Kader Siddiqui (Bengali: কাদের সিদ্দিকী, born 1948 Tangail) often hailed as Bagha (Tiger) Kader or Bongo Bir (Hero of Bengal) is one of the most famous fighters and organizers of the Bangladesh Liberation War. Siddiqui has to be decorated as Bir Uttom by the government of Bangladesh. He organized and fought with an estimated 10,000-strong guerrilla force in the Tangail region against the Pakistan Army. This army was called Kaderia Bahini (Kader's Army). At the end of the war, on December 16, Siddique's forces entered Dhaka along with the Indian forces, signalling the end of the war.
Involvement in massacres of prisoners of war
According to a report in The Times, Siddiqui's guerrillas beat up and subsequently bayoneted and shot to death a group of prisoners (who they claimed were Razakars) after a rally held near Dhaka Stadium on December 19, at which Siddiqui himself gave an hour-long speech. The prisoners were murdered after performing Islamic prayers together with their captors. According to the same source, shortly before murdering them, the Mukti Bahini soldiers promised the prisoners 'a fair trial, as in any civilized country'.
Abdul Kader Siddiqui personally bayoneted three prisoners to death and the entire incident was filmed by foreign film crews whom Siddiqui invited to witness the spectacle. Siddiqui was subsequently arrested by the Indian Army.
Siddiqui discussed his involvement in the murders in an interview with Yasmin Saikia, the author of 'Women, War and Making Bangladesh: Remembering 1971'. After describing an event in which Siddiqui shot a Mukti Bahini soldier for stealing a shawl from a Bengali civilian, Saikia states, referring to the Dhaka stadium incident, that 'at the time he did not think of his act as a crime against humanity, being swayed by the Bengali public sentiment for revenge. Today he knows that both the acts - killing a younger soldier for a petty theft and killing the Biharis for being different from the Bengalis - were public acts of violence disguised under the label of national morale to establish the power of the Bengalis and claim victory, but they were violent acts, nonetheless, and he is pained by his past'.
General JFR Jacob of the Indian Army who obtained Gen Niazi's unconditional surrender at the Race Course in Dhaka mentioned in one of his interviews that Tiger Siddiqui and a truck-full of his Mukti forces has to be Shot off the runway with machine gun fire as they had come to kill Niazi just as they were heading towards the airport before the formal surrender ceremony. In the same interview, Jacob clearly mentions that Tiger Siddiqui did nothing much during the war.
Siddiqui was never tried for these crimes.
After East Pakistan seceded from West Pakistan and became Bangladesh, Siddiqui went back to his home town of Tangail where he enjoyed considerable patronage from the Awami League, the party of then Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Mujibur Rahman.
After the assassination of Mujibur Rahman in 1975, Siddiqui and his followers organised attacks on the authorities of Khondakar Mushtaque's government. Elements loyal to Siddiqui operated from bases in Assam province in India and were actively supported by India's Border Security Force.
Siddiqui was an MP in the parliament of Bangladesh. In March 2013, he accused the Bangladesh Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir of hypocrisy in domestic war crimes trials, calling him an ultra-Razakar. He stated, "The current Home Minister was an officer of the Pakistan Government. During the Liberation War...the Pakistan Army massacred people with the assistance of Dr Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir."
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- Brian May in The Times, December 21, 1971, pg. 4
- H. Stanhope, 'Mukti Bahini Bayonet Prisoners After Prayers, The Times, December 20, 1971, pg. 4.
- L. Lifschultz, Bangladesh: The Unfinished Revolution, Zed Press, 1979, p. 64.
- B. May, 'Indian Army Arrests 'Tiger of Tangail' After Dacca Bayoneting', The Times, December 21, 1971, pg. 4.
- Y. Saikia, 'Women, War and Making Bangladesh: Remembering 1971', Duke University Press, 2011, p. 257.
- Lifschultz 1979, p. 64.
- "মহিউদ্দিন খান মহা-রাজাকার : কাদের সিদ্দিকী (Muhiuddin Khan is an ultra-Razakar:Kader Siddique)". Naya Diganta. 2013-03-01.