Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Khokon Razakar may have fled country

Though investigations against Khokon Razakar, a notorious killer of 1971, are in the final stages, rumours are rife that he has fled the country to evade trial for crimes against humanity. According to sources, Khokon fled the country soon after investigations began last year. “We’re also speculating that he is not in the country. Most probably, he is now in Europe,” senior investigating officer Sanaul Huq said on Friday. The investigation agency of the International Crimes Tribunals (ICT) is expected to submit the final report of its probe against Khokon to the prosecution soon, he added.
Huq said the investigation agency has found evidence about Khokon’s direct participation in the 1971 atrocities.
“The Investigation agency is working hard to complete its inquiry. It’s in the final stages. We’ll hand over the report to the prosecution team as early as possible,” he added.
In reply to a query, Huq said if Khokon did not appear before the tribunal to face trial, he would be prosecuted in absentia like Abul
Kalam Azad, alias Bachchu Razakar, who was awarded the death penalty for his involvement in crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War.
According to sources, Khokon Razakar led a group of collaborators to conduct operations in several unions of Nagarkanda, Faridpur, causing immense sufferings to local residents. He acted as the henchman of the collaborators in the areas after his elder brother Zafar Razakar was killed. Though one of the most infamous Razakars, no steps were taken against Khokon even after 40 years of independence.
“We’ve found evidence against Khokon during initial enquiries. Local people spontaneously described his misdeeds. However, we’ll get a clear picture about his involvement in crimes against humanity after the investigation is completed,”
ICT investigator Satya Ranjan Roy said.
Khokon, presently known as Zahid Hossain Khokon, was an Ansar member. He went through tough times soon after independence, but regained his position in society and political influence over the years.
“Later, he became chairman of the Nagarkanda Municipality. He is also a frontline leader of the Nagarkanda upazila unit of the BNP,” the investigator said.
As per allegations, Khokon and his goons, with the aid of Pakistani occupation forces, had gone on the rampage in every union of Nagarkanda upazila, except Dofa, which was the home of his in-laws. They killed innocent, unarmed people, plundered gold jewellery and cash and forcibly took women to Pakistan army camps.
He was involved in such outrageous activities out of revenge for the killing of his elder brother Zafar Razakar, who was killed in the “Battle of Chand Hat” on May 29, 1971. A group of Pakistani soldiers proceeded towards Nagarkanda police station on that day under the guidance of several local Razakars, including Zafar, Khokon and Dr Salam. But they were stopped by a group of freedom fighters at Chand Hat and a gunfight ensued. Hundreds of villagers joined the combat in support of the freedom fighters. Most of the Pakistani soldiers and their local associates, including Zafar, were killed in the Battle of Chand Hat. Khokon, however, managed to escape.
Later, he took over the leadership of the gang and, with the aid of the Pakistan army, carried out vicious retaliatory attacks on Shaheednagar Kodalia, Ishwardi, Chadhat, Purapara, Ashfardi, Baghhat and other nearby unions that lasted for three days (May 30, 31 and June 1). A killing field and several mass graves in those unions still bear the mark of his brutality.

-With The Independent input

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