For India, Bangladesh executions internal matter

New Delhi, Nov 24 (IANS) India believes Sunday’s executions of two 1971 Liberation War criminals in Bangladesh is an internal matter of the neighbouring country, it is reliably learnt.

Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury, 67, and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid, 68, were hanged in Dhaka’s central jail.

The Indian establishment, it is learnt, is of the opinion that the executions “reflect the feelings of the people of Bangladesh” and are in consonance with the country’s laws.

Chowdhury, a minister in military dictator H.M. Ershad’s cabinet, was hanged for the genocide of Hindus and the murders of Awami League supporters. He was elected MP six times and was the senior-most leader of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) to be sentenced for crimes against humanity.

On October 1, 2013, a special war crimes tribunal found him guilty of nine out of 23 charges including genocide, arson and persecuting people on religious and political grounds, and sentenced him to death. The prosecution said that his father’s residence in Chittagong was turned into a torture cell during the 1971 Liberation War.

Chowdhury’s father was Fazlul Quader Chowdhury, a Muslim League leader and had served as speaker of the National Assembly of undivided Pakistan in the 1960s.

Mujahid, a minister in former prime minister and BNP chief Khaleda Zia’s coalition cabinet and former commander of Al-Badr, a militia raised by Pakistan to crush the Bengali struggle for independence, planned and executed mass murders, including those of intellectuals, scientists, academics and journalists in 1971.

He was sentenced to death on July 17, 2013.

Both Chowdhury and Mujahid had denied all the charges against them.

The Supreme Court upheld their sentences earlier this month.

President Abdul Hamid rejected appeals for clemency by the two men on Saturday night prior to their execution.

With Sunday’s executions, Bangladesh has hanged a total of four war crimes convicts so far.

Jamaat-e-Islam leader Abdul Quader Molla was the first to walk to the gallows in December 2013 while another leader of the same party, Mohammad Kamaruzzaman, was executed in April this year.

Bangladesh’s government has reiterated that the war crimes trials are necessary to bring murderers to justice.

The Indian position is understandable given that New Delhi has never really held back in expressing support to Bangladesh on the matter.

As for the reports that the Islamic State (IS) has appointed a “regional leader” in Bangladesh after the terror group claimed responsibility for the killing of an Italian aid worker in September and a Japanese man in October, the general perception here is that “the IS does not have any base” in that South Asian nation.

The general conclusion is that it was the Jamaat-e-Islami that committed those crimes.

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