Thursday, July 5, 2012

22 May 2012: Chowdhury 2nd witness cross exam day 1

The day started with the cross examination of Mr. Salimullah, the second witness in the trial of Salauddin Quader Chowdhury by Mr Ahsanul Haque Hena. The original evidence in chief is posted here.

Justice Nizamul Huq asked the defence counsel to please keep it in your mind that the witness is an aged man, so please keep the sound of your voice low when asking him questions, and all the Prosecutors, please do not interrupt in the session of cross examination. And Mr. Salimullah, please at first try to understand the question, afterwards answer it.
Defence: From where you have completed your BA degree?

Witness: I have studied till graduation at the Chittagong College.

Defence: Were you involved with Student Union when you were a student of Chittagong College?

Witness: No. I was not a member of that group, though I supported their cause.

Defence: Was you house situated at Lichubagan, Jamalkhan of Chittagong?

Witness: Yes it is situated at the north side, now it is surrounded by boundary wall. But in 1971 there was no boundary wall.

Defence: There are the houses of Advocate Saifullah and QM Sikandar beside your house.
Witness: Advocate QM Sikandar’s house is situated at the end of the Hem Shen Lane; not beside my house.

Defence: Where is the house of your maternal Uncle Mr. Anisul Islam’s house situated?

Witness: He is not my Uncle. I’m his Uncle. His house is at 14th Jamalkhan Road and my house is at 5th Jamalkhan Road. This road follows the way to Chittagong College. It is the easiest way from my house.

Defence: Whether the Momen road and Abdus Sattar road takes a direct pathway to Chittagong College?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: What is the pathway from your house to Goods Hill?

Witness: To take the path to Goods Hill someone would have to follow the pathway infront of the north side of the Bangla College.

Defence: Where are the houses of Mr. Runu and Mr. Nihar situated?

Witness: There is a gate at the north side of Bangla College, and there is a Mondop [place of prayer of the Hindu.] The houses of Mr. Runu and Mr. Nihar are situated besides the Mondop. There is a car workshop of Mr. Shopon right beside the north side of the house of Mr. Runu. There are many shops beside the Kusumkumari School; among them the shop of Kalachan was very popular.

Defence: When the Government has declared the vested property, there was a big bar (for selling Alcoholic substances) named “Akropon” there at the place of Bangla College. Afterwards Mr. Shamsuddin Md. Ishak established the school.

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Was the bar owned by Ms. Nelly Shengupta?

Witness: Mr. Nelly Shengupta’s house was situated behind the bar, but I don’t know whether she was the owner of the bar.

Defence: The area where the Kusumkumari School, Bangla College, Akropon Bar and the houses of your friend Mr. Runu and Mr. Nihar are situated, that is a busy place.

Witness: Yes that is a busy place now, but it was not that much busy at 1971.

Defence: Whether the Dewanji’s Pond area is mostly populated by the non Muslim Hindu people.

Witness: Yes.

Defence: There were only two houses of Muslim men at the area of Dewanjis Pond - Mr. Advocate Johurul Haque and Advocate Halim.

Witness: I don’t know whether there were only two Muslims in that area.

Defence: What is the distance between Kusumkumari School and the Goods Hill?

Witness: About 300 to 400 Gojj [1000 to 1200 foot]

Defence: To take the path of the houses of your friend Mr. Runu and Mr. Nihar, there is a culvert. And the house of Dr. Foyej was situated at the right side and the afterwards there is the CNB staff quarter, and at the left side there was the Car workshop of Mr. Shopon; afterwards there was the houses of Mr. Amin, Dr. Mutsuddin, Begum Saheb’s house in respective order. After that there was a lane. The workshop Mr. Jobbar and the United Chemicals was situated at the lane. The owner of United Chemicals was Mr. Nironjon Dey.

Witness: Yes.

Defence: in1971 whether car can ride to Goods Hill?

Witness: Yes people and cars could take the same path to ride the path of the hill. There was a wooden railing at the western side, beside the pathway.

Defence: There was no wooden railing.

Witness: There was.

Defence: There was the house of Chief Engineer, CNB- at the parallel line of the path of Goods Hill.

Witness: Yes. Now the house is owned by roads and highway.

Defence: There was not any shop beside Goni Bakery.

Witness: Not true.

Defence: There were lots of houses behind the Goni Bakery. The only entrance was the path of Abdus Sattar road.

Witness: There were other entrances also.

Defence: The Majar of Miskin Shah which was also a big graveyard was located at the western side of Kajem Ali School- which was situated at the western side of the Goni Bakery.

Witness: Yes.

Defence: There was a College named Islamic Intermediate College there right at the western side of the Goni Bakery.

Witness: Yes.

Defence: There was a Christian locality at the western zone of Goods Hill.

Witness: Yes.

Defence: There lived so many pretty ladies.

Witness: I don’t know, what they look like. But there lived many Christian Bangali women.

Defence: There were lot of houses and the Saint Merry School at the opposite side of the Christian locality.

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Whether Jamal Khan Road was a busy place then?

