Names of the collaborators, who had sided with Pakistani army during the nation’s Liberation War in 1971, are likely to be struck down from the electoral rolls.
A preliminary decision to this effect was taken after the 15th Amendment to the Constitution. Recently the Home Ministry has sent a list of those convicted under the Bangladesh Collaborators (Special Tribunals) Order 1972 to the Election Commission.
Commission’s Secretary Muhammed Sadique told bdnews24.com that a list of 47 persons was furnished by the Home Ministry following the EC’s request. “I have not yet gone through the names,” he said.
The list would be placed in the regular EC meeting soon to determine the next steps, the secretary added.
The current voter’s list was prepared by the EC in 2008. In 2009 and 2012 the commission collected fresh data and information, and based on these, it has updated the lists this year.
After the recent trials of war criminals and 15th Amendment to the Constitution, the EC’s attention was drawn to striking of the collaborators’ name from the electoral roll.
Deputy Secretary in the EC Secretariat on Mar 19 wrote a letter to the Senior Home Secretary seeking list of those convicted under The Bangladesh Collaborators (Special Tribunals) Order, 1972.
The letter pointed out that as per the Section 122 -Sub-section 2 (e) of the Constitution, names of those convicted under the Collaborators Order need to be removed from the voter’s list and hence the EC would need the names and description of those convicts.
As per the Constitution’s provision any person could be enlisted as voters for the Parliamentary elections if not convicted under Bangladesh Collaborators (Special Tribunals) Order, 1972.
Section 66 of the Constitution also disqualifies any convict under the same law from participating in any elections.
The Representation of the People's Order (RPO) also debarred those convicted by national or international courts and tribunals from participating in parliamentary elections.
In response to the letter, Deputy Secretary in the Home Ministry on May 25 sent the list of 47 persons to the EC Secretariat.
As per the Home Ministry’s list, four are from Rajbarhi, four from Chittagong, 31 from Comilla, seven from Noakhali and one from Jhenidah.
The list also mentioned the convicts’ jail term and the date of their release. Some of them were also referred in the list as acquaintances of the Razakar Bahini.
War Crimes Facts Finding Committee Convenor MA Hasan said, “This list of the Home Ministry could be a primary one. Nearly 37,000 were accused of being collaborators after the independence. More than 700 were convicted.”
War criminals and the collaborators of the Pakistani forces during the 1971 Liberation War had no rights to be enlisted as voters in this country, he said. “Immediate steps must be taken to prevent them from voting.”
The Bangladesh Collaborators (Special Tribunals) Order was introduced in 1972 for the trial of those sided with the Pakistani army during the Liberation War. But on Oct 31, 1975 the law was scrapped after the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, earlier that year. All the convicts were also released.
The Bangladesh Collaborators (Special Tribunals) Order was introduced in 1972 for the trial of those sided with the Pakistani army during the Liberation War. But on Dec 31, 1975 the law was scrapped after the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, earlier that year. All the convicts were also released.
Names of such convicts were enlisted in the voters’ lists for the nine elections held in the country since independence.
After receiving a detail list from the Home Ministry, the EC after verifying data of the photo electoral roll, would take steps to delete the names of the convicts, the EC officials claim.