Defense Counsel, Farid Uddin Khan started proceedings by raising the issues of the presence of the chief prosecution.
Defence: we prayed earlier that the Chief (Prosecutor) should be present at alternative days. It would be easier for us if the cross examination were held in his presence.Cross examination of the witness Sayed Shahidul Haque Mama by the defence counsel Ekramul Haque in the Quader Molla case then started. He had provided his testimony on the previous day
Judge (Md. Shahinur Islam): Submit your prayer in writing on which day you want his presence.
Defense Counsel: Another matter is that, taking witness in the presence of investigation officers seems to problem to us. It appeared to us that they tend to influence witnesses directly or indirectly.
Justice Obaidul Hassan: If it is true, then you should tell us immediately. Listen, you also should be more co-operative.
Prosecutor, Mohammad Ali: My Lord, it is clearly stated in section 8 (1) of the Act that the investigation officers can help prosecutors.
The prosecutor, Mohammed Ali told the witness that the learned Defense Counsel would cross examine him. ‘You will listen and understand first. If you know the answers then answer his question.’
Defence: You’ve said in your statement that you were a student attached to Mohosin Hall of Dhaka University. Was Mohosin Hall located the western side to the Arts Building and house of V.C.?At that moment, the defense counsel prayed to adjourn the examination of witness till the session of afternoon. The prosecutor said he should carry on as the witness is ready to continue even though he is not well. The honorable Justices also told the defence to continue more 15 minutes. But, because of the reluctance of defense counsel, the Tribunal was adjourned till 2.00 pm.
Witness: Where the previous Mohosin Hall was, the present Mohosin Hall is at the same place!
Defence: Were the classes of Arts faculty for example, History, Bangla, English, Political Science etc held in Arts Building?
Defence: Were the classes of Science Faculty held in Karjon Hall?
Defence: What was the distance between Mohosin Hall and Karjon Hall?
Witness: I had no scale to measure distance!
Justice (Obaidul Hassan): Say the approximate distance.
Witness: If I walk, then it will take half an hour to reach.
Defence: Shahidullah Hall and Fazlul Haque Hall are situated on the southern side of Karjon Hall, aren’t they?
Witness: I can’t remember at this moment.
Defence: You said in your statement, “I participated in the movement to cancel the notorious Hamidur Rahman Education Commission on 1962.” Hamidur Rahman Education Commission was against the culture and tradition of Bangalis. Am I correct?
Witness: Certainly Hamidur Rahman Education Commission was against the culture and tradition of Bangalis.
Defence: The main organizer of that movement was Hosen Shahid Shohrawardy. Bangabandhu came to the movement taking the assistance of Shahid Shohrawardy. Shohrawardy, Bangabandhu and Mawlana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani- all these three great leaders participated in the movement to cancel the notorious Hamidur Rahman Education Commission on 1962. Was it true?
Witness: Yes, it was true.
Defence: After increasing day by day, one day this movement took an extreme form. And, in continuance with this, Sergeant Jahirul Haque was fired on and died subsequently. Is it true?
Witness: No, Sergeant Jahirul Haque was not killed in consequence of the movement of 1962. He was an important accused of Agartola Conspiracy Case. And in consequence of that case, he was killed when he was confined at cantonment area.
Defence: Was he killed in 1968?
Witness: No, he was killed on 1969.
Defence: In consequence of these incidents, the Bangalis were shocked and raised their voice. After that, in the election of 1970, the Awami League won by getting 167 seats. Am I correct?
Witness: Yes, Bangalis were awakened because of the movement of 1969. In the election of National Assembly, Awami League won getting absolute majority of 167 seats out of 169 seats.
Defence: Then, getting no way, Ayub Khan resigned from power and gave power to Yahya Khan. Is that not so?
Witness: I’ll not say, ‘getting no way’. Actually Ayub Khan transferred power to Yahya Khan to suppress the power of the awakening of Bangalies.
Defence: Yahya Khan came and didn’t agree with Bangabandhu. Bangabandhu demanded to call parliament according to the Constitution. He didn’t compromise regarding any issues of his 6 demands. Am I correct?
Witness: Bangabandhu never compromised with Yahya Khan regarding any of the 6 demands.
Defence: In front of millions of Bangalis on 7 March, 1971, he expressed his desire towards freedom. Didn’t he?
