Sat, Mar 20th, 2010 11:08 pm BdST
Dhaka, March 20 (bdnews24.com) — As the government prepares for war crimes trials, state minister for law Quamrul Islam has proposed the takeover of all money making entities linked with opposition party Jamaat-e-Islami, whose leaders have been accused of 1971 war crimes.
"We should remain vigilant so that no one can influence war crimes trial," Quamrul said at a meeting in the capital on Saturday.
Justifying the need to seize Jamaat's businesses, Quamrul said: "These murderers will try everything including using their money to save them. Jamaat has banks, insurance companies, hospitals and many other entities, which earn crores of money.
"Earlier they used to spend the money to fund the militants. Now they will spend the money to stop the trial," the state minister added.
The meeting was arranged by the Metropolitan Awami League in response to the recent comment by a leader of the pro-Jamaat student body Islami Chhatra Shibir, that Jamaat chief Nizami was facing "the same kind of lies and conspiracy that the prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) had faced".
AL presidium member and agriculture minister Matia Chowdhury, who also spoke at the meeting, was scathing about Jamaat. "They don't believe in Islam. They divert people and do irreligious works in the name of Islam," she said.
Local government state minister Jahangir Kabir Nanok demanded that Jamaat should be "banned", adding that "the institutions that created militancy by providing funds, must also be banned."
Referring to the main opposition BNP, of which Jamaat is a coalition partner, Nanok said, "Don't create any obstacles on the way to the current development in the country. Such obstruction won't result in any good."
General secretary of metropolitan AL Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya also asked the leaders and activists to be united on the streets "to ban Jamaat-Shibir politics".
'WAR CRIMES TRIALS THIS MONTH'
Meanwhile, State minister for home affairs Samsul Haque Tuku, speaking in Pabna district, warned that "the top war criminal suspects", indirectly referring to Jamaat leaders, would be the first to be tried.
Tuku speaking at a programme in Pabna district, said war crime trials would start "this month".
He also said Jamaat leaders, including chief Matiur Rahman Nizami, secretary general Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid, Jamaat executive committee members Delwar Hossain Saidee, Abdus Sobhan, former Jamaat chief Golam Azam, and assistant secretary general Kamaruzzaman were "branded as the top war criminals".
"Even though the previous governments pardoned them, they will not be let off the hook this time," the state minister said.