The man who, thanks to the British ruling class, is now at the head of the Sharia Court system in Britain, Abu Shaheed, comes out of that Bangladesh brutal history of Pakistani imperialism.
The British website Harry’s Place has recently carried a survey of this past. They write about Sayeed:
It is deplorable that the head of the main Islamic Sharia court should maintain a position completely at odds with British law and to claim that the majority of women who say they have been raped or violently abused by their husbands are merely fabricating their stories to “expedite” divorce proceedings.
Abu Sayeed in 1971
But Imam Abu Sayeed has a sordid and viciously violent past which few people in Britain know anything about.
In 1995, Channel4 aired a Dispatches documentary called ‘War Crimes File’ which exposed Abu Sayeed as one of three war criminals who had fled Bangladesh to live in Britain. Sayeed was then a “head teacher of a Muslim school and a co-opted member of Tower Hamlets Education Council” but the documentary revealed that he was a senior member of the Al-Badr death squad, a paramilitary offshoot of the Jamaat-e-Islam, which was responsible for the death of thousands of men and the systematic rape of untold more women during the Independence War of Bangladesh in 1971.
Soon after the documentary was broadcast, it was quickly banned in the UK and remains so to this day, thanks to the litigious hair-trigger of Choudhury Mueen-Uddin, senior trustee of Muslim Aid, who, along with Sayeed, was exposed in the documentary as one of the three war criminals.
Fortunately the internet is still the bane of censors, because the documentary footage can be found in its entirety on the superb Bangladesh Genocide Archive.
As a young man, Sayeed was involved with the Islami Chattro Shangyo – the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islam. The Jamaat was then, as it is today, an extremist group of Muslim fundamentalists. In July 1971, the Jamaat-e-Islam organised a secret meeting in Dhaka, the purpose of which was to form the Al-Badr death squad, a violent jihad force created to aid the Pakistan army. Jamaat wanted to remain a part of the Islamic state of Pakistan and was violently opposed to the Independence movement. And in his home town of Sylhet, Abu Sayeed was recruited as a senior member of the Al-Badr.
During the 1971 Bangladesh War of Liberation the Pakistani Muslim Army committed the most horrible barbarities on what was a very poor people. These are not well known or talked about in Britain today. An important book was published called “Tormenting Seventy One” and this is on the net
The following are some extracts which show the extreme cruelty of Pakistan in that war:
I was put in a gunny bag and kept in the scorching sun
Brigadier (Retd.) M. R. Majumdar
One day they forced me to lie on a slab of ice
Lt. Col. Masoudul Hossain Khan (Retd.)
They pressed burning cigarettes on my throat
Masud Sadique Chullu
I had seen many deaths, heard about many incidents of women repression, but never thought that I’d also
have to become the victim of such cruelty
A burning cigarette was pushed at his limbs and needles pierced into
his finger nails
Syed Abul Barq Alvi
As we entered the building, we saw many other dead bodies lying on the floor
I saw signs of terror everywhere
They used to uproot the prisoners’ nails by piercing knives to
Singer Linu Billah
They broke ribs by beating with iron rods
Professor A. M. M. Shahidulla
The Pakistanis used to enjoy everyday after unleashing torture on us
Capt. (Retd.) Syed Suzauddin Ahmed
My arms, hips and back turned blood-stained as they
beat me mercilessly
Naser Bukhtear Ahmed
Before hearing the sound of firing we thought that they would burn
us to death
The Pakistanis used to pierce needles into my nails everyday during interrogation.
I had to run for a mile behind a truck with a rope tied around my neck
Mohammad Nazrul Islam
I found my father’s body on the pile of dead bodies on the street
One Punjabi hound jumped on my body and raped me repeatedly
Mass Grave of 1971 Found Even 28 Years After Liberation War
Julfikar Ali Manik
Killing Fields in Rajshahi : Ten thousand skeletons were found in one hundred mass graves
Dr. Sukumar Biswas
Killing Fields in Khulna : Bodies of the Bengalees drowned in the river after mass killing
Killing Fields in Chittagong : Skulls of at least 20 thousand Bengalees would be found if the ground of
Pahartoli is excavated
Dr. Sukumar Biswas
Killing Fields in Laksam : Rape became a regular phenomenon
in those days
Pakistani occupation forces and their local collaborators in 1971 killed three million innocent Bengalees.
Some 250,000 women fell prey to their barbaric repression. They destroyed thousands of localities in rural
and urban areas. It became impossible for people to bear the repression, killings and barbarism unleashed by
the Pakistani army which led to the exodus of 10 million people into India for shelter and safety.
What was the fault of the Bengalees ? They wanted democracy, a society free from all kinds of
deprivation and repression. They wanted to be a self-reliant country, free from religious conflicts and on the
basis of thousand-year-old rich heritage.