Witness: Not freedom, but independence! The word ‘freedom’ contrasts with confinement. Independence is not like that.
Defence: Then started torture the torture upon Bangalies?
Witness: After the speech of Bangabandhu, in the horrible night of 25th March, Operation Search Light started. That attack was not only torture, but genocide.
Defence: Were you at your home that night?
Witness: I clearly stated earlier that at that night, I along with my friend took shelter at the club house of Bangalis beside the Mazar of Shah Ali, Mirpur.
Defence: You said in your statement, “we went in front of Beauty Cinema Hall of Mirpur with procession. Then the leader of Muslim League S.A Khaleque and the sun of Monem Khan Md. Khoshru attacked and fired the procession with their team.” Did any person die or injure at that attack of firing?
Witness: I don’t know. We fled away.
Defence: Can you mention the date and time?
Witness: It was the incident of 1969. I can’t remember the time and date.
Defence: You sais in your statement, “the present Mirpur Stadium was an open field at that time. The meeting of Kaiyum Khan washeld there. He was the chief guest of that meeting. That meeting was filled with the supporters of Jamaar Islami and Biharies. Now, Can you say the date of that meeting?
Witness: That meeting was held in1969. But, I can’t remember the date and time.
Defence: You said, you were arrested, case was filed against you and, at last, you were released. Can you mention the number of that case?
Witness: I don’t know the number of that case.
Defence: Is the candidate of Anjumane Mehjarin alive?
Witness: I don’t know. Only God knows!
Defence: You said, through the way of the ‘Osohojog (non-co-operation) movement’, the birth of historical 7th March occurred. And Bangabandhu declared in his speech of 7th March, to free the people of this land from enemies.
Now say, who were those enemies? Peoples who wanted to destroy the culture and tradition of Bangalies, were they the enemies?
Witness: I’ve clearly stated, those enemies were the Pakistani Khansenas, their agents residing in this land, in whose hand 30 lacs innocent people lost their lives, lachs of mother and sisters lost their chastity.
Defence: You told, “We arranged meetings at the ‘Avijatrik Drug House’ of Dr. Sheikh Haidar Ali, who was the Senior Vice Chairmen of Awami Jubo League.” When was your last meeting there in 1971?
Witness: Not in 1971, but in 1969, we arranged meeting there.
Defence: When was the last meeting?
Witness: I don’t remember the date.
Defence: After 25th March, where, when and how did you go and stay, this information nobody knew, besides you and God.
Witness: All I’ve stated clearly in my statement.
Defence: On 26th March 1971, the Pakistani Army burnt and destroyed everything. Am I correct?
Witness: At 8 am of 26th March I got out from the club house and saw that there was fire and fire belonging to the houses of Bangalis all around Mirpur. The Pakistani Armi, Jamaat-e-Islami, Biharis and also the accused of this case Quader Mollah actively took part in that destruction.
Defence: After getting out from the club house, did you reach your home?
[Then Prosecutor started to tell something, but the learned Justice (Chairman) and defense counsel forbid him to interfere.]
Witness: I couldn’t go to my home. I flew away where my two eyes directed.
Defence: Mr. Mohammad Ali, closeyour mouth.
Prosecutor: I am trying to draw attention of learned Justices.
Defence: What is the distance between Club House and Nawab Bagh?
Witness: Half an hour walking distance.
Justice (Chairman): He is asking to know, after how much time were you chased.
Witness: After hardly 15 minutes.
Defence: How much time did it take to reach the bank of Turag from Nawab Bagh?
Witness: Hardly 10 minutes.
Defence: How did you pass the river?
Witness: By swimming.
Defence: After passing river, you reached to Banga. Was the adjacent village to Banga Chakuria?
Defence: What was the distance between the bank of the river and Banga?
Witness: It took about one hour to reach.
Defence: Then you went to Sadullahpur. How much time did it take to reach there?
Witness: About 20/25 minutes.
Defence: When was the time?
Witness: Most probably, in the afternoon.
Defence: You stated in your statement, “after reaching Sadullah pur, I came to know that, my father, grandmother and cousin brother were sitting under a tree.” Who gave you that information?
Witness: I’ve stated earlier, there was a rush of numerous people. Anyone of them could have given me the information. How can I remember the name of that specific person today?
Defence: Where you heard that, how much time did it take you to reach them from there?
Witness: About 15/20 minutes.
Defence: Was that on western side?
