The Life & Works of Abdul Quader Mollah
by Mukul Islam
In the last letter to his wife he wrote referring Surah At-Toubah verse no. 17 to 28 that “I should celebrate such death if Allah (SWT) desires to get me ascended in the dignified throne of Jannat. Wrongfully being executed by the tyrants is certainly a ticket for Jannat. I always wish for being martyred in the way of Islam. May be this time has come. ………….. Forgive me for my inability to take care of you and our children properly and pray for me so that my heart be devoted only to the love of Allah (SWT) and his Prophet (PBUH). Give advice to our children to be careful about their prayer and halal earning.”
I am talking about Abdul Quader Mollah who wrote the above letter at the time when he had just waiting for his execution. Even on 10th December when his family met him for the last time in the central jail of Dhaka the only thing visible in his face was smile. He was very cool and usual. This is very rare in case of an ordinary human being. But to a pure mumeen, who believes this life as a given time from Allah (SWT) for exam, death is just a door to pass to the eternal world.
Abdul Quader Mollah was born in the village of Amirabad, Faridpur, in 1948. He started his schooling in Jariperdangi Government Primary School. He got both primary as well as junior Scholarships in 1959 and 1961 respectively. Therefore he passed the S.S.C. examination in the first division from Amirabad Fazlul Haq Institute in Faridpur in 1964. Then he got himself admitted into Rajendra College in the same district and passed the H.S.C examination with good result in 1966. In 1968 he did his B. Sc from the same college.
In 1970 he was admitted into University of Dhaka, Department of Physics. Unfortunately he did not sit for M.A. Examination scheduled in 1971 owing to the Liberation War. In 1975 he stood first class first in the Diploma in Education Examination in Social Science breaking the past record from Institution of Education and Research of University of Dhaka. Then he completed his Master in Educational Administration in 1977 and was also placed first class first.
Mr. Mollah’s professional carrier starts with teaching in Udayan High School in 1977. After publishing his M. Ed Examination he joined Bangladesh Rifles Public School and College as a Senior Teacher and subsequently served as Acting Principal thereof. Apart from teaching he joined Islamic Foundation Bangladesh as the cultural officer. In 1978 he joined Bangladesh Islamic centre as Research Scholar. He was also founder-Secretary of Manarat International School and College in Dhaka City till 1979. In 1981, Mr. Molla joined as executive editor to Dainik Sangram, a national daily. He was elected Vice President of combined Dhaka Union of Journalist (DUJ) for two consecutive terms from 1982 to 1983.
While studying in class eight he was impressed with Communist ideology and joined Chhatra Union. He used to study a lot and at a time he started to study Islamic ideology. His study on Quran, Hadith and many Islamic books convinced him to adopt Islamic ideology. To this effect he joined the then Student Islamic Movement named Islami Chhatra Sangha East Pakistan unit in August 1966. In 1970 he became member (Rukn) of the Organization. Afterwards he held various responsibilities thereof. He was President of Shahidullah Hall Unit and thereafter elected as President of Chhatra Sangha Dhaka University Unit and subsequently he was elected at central executive committee.
Mr. Mollah joined Bangladesh Jamaat e Islami in May 1977 and took oath as Rukn (member) in November 1978. He was a member of Central Majlis -e-Shoora of the Jamaat. In 1985 Mr. Molla was elected as Ameer of Jamaat Dhaka City Unit and also member of Central Working Committee. In 2000 he was appointed Assistant Secretary General of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami.
Mr. Molla underwent imprisonment for five times. Due to active participation in the movement against Ayub regime he was first arrested in 1964 .In 1972 he was arrested without any provocation. But soon he got free from the local police station custody facing a widely demonstration staged by the local people. Abdul Quader Molla was again detained for his important role against General Ershad’s rule. Later on, the High court declared his detention illegal and he was released after four months. The then BNP government arrested him in February 1996 for his role in the Caretaker movement. And lastly he was arrested in 2010 by Awami league government.
A social worker
Mr. Mollah was actively involved in many educational institutions and social welfare organizations such as Badshah Faisal Institute, Islamic Education Society and its School Managing Committee, Sadarpur Madrasha and Orphanage and Hajidangi Khademul Islam Madrasha and Orphanage under Faridpur district and Sayyid Abdul A’la Maududi Academy. Besides he was Secretary of Badshah Faisal Institute and its Trust for three consecutive terms and founder Secretary of Manarat International School & College.
He Faces the Worst Injustice
A formal charge was filed by the Prosecution against Abdul Quader Molla before the International Crimes Tribunal on 18 December 2011 in the form of a petition, as required under Section 9(1) of the 1973 Act. He was charged with abetting the Pakistani army and actively participating in the 1971 Bangladesh atrocities: rape (including the rape of minorities) and mass murder of Bangladeshis in the Mirpur area of Dhaka during the Bangladesh Liberation War. Abdul Kader Molla was charged with killing 344 civilians. Under section 20(3) of the Act of 1973, the International Crimes Tribunal announced a verdict and handed down a life sentence to Abdul Quader Molla on 5 February 2013 for two of the six charges and an additional 15-year sentence for three of the charges in addition to the time he had been imprisoned since his arrest. The one remaining charge was not proved in the tribunal by the prosecution.
After pronouncement of this life sentence some anti-islamists gather at Shahbag and organize a movement for ensuring death penalty of all accused persons in the Tribunal. They continue to stay Shahbag square blocking all major roads connecting Shahbag. Most of the participants involving therein are young and school going students none of whom witnessed the real events of wartime in 1971 and biased by some media. They are not sure about the authenticity of their source. However, this movement was able to convince the judiciary and the government. Government amended the Tribunal law violating all rules regarding penal law (i.e. nullum crimen, nulla poena sine praevia lege poenali, meaning “No crime, no punishment without a previous penal law) in order to ensure death penalty.
The trial procedure and the very law (International Crimes Tribunal Act, 1973) were frequently criticized by all national and international human rights organizations and even by the United Nation’s human rights committee. The Economist comments regarding the trial procedure and its credibility in the following words:
The evidence on which the country’s International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) convicted Mr Mollah was flimsy. The charge for which he hanged, of killing six members of one family, was based on the testimony of a single witness, who was 13 at the time and was apparently hiding under a bed nearby. There was no corroborating evidence. In the years since, Mr. Mollah became known as the “Butcher of Mirpur”, but whether he was guilty of these murders or others may never be known.
Mr. Mollah was executed on 12th December, 2013 all of a sudden. He was denied to exercise his right to appeal as the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court itself gave that verdict. His review petition was rejected without any lawful reasoning. Jail Code was suppressed. Neither the Judiciary not the Government justifies the quick execution of Mr. Mollah. Obviously this is a judicial killing and the Judiciary must pay for such injustice. A mob (Shahbag) converts a life sentence into death. A mob defeats the rule of law developed through centuries. Judiciary ironically shows the most heinous partiality in the history of Bangladesh.
Shortly before his execution Mr. Mollah was asked whether he beg his life from the President or not. He answered simply “no, certainly not”. As a pure Muslim he firmly believed that life and death can only be decided by Allah (SWT). He approached the hanging stage with smile in his face as he could see the heaven on the other side of the stage. Mr. Mollah was a single human being but a great spiritual heart. The heart, which will be inspiring thousands of hearts to strengthen his Islamic Movement.