Md Amir Hamza, who has been awarded the Swadhinata Padak 2022 in literature posthumously, was sentenced to life imprisonment on charge of killing a farmer and a minor girl in 1978.
Hamza of Barishat village in Sreepur upazila of Magura is known as a poet and a Palagaan performer in the whole district. However, Dianat Fakir, son of murdered Shahadat Hossain Fakir of Barishat village, said, there was a dispute between their family and Amir Hamza's family over an incident of a cow's grazing on a crop field.
"My father was attacked by Amir Hamza and his brother Rabbani Sardar. They brutally hacked my father to death. At the same time, Shilpi, a two-and-a-half-year-old child of Saban Molla, was also killed. A total of six people, including the two brothers, were sentenced to life imprisonment over the incident. After serving eight years in jail, they came out with the help of Magura Minister Majidul Haque when the BNP formed the government in 1991," said Dianat Fakir.
Hamza was also accused in a case filed over a clash in the village in 2007, said police.
According to the family members of Amir Hamza, it is learned that his son Asaduzzaman had applied for the award for his late father. He is currently serving as the chief executive officer of Khulna Zila Parishad.
Asaduzzaman told The Business Standard over mobile phone that it was true that his father had been sentenced to life imprisonment.
"But all through my life, I have known my father as a good man. He was a generous man. He loved people. I tried to collect his poems and songs. The state has recognised him. This is a matter of pride for the people of Magura," he said.
Although Amir Hamza was a convicted felon, he was reputed for his ability to write and compose any poem or song instantly. On the other hand, some people have raised questions about the quality of his works.
He wrote songs not only on Bangabandhu but also on former president Ziaur Rahman, according to some local people.
However, Asaduzzaman said that no poem or write-up of his father on former president Ziaur Rahman was found.
BNP leader Sikder Manjurul Alam, president of a social organisation named Sarathi Foundation in the Sreepur upazila, said, "I published Amir Hamza's first book 'Bagher Thaba.' He used to perform Palagaan. He could write songs and poems instantly."
"Swadhinata Padak 2022" (Independence Award), the highest civilian award in Bangladesh, was announced recently. Ten people and one institution were recognised for their outstanding contributions to the country.
The announcement of Amir Hamza's name for his contribution to literature has been criticised on social media.