Witness: I can’t remember on which side!
Defence: You said, “I was a student leader at that time. Through my identity, the local people gave them shelter at the ‘Ghutnighar’.” Was it at Banga or Sadullahpur?
Defence: You didn’t stay there. After meeting them, you started to move to another side. Isnt that the case?
Witness: Yes, after meeting them, I went away.
Defence: With you, there were Dr. Zakaria, Ratan and famous TV and film actress Shahara Banu. Where did you go?
Witness: At a house of Banga.
Defence: We’ve taken it that these incidents were of 26th March. Now, how long did you stay at that house?
Witness: About one week.
Defence: Certainly there were family members at that house. Who was the owner of that house?
Witness: They gave us shelter, this was much for us. If I knew then that one day I would have to come this tribunal to give witness, then certainly I would keep in my memory the name and father’s name of the owner!
Defence: Where did you go from there? Who was with you?
Witness: I told you, my elder brother came to ‘Banga’ tracing me. He took me in a boat of wooden materials and started for Dhaka.
Defence: Who were with you?
Witness: Father, grandmother and cousin brother.
Defence: When did you start? When did you reach Rayerbazar?
Witness: We started at noon and reached Rayerbazar at evening.
Defence: From there you returned at Nazira Bazar at your auntie’s home which was situated beside the home of former parliament member, Mr. Hanif.
Witness: No, I stayed some days at the home of my elder brother’s father in law in Rayerbazar.
Defence: This information is absent in your statement.
Defence: How long did you stay at your aunt’s home?
Witness: About 2 weeks
Defence: Then your grandmother took you to the home of Mr. Fazlur Rahman at Gopibagh. How long did you stay there?
Witness: Some days. I can’t even remember the approximate date!
Defence: When staying there, you decided, where you would go. And, started to India with Mulluk Chand, Bodi and others. Am I correct?
Defence: How many people were there?
Witness: With Mulluk Chand and Bodi, we were about 10/12 people.
Defence: Can you remember the date of entering India?
Witness: I can’t remember at this moment.
Defence: How did you go India from Gopibagh?
Witness: Passing the way of Narshingdi, Comilla and from Demra, Dhaka.
Defence: On foot, or by vehicle?
Witness: By 11 number vehicle! [that means on foot]
Defence: How many days did it take to reach Agatala from Dhaka?
Witness: We had to go taking rest and stopping on the way. It took about 2 ½ to 3 days.
Defence: I think, after entering India, you got assurance that now there is no chance of attack of Pakistani Army or Rajakars. Now, after entering India, where did you report first?
Witness: At Agartola Transit Camp.
Defence: How long did you stay at Agartola Transit Camp?
Witness: 8/10 days.
Defence: Then, where were you sent?
Witness: When we were at Agartola Transit Camp, we came to know that, our friends are taking training in Melaghar. Then we started to Melaghar on our own initiative.
Defence: At Melaghar, you met Major Khaled Mosharraf and Major Hayder. They arranged your training and residence. Wasn’t it?
Witness: Yes, it was.
Defence: In which district is Melaghar?
Witness: In the Province of Tripura.
Defence: How long did you stay there?
Witness: We took training there. I can’t remember the time period. We took training for one month.
Defence: Then, in which side were you directed?
Witness: I was appointed as the commander of 12, 13 and 14 number platoon.
Defence: Were you the commander of all these platoons?
Witness: Yes, I was.
Defence: What direction did Major Hayder give you?
Witness: There were some directions which I can’t disclose here. Our main technique was ‘to hit and run’.
Prosecutor (Mr .Simon): My Lord, why questions regarding war tactics are been asked here?
Defence: That means, considering the situations, you were directed to make decisions.
Defence: From there, when did you enter in Bangladesh?
Witness: After completion of training, at the end of October.
Defence: How many members were there with you in platoons?
Witness: Approximately 39/40 trained members in India along with numerous local members.
Defence: You said, along with the ‘Mama Bahini’ you entered Bangladesh at the end of October. You continued a good relation with all, so all called you ‘Mama’. Am I correct?
Witness: Yes. One nephew called me ‘Mama’. Hearing it, all started to call me ‘Mama’. And, my group also became known as ‘Mama Bahini’ following that name.
Defence: To start operation, where did you take position first at Mohammadpur or Mirpur?