The expectation of the Bengalees was just a reverse of the state philosophy of Pakistan. Pakistan is such a
militarist and fundamentalist country where there is no place for democracy and human rights.
Their military junta headed by General Yahya Khan carried out a genocide in the eastern part of Pakistan,
now Bangladesh, which has no comparison. Systemtic killings, rapes and other barbaric methods were used
on the Benglees in the name of ‘protecting the integrity of Pakistan’ and ‘to protecting Islam’. The killing,
repression and atrocities began on March 25, 1971 and it continued until 92,000 Pakistani forces surrendered
to Bangladesh- India Joint Command on December 16, 1971.
On March 25 midnight, the Pakistani forces suddenly cracked down on the sleeping people of capital
Dhaka. Their first target was the residence of teachers, officials and employees and student dormitories of
Dhaka University, once known as the Oxford of the East. The police and East Pakistan Rifles (EPR),
headquarters followed. Then came the slums, markets and Hindu-populated areas in Dhaka, most of which
were torched. They killed university teachers, employees and students either in their rooms or by firing squad
in the campus gardens. Some were taken away and remained missing. They sprayed bullets as people fled
from burning homes. These people died without knowing their crime. It is estimated that around 60,000
people of the city were killed on that single night.
The Pakistani occupation forces followed similar methods across the country and the genocide continued
during the next nine months or until the country was freed from their clutches. Apart from mass killings,
systemetic killings of identified personalities or professionals was carried out under a blueprint. This process
started with the slaying of Dhaka University teachers and reached its peak ahead of the Victory Day on
Deecmber 16, 1971, as they realised their defeat was imminent.
In conducting the killings, there was a priority list. They had identified five sections of the populace as
their main enemies.
1) leaders, activists and supporters of Awami League, 2) communists and socialists, 3) freedom fighters
and their associates, 4) the Hindu community irrespective of sex or age and 5) students and intellectuals or
There was no specific type of killings. The Pakistanis at first shelled by tanks and mortars to kill a large
number of people of a locality. Then they killed innocent ones lining them up after taking them away from
their houses. Some were put to death by bayonets or burnt alive by the barbaric Pakistani army. They also
slaughtered people like animals. In some cases people were tortured for months until death saved them. The
last method was followed specially for the freedom fighters. There are many people who witnessed that
freedom fighters were dragged on the streets pulled by army jeeps, which would only stop to confirm if their
prey was dead.
Captain (Retd.) Sujauddin Ahmed in his testimony to us said grenades were tied to the back of freedom
fighters and told to run after pulling the pin out. Within seconds they were blown up into pieces to the great
rejoice of the Pakistanis.
The ways the Pakistani forces followed in unleashing torture can’t be expressed in any language. Those
who experienced or witnessed the repression said the cruelty of Pakistani forces was more even than that
unleashed by the Nazis of Hitler during the Second World War.
The major methods used by the Pakistanis to torture the Banglaess were: 1) Verbal abuse coupled with
beating until blood oozed out, 2) Poking with bayonet or beating with rifle butts after hanging the victim by
the leg from the ceiling, 3) the victim was stripped and kept standing for hours in public 4) Burning the whole
body with cigarette, 5) Pushing needles through nails and the head, 6) spraying injuries with salt and chilly, 7)
Pushing electric rod through the anus, 8) giving urine for drinking when the victims screamed for water, 9)
pushing ice through the anus or injuring the entry point of the anus with cigarette burns, 10) the victim, with
his hands and legs tied, was put into a gunny bag and kept under the scorching sun, 11) keeping the injured
naked body on ice slab, 12) denying sleep for days, high powered lights focussed on the eye, 13) giving
electric shock to the sensitive parts of the body, 14) uprooting nails with the help of tweezers and 15) the head
was repeatedly forced into hot water with the body hanging from the ceiling. Besides extremely brutal sexual
tortures were also very common whether male or female.
Depositions of some witnesses of torture by the Pakistani forces were recorded in the eighth volume of
‘Bangladesher Swadhinata Juddher Dalilpatra’.
A brief idea about the brutality of Pakistanis forces could beknown from statements of some sweepers of the then Dhaka municipality. They were picked up from their
houses to remove the bodies.
by Montu Khan is mentionable among them. The other is the series editedby Rashid Haider entitled
(History of BangladeshIndependence War Project) in 1977 under which a volume of 16 books were published entitled “Documents
of Bangladesh’s Independence War.” In the 8th volume (total page 731) contains descritption of ‘masskillings,
refugee and related incidents.’ The 14th volume contains partial description of world media reports
on the genocide.
The “Muktijuddho Gobeshana Trust” led by Professor Salahuddin Ahmed interviewed some 300
witnesses at the grassroot level.
Recent publication on the 1971 mass killings and repression on women are based on the 8th volume, but
they have not been authenticated. Some memoirs or books based on experiences of time, including the one by