DHAKA: A Bangladeshi court on Monday charged the head of the largest Islamic party with alleged atrocities, including genocide and murder, during the nation’s 1971 independence war against Pakistan.

Motiur Rahman Nizami, the leader of the opposition Jamaat-i-Islami party, was indicted on 16 charges, including killing of some of the country’s top professors, journalists and doctors, a state prosecutor said.

“Nizami was the head of a pro-Pakistan force called Al Badr. The Al Badr men killed many intellectuals on his orders just days before the country won independence,” Ghulam Arif Tipoo said.

The killing of intellectuals at the end of the nine-month war was one of the darkest chapters of Bangladesh's independence struggle.

Most bodies were found in fields just outside the capital Dhaka.

Mr Nizami, 71, who pleaded not guilty, was also charged with genocide, arson and the murder of scores of Hindus in his constituency in the northwestern district of Pabna during the war, Mr Tipoo said.—AFP

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