Witness: To attack Mohammadpur area, we took position beside Mohammadpur area.
Defence: From that place, you continued your operations. Am I correct?
Defence: Till 16 December, 1971, did you stay at the places like Basila, Ati, or more any other places?
Witness: We stayed at Basila, Ati, and also at the places near to those places. We never stayed in a specific place. We changed our places frequently.
Defence: In 1971, at the time of the surrender of the Pakistani Army, where were you?
Witness: I was near or beside Basila.
Defence: At that day, how many members were there with your force?
Witness: Along with the local fighters and trained 40 fighters, 150/200 members of different places were there.
Defence: What did you do on 16 December, 1971 with your company [he used the word ‘sango pango’]
Justice (Obaidul Hassan): Don’t say ‘sango pango’, say co-fighters.
Defence: Sorry, My Lord. Then, did you meet Major Khaled Mosharraf and Major Hayder?
Witness: At the evening of 16 Deccember, 1971, I met Major Hayder. I couldn’t meet Major Khaled Mosharraf as he was injured.
Defence: Did Major Hayder give any direction to you?
Witness: We didn’t have mobile phones like today. So I couldn’t communicate whenever I wished.
The cross examination continued after lunch. Before that the prosecutor Mohammad Ali mentioned that deposition of PW2 (Syed Shahidul Haque Mama) instead of the words ‘bruised all over’ the words ‘hundreds of’ had been used.
The witness then said, 'My Lord, before the court is adjourned and my mind is diverted, I want to clarify my yesterday’s statement about the occurrence of 16 December, 1971 in Graphic Arts Institute in Mohammadpur.' Justice Obaidul Hassan responded by saying 'You don’t need to worry about that, your statement is already recorded.'
Justice A.T.M. Fazle Kabir : Mr. Ekramul, please come to the major part of the cross examination. You have enough moved around it. Now please make it specific.
Defence: My Lord, today I will make it very short. I have some personal problems and I also need to collect more documents. I will finish the cross-examination by tomorrow morning if you allow me.
Justice A.T.M. Fazle Kabir : You have enough time today, you can finish it.
Defence: My Lord : I really need more time. Please try to understand my situation.
Justice A.T.M. Fazle Kabir : Ok. Your time petition is granted. Now proceed on.
Defence: According to your statement when you raided in Graphic Arts Institute and Physical Training Centre on 16 December, 1971, what were the position of Graphic Arts Institute and Physical Training Centre that time?Defence: My Lord, I am not feeling well today. I want to finish here for the time being. I will finish the cross-examination tomorrow morning.
Witness: Graphic Arts Institute was in front of Physical Training Centre and it is still in same position.
Defence: When did you make that raid?
Witness: Around 5pm. Graphic Arts Institute was like a fort of the Pakistani Army.
Defence: In your statement you have said that you were fighting with the Pakistani Army. What was the duration of this fight?
Witness: Near about 1 hour. Then the Pakistani Army started to retreat. They divided into two groups. One group went through the Mohammadpur colony and got mixed with the Bihari and the other group fled to Mirpur.
Defence: What was the distance between Graphic Arts Institute and Mirpur?
Witness: It would take half an hour by private car at that time.
Defence: Did they leave their arms and uniforms and go in disguise?
Witness: We found so many arms and cloths scattered here and there but I don’t know whether they went in disguise or not.
Defence: When you were fighting with the Pakistani Army and in one point the Pakistani Army surrendered, there were other freedom fighters in Dhaka in several places including Mirpur.
Witness: Yes. There were many freedom fighters ready to fight.
Defence: When you entered into Graphic Arts Institute, how many co-fighters (freedom fighters) you had with you?
Witness: Around 70 to 80 freedom fighters were with me.
Defence: When you entered inside Graphic Arts Institute, how many Pakistani Army soldiers id you found alive or dead?
Witness: We did not find any dead body of Pakistani Army. We found the dead bodies in many rooms of the greatest intellectuals of our country who were killed on 14 December, 1971 in ‘Rayerbazar Baddhovumi’ (Place of execution).
Defence: How long do you stay there (Graphic Arts Institute)?
Witness: We settled down there after that.
Defence: How many of you spent the night there?
Witness: We got settled there and made all the preparation for camping including security.
Defence: Did you inform Major Haider about your raid and what happened afterwards?
