People of Pabna’s Santhia, hometown of Motiur Rahman Nizami, hailed the Supreme Court judgment upholding the death penalty of the Jamaat-e-Islami leader for war crimes. The verdict has purged them of a stigma, they say.
The news of upholding death penalty was met with cheers in Pabna. Pro-liberation people, including freedom fighters and Awami League activists, brought out processions and treated each other with sweets to celebrate the occasion.
Abdul Gafur of Dhulauri village in Santhia fought for the country’s independence in 1971. He says Nizami led the collaborators of the occupying Pakistani army not only in Pabna but across the country. “Countless freedom-seeking people were massacred on his instructions. I want quick execution of this war criminal.”
Rajib Hossain Mamun, member of a martyr’s family in Santhia, was visibly overjoyed. “Not even in our dreams did we expect justice for the killing of our near and dear ones.”
“This Al Badr leader became a lawmaker and even a minister once, to the disgrace of the nation. And all we could do is shed tears in silence. But today, we feel really proud.” He thanked the government, the progressive people and all those involved with the war crimes trial process.
A schoolteacher from Manmodpur village regretted the fact that it was Nizami’s native village. “Wherever we went, people would say, ‘Oh, you are from war criminal Nizami’s area!’ We were ashamed of him. Today’s verdict cleansed the disgrace.”
Freedom fighter Abdul Khayer Biswas vented his frustration at BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia for making Nizami a minister during the BNP-Jamaat rule.
“Khaleda Zia insulted the freedom fighters and the independence by handing over to Nizami the national flag, earned through blood of millions, and making him a minister.” He went on to demand that Nizami should not be buried in Pabna.
Nizami’s relatives, however, still thinks he is a ‘very good and popular man’ and the government is out to execute him ‘simply out of jealousy’. “Despite being a minister, he did not illegally amass wealth,” said Kamal Pasha, a distant relative of Nizami.
Jamaat men did not stage any demonstration in Pabna and Santhia in protest against the SC judgment. Pabna Superintendent of Police Alamgir Kabir said they were ready to deal with any subversive attempt.
The International Crimes Tribunal ordered hanging of Nizami on October 29, 2014, for murders and rapes in Pabna and mass killing of intellectuals during Bangladesh’s War of Independence in 1971, according to bdnews24.com. -Mithun