Friday, February 3, 2012

16 Jan 2012: Thirteenth witness

After the defence had made its application seeking a copy of the investigation report, the 13th witness in the trial of Delwar Hossain Sayedee was called to give evidence. (Also see this post about cross examination and about Alim's bail extension which also took place on the same day)
Prosecution: What is your name?

Witness: My name is Gauranga Chandra Shaha.
At this stage the Prosecutor made the Tribunal aware that 3 confidential names would be disclosed by way of the examination. He requested the Tribunal to make an order to the journalist present in the court not to mention the 3 names in the news. The Tribunal replied that if it had been informed earlier, they would have arranged a closed door trial on the ground of confidentiality of the victim. Now, after making such order, if anyone even makes news disclosing the same, they cannot do anything. The prosecutor argued it will be all right if the Tribunal makes an informal order to the press not to disclose those 3 names and the Tribunal went on to keep Prosecutors request.
Prosecution: How old are you?

Witness: I am 67 years old. I was 27 in 1971.

Prosecution: Can you please tell us what happened in 1971?

Witness: In 1971, Delwar Hossain Saidee went to our house with some rajakars. They looted our house and then he took away my 3 sisters. (he started weeping)

Prosecution: What are their names?

Witness: ********* eldest sister, ********** and ********** younger sister.

Prosecution: Where did they take away your sisters?

Witness: They took them to Pirojpur Pakistani army camp.

Prosecution: What happened then?

Witness: They raped my sisters forcefully there and then sent them back to our house after 3 days.

Prosecution: What happened then?

Witness: After some days my sisters came back, Delwar (Hossain) Saidee persecuted us and made us bound to read out Kalema (sacred verse) and to say prayers in the mosque.

Prosecution: What happened then?

Witness: Due to this, being ashamed, my father, mother, sisters and brothers left the country for India. Only I did not leave the country. (He started crying loudly and then he said) Almost 100-150 Hindus were persecuted to become Muslim then. I want justice for that my Lord.

Prosecution: Did he give you any (Islamic) name?

Witness: Yes, after persecution my name was Abdul Gani.

Prosecution: Did he give you anything to go the mosque?

Witness: Yes, he gave me tasbeeh and cap.
The defence counsel raised an objection on the ground that the former question was a ‘leading question’. However, Tribunal Chairman Justice Nassim rejected it.

Prosecution: So when did you go back to Gauranga Shaha again?

Witness: After the independence.

Prosecution: Anything else you want to say before this Tribunal?

Witness: No. Lots of things happened before 40 years ago. I could not remember them all.

Prosecution: Can you please confirm whether the accused Delwar Hossain Saidee is present here or not?

Witness: Yes, there is he. I know him very well. He used to live in a rented house near my house and his father-in-laws’ house was just other side of the canal.

Prosecution: I see. Now can you please name some of the Hindus who were persecuted to Muslim by Delwar Hossain Saidee?

Witness: Narayan Shaha, Nikhil Pal, Gauranga Pal, Sunil Pal, Haran many names I would say? Some of them went to India and some of them already died.

Prosecution: Have you told the same thing to the Investigating Officer of the case?

Witness: Yes.
Defence counsel Mizanul Islam objected that the Prosecution cannot ask such leading question. Tribunal Chairman Justice NIzam accepting the same decided that the prosecution that they cannot ask that question. The question was not included in the witness statement.

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