Monday, November 12, 2012

15 Jul 2012: Azam 2nd witness testimony

Tribunal one

The Tribunal has adjourned the process of Opening Statement in the case of Nizami as he can’t be produced before the Tribunal since he is in the Chittagong District Court for another case.

Before starting of the deposition of the prosecution witness, the Chairman asked Mr. Mizanul Islam how much time whe would like to take for completing the cross examination of the Investiation officer for Sayedee's case and then Mr.Mizanul submitted a document setting out the particular times required to complete different sections of his Cross examination.

He then moved onto the case of Golam Azam and told the prosecution that he expected the examination in chief of the second witness Mahbub Uddin Ahmed Bir Bikrom, to be completed by the end of the day. The last hearing for this case can be found here
Prosecutor: State your identity.

Witness: My name is Mahbub Uddin Ahmed, Bir Bikrom; Father- Late Altaf Uddin Ahmed; Aged- 67 years.

Prosecutor: How old were you during 1971?

Witness: 26 years old.

Prosecutor: What is your highest level of education?

Witness: I have passed MA of Economics from the University of Dhaka.

Prosecutor: Afterwards what have you done?

Witness: Afterwards being selected on the Pakistan Civil service examination I have joined at the Police Cadre.

Prosecutor: During March, 1971 where were you?

Witness: I was on a settlement training a Police Officer of Satkania District and I was the SDPO (Sub Divisional Police Officer) of Jheenaidoh District. To hear the Speech of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman me along with many other friends have gone to Chittagong. But Radio did not transmit it, so we were unable to here the speech. Instantly my friends have taken the decision to return towards their work place, so we didn’t have return to the training Camp.

I have returned to Dhaka and stayed at the Police Control Room till 17th March, 1971. After getting informed about the present movement of the people of the East Pakistan, I have returned to my workplace Jheenaidoh on 18th May, 1971. After returning there I have contacted with the local political leaders and the local people and let them be introduced with the Ansar Training.

On 22nd June, 1971, my residence was at Wapda Rest House, Jheenaidoh. My friends the SDO of Meherpur- Dr. Toufik-I Elahi Chowdhury, SDO of Magura Waliul Islam, SDO of Rajbari- Shah Md. Farid and the SDO of Norail- Kamaluddin Siddiqui have gone to my residence. We have consulted about the overall condition of the State and we have decided that we will maintain our communications with each other and we will be at the side of the people.

On 25th March, 1971, at 11:30 P.M. we have got information from the Wireless Baseline of Rajarbag Police Line that the Pakistan Army has attacked the Rajarbag Police Line. One Police Constable has informed me about the matter. Instantly I have gone to the Police Station and called the local people and the politicians. The Government Officers of Jheenaidoh were also present there. We all have decided that we will fight against the attack of Pakistan Army. 400 three-zero-three rifles were there at the Jheenaidoh Armory. I have distributed those to the interested people and formed Mukti Bahini.

In the meantime a news has spread that Jessore contingent is moving towards Jheenaidoh by the Jessore-Jheenaidoh road. By receiving the news we have blacked out the whole city. By watching the black out, the Pakistan Army has preferred staying at 5 miles distant from the southern area of the city. We have understood that if we try to fight against the Pakistan Army with these three zero three rifles we all will be destroyed, so we all the armed people have went to the nearby sugar-cane farm to hide ourselves.

One Jeep with Pakistan Army had gone to the Police station and searched for us. Without getting the trace of anyone they have moved towards Kushtia. Instantly we have returned to Jheenaidoh and decided to block all the entrances of Jheenaidoh. Afterwards all the peoples of the area started cutting down the big trees to make the blockages on the roads. At that time they all have cut down the branches of the big trees beside the Jheenaidoh-Kushtia road, Jheenaidoh- Jessore road, Jheenaidoh- Chuadanga road and made obstacles over the roads. The local Wapda Engineers have made booby traps on the Garagonj Bridge which is 8 miles north from the Jheenaidoh district and Bishoykhali Culvert of 5 miles southern place. The freedom fighters were staying at the opposite side of the Booby trap by making trench.

