Abul Kalam Azad (politician)

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Abul Kalam Azad
Born (1947-03-05) 5 March 1947 (age 71)
Faridpur, Bengal Presidency, British Raj (now Bangladesh)

Abul Kalam Azad, (born 5 March 1947) is a former Bangladeshi politician of the Jamaat-e-Islami, televangelist and convicted war criminal of the Bangladesh liberation war.[1][2][3]

He was the first of nine prominent Jamaat-e-Islami members accused of war crimes by the International Crimes Tribunal-2 of Bangladesh to be convicted for crimes against humanity, including murder and rape.[4][5] On 21 January 2013 Azad was sentenced to death by hanging for his crimes.[6][7][8]

Early life[edit]

Abul Kalam Azad was born on 5 March 1947 to an impoverished farmer,[9] Abdus Salam Mia and his wife of Barakhardia village, under Saltha Police Station of Faridpur District. After attending a qawmi madrasa, he was a student at Rajendra College in Faridpur.[4]


Social activism[edit]

In the 1980s Azad became a regular speaker at a major mosque in Dhaka. He also led an Islamic charity.[3] In 1999, he founded the MACCA, a social charity. Reflecting on its activities he said "We strongly believe that religion and development should work together to help people. We believe development work is only sustainable through religion; otherwise sustainable development is impossible."[9] As part of his social activism, he involved MACCA in an awareness campaign against AIDS.[10]


He anchored a TV show called Apnar Jiggasa (আপনার জিজ্ঞাসা), or Your Questions on a private TV channel in Bangladesh for several years before the trial.[3][11]


Bangladesh Liberation War 1971[edit]

The investigations alleged that during the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971, he, then known as "Bachchu", aged 24, was a close associate of Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, then president of the East Pakistan Islami Chhatra Sangha, the student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami. The prosecution alleges that before the formation of the Razakar paramilitary force, Azad actively aided the Pakistani army in committing criminal acts.[4]

The prosecution alleged that Azad had assisted the Pakistani military as the chief of the Al-Badr force in Faridpur; the members of the force were young men mostly drawn from colleges. He could speak Urdu well because he had studied in a madrasa. As a close associate of the Pakistani army, he participated in committing atrocities on civilians, including the Hindu community and pro-liberation Bengali people.[4][12] His defence counsel calls these allegations "false."[3]

In absentia trial[edit]

In 2010 the Bangladesh government established the International Crimes Tribunal under a 1973 act of Parliament. It has indicted nine suspects who are prominent Jamaat-e-Islami leaders, and two who are Bangladesh National Party leaders. The government was responding to popular support to have the trials and settle longstanding accusations dating to the liberation war of 1971.

The trial was held in absentia because Azad went into hiding hours before Tribunal-2 issued an arrest warrant against him on 3 April 2012.[4][13] He is believed to have fled to India[2] or Pakistan.[1] The court appointed a defence attorney for him, Supreme Court lawyer Abdus Sukur Khan.[14]

Azad was indicted on eight counts for murder, rape and genocide. Investigators alleged that they had identified 14 people murdered by Bachchu: three were women he had raped and nine were other abducted civilians. Testimony was offered by 22 prosecution witnesses, including friends and families of the victims.[14] The prosecution said that Bachchu had burnt down at least five houses, looted 15, and forced at least nine Hindus to convert to Islam.[11][15][16][17]

On January 2013, his trial was the first to be completed; he was convicted of war crimes, on six of eight counts, including murder of unarmed civilians and rape committed during the War.[4][5] On 21 January 2013 Azad was sentenced to the death penalty.[6][7]

Current status[edit]

Abul Kalam Azad is currently believed to have fled to India or Pakistan.[2][1] MACCA, the organisation founded by him, has disavowed him.[18]


  1. ^ a b c "Bangladesh court gives death penalty to 1971 war criminal". IBN Live. 21 January 2013. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c "Azad flees to India". The Daily Star. 10 April 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Televangelist to hang for Bangladesh war crimes". ABC News. 21 January 2013. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Abul Kalam indicted". The Daily Star. 5 November 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "Bachchu 'Rajakar' indicted". Banglanews24.com. 4 November 2012. Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "It's India against Lanka in final". The Daily Star. Agence France-Presse. 4 July 2008. 
  7. ^ a b "Azad gets death for war crimes". bdnews24.com. 21 January 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  8. ^ "Maiden war crimes verdict 'Bachchu razakar' to be hanged". Banglanews24.com. 21 January 2013. Archived from the original on 24 March 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Bodakowski, Michael. "A Discussion with Abul Kalam Azad, Chairman, Masjid Council-Bangladesh". Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs. Georgetown University. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  10. ^ Esack, Farid; de jong, Folkert (2009) [First published 2007]. "Muslims Responding To AIDS: Mapping Muslim Organizational and Religious Responses" (PDF). CHART. p. 87. Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  11. ^ a b "First war crimes verdict Monday". bdnews24.com. 20 January 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  12. ^ "Azad used to decide who to be killed". The Daily Star. 12 December 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  13. ^ "Where is Bachchu Razakar?". bdnews24.com. 21 January 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  14. ^ a b "Bangladesh court hands down death penalty to 1971 war criminal". The Economic Times. 21 January 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  15. ^ "Azad abducted, confined a girl". The Daily Star. 5 December 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  16. ^ "Azad, his men raped 2 sisters". The Daily Star. 6 December 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  17. ^ "Azad killed 2 in Faridpur". The Daily Star. 10 December 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  18. ^ "Management". MACCA. Retrieved 28 February 2016.