Al-Badr (East Pakistan)

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For other uses, see Al-Badr.

The Al-Badr (Bengali: আল বদর, originally from the Arabic: البدر‎ meaning full moon) was a paramilitary wing of the West Pakistan Army, which operated in Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) against the Bengali nationalist movement during the Bangladesh Liberation War.[1]

Members of Al-Badr were recruited from public schools and madrasas (religious schools). The unit was used for raids and special operations;[1] the West Pakistan army command initially planned to use the locally recruited militias (Al-Badr, Razakar, Al-Shams) for policing cities of East Pakistan, and regular army units to defend the border with India.[2] Most members of Al-Badr appear to have been Biharis.[3]

Journalist Azadur Rahman Chandan wrote, 'Islami Chhatro Shongho became very ambitious for some undesired experience of Peace Committee and Razakar. On 15th May, 1971 the Mojlish E Shura (advisory council) of Jamaat-e-Islami proposed to form a separate Razakar force by recruiting the workers of Islami Chhatro Shongho. Pakistani army authority kept it hanging. But there were some officers in Pakistani army who were thinking of other measures in context of the activities of Razakars and Peace Committee. Major Riaj Hussain Malik of Baluch regiment is one of them. He took positive measure in this regard at first. After being active in the front for one and half month he started to believe that they should not depend much on Razakar force.' [4] Chandan also wrote, In an interview to Salim Manur Khalid he (Major Riaj) explained the consequence of forming Al- Badr force: 'The enemies are more in numbers. Insurgents are in formidable strength. We had no communication and surveillance system and supply of arms and ammunition was irregular. Our men were not accustomed to Bengali language and its natural environment because this sort of situation was not included in our training. Under this circumstance, it had become very hard to do the duty of defending motherland. We needed a group of patriotic Bengalese for defending who will be able to help us in protecting Pakistan. In first one and half month our experience with Razakar force became a failure. But in my sector I was observing that the Bengali students of Islami Chhatra Shongho were doing their duty of defense, leadership and maintaining secrecy very constructively. Therefore I made the students united separately with a hesitating mind as I had no permission from high command. They were 47 in number and they all were the workers of Islami Chhatro Shongho. On 16th May, 1971 at Sherpur (Mymensingh district) they were a given a short term military training. After being introduced with their devotion and their merit to acquire the war strategies I delivered a speech to them. In midst of my speech I told them spontaneously that children of Islam like you who have such character such merit and such strength should be entitled as Al Badr. Just like lightning I got the idea that I could name the organization as Al Badr. This name and separate training for the students were so effective that within a few months the work of organizing the all students of Islami Chhatro Shongho became accomplished. The first commander of Al Badr was Kamran and he was a student of I.SC.'

Background[edit]

The name of the paramilitary formation, Al-Badr, may refer to the Battle of Badr.

Together with the Razakar and Al-Shams, Al-Badr was formed in order to counter the guerrilla activities of the Mukti Bahini which grew increasingly organised and militarily successful during in the second half of 1971. All three groups operated under Pakistani command,[5]

Leaders of Al-Badr[edit]

Abolition[edit]

After the surrender of the West Pakistani army on December 16, 1971, Al-Badr was dissolved together with the Razakar and Al-Shams. Many of the members of this elite unit were arrested. However during the time of President Ziaur Rahman, all of the collaborators including Al Badr were pardoned.

Allegations of war crimes[edit]

It is alleged that Al-Badr perpetrated atrocities against civilians during the war of 1971, in particular, the massacre of intellectuals in Dhaka that occurred on December 15, 1971.[8] According to journalist Azadur Rahman Chandan The Al-Badr was experimentally launched in Jamalpur, Mymensingh on April 1971 as a voluntary force with Islami Chhatra Sangha activists as its first recruits to wage war against the nationalist fighters. They were enlisted and trained under the guidance of Mohammad Kamaruzzaman, the assistant secretary general of Jamaat.[9]

Al-Badr is accused of carrying out a planned massacre and particularly the killing of the leading intelligentsia just two days ahead of the final victory on December 16, 1971. Citing excerpts from an investigative report published in the New York Times on January 3, 1972, Azadur Rahman Chandan said, 'Dressed in black sweaters and khaki pants, members of the group, known as Al-Badar, rounded up their victims on the last three nights of the war.'... 'Their goal, captured members have since said, was to wipe out all Bengali intellectuals who advocated independence from Pakistan and the creation of a secular, non-Moslem state.' [10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b R. Sisson and L. E. Rose. Pakistan, India, and the Creation of Bangladesh, University of California Press, 1990, p. 165.
  2. ^ A. R. Siddiqui, East Pakistan - the Endgame: An Onlooker's Journal 1969-1971, Oxford University Press, 2004.
  3. ^ Siddiqui 1990, p. 153.
  4. ^ Chandan, আলবদর ছিল গোপন কমান্ডো বাহিনী, http://www.kalantor.net/?p=116.
  5. ^ Opposition Leader Sheikh Hasina’s parliamentary speech given on 16 April 1992 on the subject of Golam Azam and the public tribunal, in DOCUMENTS ON CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY COMMITTED BY PAKISTAN ARMY AND THEIR AGENTS IN BANGLADESH DURING 1971 137 (1999–2002)
  6. ^ Karlekar, Hiranmay (2005). Bangladesh: The Next Afghanistan?. Sage. p. 152. ISBN 978-0761934011. 
  7. ^ Kabir, Monor (2006). Politics and development of the Jamaat-e-Islami, Bangladesh. South Asian Publishers. p. 67. ISBN 978-8170033059. 
  8. ^ P. Hazelhurst in The Times, Jan 3, 1972, p. 4.
  9. ^ Chandan, Azadur Rahman (February 2011) [2009]. একাত্তরের ঘাতক ও দালালরা [The Killers and Collaborators of 71] (Revised 2nd ed.). Dhaka: Jatiya Sahitya Prakash. pp. 48–54. ISBN 984-70000-0121-4 Check |isbn= value (help). 
  10. ^ Kaler Kantho. December 14, 2012.