In the meantime on 28th March, 1971 the EPR 8 No winging Commander Major Abu Osman Chowdhury of Chuadanga has communicated with me and called me to Chuadanga. There I have met my friend Dr. Toufik-E-Elahi again after 22nd March. Major Osman has given us the badge of Captain Rank for getting advantages at the war.

On 29th March, 1971 Awami League General Secretary JKMA Ajij has informed us that two guests have arrived from Dhaka, please come sharp. Afterwards we have met Mr. Taj Uddin Ahmed and Barrister Amirul Islam at approximately 11 A.M. They have requested me to help them crossing the border. I have consulted and visited my friend Toufik-E-Elahi and started towards Jheenaidoh at the afternoon and by passing Chuadanga and Chayngkhali we have handed them over to the Indian BSF. The BSF has moved them to Delhi with due respect.

The local people of Kushtia have taken the decision to attack the Pakistan Army of Kushtia by the leadership of the EPR 8 No winging Commander Major Abu Osman Chowdhury of Chuadanga. So, at the end of the night of 30th March, the people of Kushtia and the armed people sent over by us and a company of armed people sent over from Chuadanga have attacked the Kushtia- EPR. They have broken the silence of the night by the slogan of ‘Joy Bangla’ and ‘Joy Bangabandhu’. The Pakistan Army had taken shelter at the District School on being bewildered by the attacks of the people. The people have set fire by applying petrol throughout the surrounding area of the District School. Then the Pakistan Army has rushed towards Jheenaidoh to get back on the Cantonment. The frontline Jeeps have fallen down at the Garagonj Booby Trap and a lot of army officer have died instantly. The Armies who have moved to the rescue of the frontline Jeeps have been shot down by the bullets fired by the freedom fighters who were hiding themselves at the nearby trench. In these circumstances the Pakistan Armies fired over Jheenaidoh with cannon and the Guns. The army officer have scattered in some small groups and started hiding themselves in the nearby villages. The villagers have killed all of them in the morning and the villagers have collected all the bullets and arms and taken those towards the Police Station.

One Lieutenant Ataullah Shah has taken shelter in a closed building and started firing like mad. Me with other people have surrounded the building and directed him to stop firing and then he has stopped firing. We have arrested him as a POW and then he has been sent to India by Chuadanga. As far as I know he was the first POW. This is the destruction of the perilous 27 number SNT battalion. To rescue the other Army officers another troop has been sent over from Jessore Cantonment on 1st April. They have been fallen in trouble when they reached Bishoykhali Culvert. The freedom fighters have restrained them and they fled away.

In 2 days of war many of us have been injured and 6 have died. Among those 6 dead men there were 2 sons of the local MNA-- Mr. Anwarul Islam. We have captured a lot of automatic cocktail, automatic Machine Gun, Mortar, Light Machine Gun, 6 pieces 106 mm. deep mounting RCL Gun, 18 pounds Bombs, and millions of bullets from the Pakistan Army. So that, we became strong, and started planning to attack the Jessore Cantonment. By this battle the western part of Jamuna river consisting the Jessore Cantonment became liberated. We have discussed with our sector Commander Abu Osman Chowdhury and started moving towards Jessore Cantonment. We have stayed near 10 miles north, at a trench at the Barobazar Rail-line. The Jessore- Jheenaidoh road became closed for the Pakistan Army. This situation continues till 10th April. They have started a tripartite attack over us at the Goalondo- Isshordi- Jheenaidoh area. On 11th April, 1971 the Pakistam Army has moved out from the Jessore Cantonment and attacked ous. And we have fought back. By observing our hard position, they have bypassed us and stayed at the Baligonj area behind us. So that we were attacked from both the front and back side. It was not possible for us to stay there. We have withdrawn our position and moved back to Jheenaidoh.