Witness: Yes, we informed him. We saw arms and dead bodies, people screaming for their family members who were killed by the Pakistani Army and Rajakar, Albadar and Al-shams. Someone was crying for a lost father and someone was crying for a lost son.
Defence: Did you stay in the camp (Graphic Arts Institute) from 16 December 1971 to 31 January, 1972?
Witness: We had our camps in other areas in Mohammadpur and Mirpur as well including Graphic Arts Institute.
Defence: You said in your statement that later on (after the raid in Graphic Arts Institute) you went to Mirpur Bangla College and saw that hundreds of dead bodies were lying here and there. What was the date?
Witness: Most probably it was 17 December, 1971 when we went to Mirpur Bangla College and found dead bodies in the yard.
Defence: In your statement you mentioned two significant incidents. One was the murder of Poet Meherunnesa’s mother and brother in Thataribazar and the other was murder of Pallab in Muslim Bazar. You said that the date was probably 5 April, 1971. Can you tell me where this Thataribazar is? Is it in old Dhaka or in Mirpur?
Witness: It is behind the residence of our honourable President.
Defence: What was the distance between Muslim Bazar, Mirpur and Thataribazar, Old Dhaka?
Witness: It would take one hour to go by Taxi at that time.
Prosecutor Mohammad Ali : My Lord, the witness gave clear statement that they (Poet Meherunnesa’s mother and brother and Pallab) were taken by the Pakistani Army on 29 March, 1971 and were killed on 5 April, 1971. The defence should clarify the question.
Defence: (Prosecutor Mohammad Ali ) You should stop interrupting and influencing the witness and let him answer freely. I just quoted his statement.
Justice Obaidul Hassan : Mr. Mohammad Ali, please have patience.
Defence: Is there a mosque called Nur-i-mosque in Muslim Bazar?
Witness: Yes. It is known as the ‘Eidgah’ (a place where the muslim say their prayer together in Mohammedan festival).
Defence: The residents of that area (Muslim bazar) is mostly Bihari.
Defence: The two significant incidents you mentioned in your statement (about torturing and killing Poet Meherunnesa’s mother and brother and Pallab), have you seen them with your eyes?
Witness: I have heard them from the people of ‘Kafela’ (group of people gathered to make a journey). If I had seen those incidents I would not be alive to give witness here today.
Defence: From whom you have heard about the incidents?
Witness: I have heard the incidents from the people of ‘Kafela’ and from people I knew. I did not have a notebook with me so that I could write down the name of those people (shouting).
Presecutor Mohammad Ali : My Lord, the situation of 27 March, 1971 should be mentioned in the record of cross examination.
Justice A.T.M. Fazle Kabir : Please calm down. We all know that what was the situation on 27 March, 1971.
Defence: (To PW2) You did not hear about the incidents from your known people.
Witness: I have heard them from both people I knew and people from the ‘Kafela’.
Defence: How many times you have been to Mirpur in between 16 December,1971 to 31 January, 1972?
Witness: I have been there several times. Whenever I wished I went there. Whenever I was reminded about the torture and oppression of the Pakistani Army and their co-operators, I went to Mirpur. Please don’t make me excited by reminding about those bloody-days. When I remember what the Bihari used to say that we made Bangladesh in nine months and they would make it Pakistan again.
Prosecutor Mohammad Ali: My Lord, I strongly object about this non-relevant delay because the witness is badly injured.
Witness: I want to show the defence lawyers my leg which is bleeding now. I am so sick that it is difficult for me to keep standing for long time. If the tribunal guarantee the safety of my leg, I can keep standing for indefinite time.
Justice A.T.M. Fazle Kabir : Ok, we will consider both side’s problem. Mr. Ekramul, you have to finish by 12pm tomorrow.
Witness: There are many untold things which is not inscribed in the history. During the liberation war when the Bihari used to sing loudly, to give them proper lesson we used to write Bangla song and sing them to awake the Bangalis in the month of Holy Ramadan.
Then the Prosecution Witness 2 (Syed Shahidul Haque Mama) started singing.
Defence: My Lord, we have a video clipping which we want to show tomorrow. So we need the required arrangements in this room.
Justice Shahinur Haque : Have you submitted it before?
Defence: The date of submission is tomorrow and again tomorrow is the next hearing. Justice A.T.M. Fazle Kabir : You have to submit it first and then the arrangement will be done. So, the next hearing is tomorrow at 10:30am.