Witness: No, that was not that much busy like today.

Defence: There were several doctors’ chambers at the Jamalkhan Road?

Witness: The number of chamber might be two to four.

Defence: Whether fazlul Quader Chowdhury’s residence was situated at the west-southern part of the hill?

Witness: Yes

Defence: How many doors were there at the front side of the house?

Witness: I didn’t count.

Defence: There was a neat and clean garden at the north side of the house.

Witness: I don’t know whether it was neat and clean, but there was a garden.

Defence: What would be the measurement of the area of the house of Fazlul Quader Chowdhury?

Witness: May be 7 to 8 kathas. But I don’t know the exact measurement, as when I was there it was not possible on my part to count it.

Defence: The garage is located at the western side of the Goods Hill.

Witness: It was located at the north-western zone. It was a two storied garage and there were Sindhi Polices at the upstairs. There was a wooden stair at the southern part.

Defence: What is the measurement of the garage?

Witness: It may hold 3 to 4 cars at a time.

Defence: Do you know what the general width of a private car is?

Witness: No

Defence: How many cars were there?

Witness: There was no car there at the garage other than mine.

Defence: How many Sindhi Police were there at the upstairs?

Witness: 15 or 16. Theie dress was a mixture of the color grey and green. I apprehend there was ome red in the color of their dress. They were talking with each other by using Urdu language.

Defence: Can you converse or write Urdu?

Witness: Previously I could converse or write in that language, but now after a long time I could only converse with that language.

Defence: Whether your father was staying at Karachi for the purpose of his job?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Mr. Fazlul Quader Chowdhury provided the job to your father when he was the education minister?

Witness: It’s totally wrong.

Defence: Whether Advocate Sirajul Alam from Bohoddarhat was working with your father at Karachi?

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: Before 1947 your father was a supporter of Congress.

Witness: No, He was the supporter of Jamate Hind.

Defence: You were in the charge of the printing press which was owned by your family. And you didn’t mention it to the investigation officer.

Witness: I said it.

Defence: The press was named as “Muslim Press”; you didn’t mention about it to the Investigation Officer.

Witness: I said it.

Defence: Mention the address of the press.

Witness: 667 Ovoymitra Dash Road, Firingi Bazar, Chittagong.

Defence: Who was the owner of the shops containing the holding no- 666 and 668?

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: How many workers were working there at the printing press?

Witness: 4 to 5 people.

Defence: You didn’t mention the names of the workers to the investigation officer.

Witness: No. I said it

Defence: They were living on the other side of the Kalurghat Bridge so they used to cross the bridge to come to work at the press. And you didn’t mention it to the investigation officer.

Witness: I mentioned it

Defence: To check whether they’re Hindu or Muslim, the Panjabi Soldiers used to make them take off their clothes.

Witness: I’ve heard about this from the workers.

Defence: Did you ever cross the bridge in the period of liberation war?

Witness: No.

Defence: What is the distance in between Abdus Sattar Road and the houses of your friends—Mr. Runu and Mr. Nihar.

Witness: Less than quarter mile.

Defence: There were so many houses in between.

Witness: Yes.

Defence: On 2nd September 1971, you said a curfew was called in the Chittagong district which is not true.

Witness: It is true.

Defence: Do you hold the papers in support of the curfew?

Witness: No. I was not aware at that time that someday someone would ask me about that.

Defence: You went with the investigation officer to the Hill by wearing shirt and pants; but now you are acting before the Tribunal as though you are sick and trying to get the attention of sympathy from the tribunal.

Witness: Never ever. You’re making bad jokes about my illness. Unlike you the lawyers, I’m not required to act as a sick person and to take leaves from the courts. [The whole audience gallery laughed out with applauses.]

Defence: Did you ever act in any drama in your college life?

Witness: No.

Defence: You didn’t mention the names of the workers to the investigation officer, which you have mentioned in the previous day.

Witness: I said.

Defence: You have a clearing and forwarding farm.

Witness: Yes. It is named as “Cavasjee Noriman & Co.”

Defence: Is it a non Bengali farm?

Witness: At the very beginning it was a Persian farm which was owned by Cavasjee and Noriman. Afterwards, in 1971 it was owned by a Gujrati Muslim named Amin Motiwala. After the liberation war we got the ownership. At first we were the partner, and then we became the owner.

Defence: What is the permanent address of this company?

Witness: 5, Jamalkhan Road.

Defence: After the liberation you have evicted the non-bengalis and took the possession by making false documents.

Witness: Not true.

Defence: Do you know Mr. Babor Ali?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Whether you have contested against him in election?

Witness: Yes. I have contested again him twice. I’ve won one time.

Defence: Whether Babor Ali was the follower of Salahuddin Quader Chowdhuri?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: At the 1970 election the Hathazari, Rangunia and Raujan was under the constituency of Fazlul Quader Chowdhury.

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: The Pakistan Army captured the Chittagong district in April, 1971.

Witness: I can’t remember whether it was on April.

Defence: Have you visited India at the time of liberation?

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