After some time, the Pakistan Army has reached Jhenaidoh on 14th April. By declaring a general withdraw order at Jheenaidoh, I have started towards Chuadanga. We have drawn 4 crore, 40 lakhs taka and 20 KG gold from the then National Bank. Afterwards, on 20th May, 1971 we have deposited the amount to the vault of Bangladesh Government. The money receipt is now preserved at the National Museum. By starting on 14th April, 1971 we have reached to the Betai Camp of India via the road of Chuadanga and Meherpur. On 17th April, 1971 me and my friend Toufik with some soldiers have crossed the border and reached Boiddonathtola, Meherpur.

On that very morning we have got the news that- the first Government of Bangladesh is going to take oath at that place. The Government has been formed on 10th April, 1971 at Agortola. At 11.00/11.30 A.M. many of our elected leaders have come with some renowned journalists and reporters of BBC, VOA, Reuters, CBC etc. They have gathered with cameras. The oath taking ceremony has been took place on 12.00/12.30 P.M. The newly formed government has been given a guard of honor by my leadership.

I have given the short description of the south- western zone of the war field here. But for the whole nine months, I and our other companions have fought against the Pakistan Army at the Benapol, Kagojpukur area. On 28th May we have fought for 14 hours against the 9 number Panjab regiment and destroyed their troops at the Satkhira, Bhomra area. They were destroyed too badly that at last the Pakistan Government has withdrawn its troops. A number of their Major and Generals have been killed there and I have recovered a number of corpses from the place.

Each day I have fought as the number-7 sector commander of Satkhira area. On 19th September, 1971 we have lost so many soldiers at Baliadanga, in our attempt to attack the Kakdanga BOP. And I have been injured and was admitted for four weeks at the Barakpur Military Hospital. On 16 October, 1971 I have returned at the sub sector again. We have continued our attack against the Pakistan Army at the Satkhira- Kolaroa area. On 8th December Satkhira became freed from the Pakistan Army. I along with our troops have stayed at the Jessore Monirampur School. On 16th December, 1971 we have got the news that- Bangladesh has got the victory.

Prosecutor: When you were in the leadership, what have you observed?

Witness: During the liberation war many of Rajakar- Al-Badar- Al-Shams have been caught by our team members. We have gathered the information from them and the newspapers and the radio that Awami League has got the majority vote in 1970 election, the political parties which were against were Jamaat-e-Islami, Muslim League, PDP etc. The defeated teams have met General Tikka Khan at the onset of April, 1971 and supported the Operation search light movement of Pakistan and planned to form Peace Committee for the assistance of Pakistan Army.

Prosecutor: Who has met Tikka Khan?

Witness: Mr. Gholam Azam, KHaja KHoyer Uddin and Nurul Amin were there among the people who have met. After the liberation I have watched the photograph of their meetings at the newspaper. Islamic Chatro Sango was the student wings of the Jamat-e-Islami. I have heard that- Mr. Gholam Azam has met Yahya Khan to make the Al-Badar and Rejakar as armed forces. To give a legal framework to these groups, the Ansar Bahini has been restructured as the Rajakar Bahini. And among the people of Rajakar- Al-Badar- Al-Shams- Peace Committee, who were interested they have been designed as armed group and given salary.

Prosecutor: What was the duty of these Rajakar- Al-Badar- Al-Shams?

Witness: These troops moved with the Pakistan Armies in our sector- 8 and directed Pakistan Armies to the pathways to the places where the freedom fighters used to stay. They were involved with abduction, killing and to send the beautiful girls of the area to the Pakistan Army Camp. In the Chuknogor Area they have conducted a mass genocide. These sorts of genocide have been committed in the overall areas of Bangladesh, I have heard that. These occurrences have been committed by the Rajakar- Al- Badar- Al- Shams who were known as the associates of Pakistan Armies. At last on 14th December, 1971 they have killed a lot of intellectuals of this land. These sorts of occurrences have been led by Jamaat-e-Islami and the Islamic Chatro Sangha. Mr. Gholam Azam and his associates who were in the commanding position of the groups have committed these sorts of crimes against humanity. Mr. Gholam Azam was the main leader of these teams.

Zeyad Al Malum: Whether he is present in this court?

Witness: Yes, he is present. After the liberation war I have joined the Home Ministry as the Deputy Secretary.

Zeyad Al Malum: Did the Investigation Officer interview you?

Witness: Yes.

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