the tribunal issued a warrant for his arrest following a prosecution plea.

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