Friday, December 9, 2011

8 Dec 2011: Sayedee trial witness two

This is the second witness in the trial of Delwar Hossain Sayedee. The statement made by the first witness is here.

The second witness started his statement at the end of the previous day, and continued on the 8th. As always this is an unofficial translation. (Thanks to Onchita Shadman for transcription and translation)
My name is Ruhul Amin Nabin. 61 years old. Religion, Islam. Occupation: Business. During the war I was 21. I am a freedom fighter. In 1970’s national election Awami League had won. The liberation war had started in the event of Pakistani rulers had refused to hand over power to the elected rulers. On March 25, 1971 Pakistani forces had killed innocent students and other civilians in this massacre called Operation Searchlight. They buried them in common public graves. Prior to this, on March 7 at the command of Bangabondhu, freedom-seeking masses, such as students, labourers and farmers along with others formed the freedom fighters’ (Multijodhdha) force to stand against barbaric killing of Pakistani Military Forces. Pakistani Occupying forces, without having any other choice became desperate and collaborated with some traitors and Jamaat-e-Islami activists to form Peace Committee, Razakar force, Al-badar and Al-shams.
Witness continues on 8th.
They’d launched torture and massacre against innocent civilians. On 7th April, 1971, Professor Golam Ajam, Ameer (president) of Jamaat-e-Islami in East Pakistan, spoke at an assembly of Kushtia and Khulna’s Jamaat activists. There he’d proposed formation of a Peace Committee to wipe out the so-called miscreant freedom fighters. On Saturday, in an assembly of Jamaat activists, leader of central Jamaat-e-Islami, ex-minister and secretary of Khulna Peace Committee, AKM Yusuf ordered to form Razakar and Peace Committee forces all across the country. Yusuf Saheb had himself formed the Khulna wing of Razakars. Payerhat’s local Jamaat leaders Sekander Ali Shikder, now dead Danesh Ali Molla, Maulana Mosleuddin, Delwar Hossin Shikder, who at present is known as Delwar Hossain Sayedee with many others had formed Peace Committee at Jamaat-e-Islami’s Ameer Professor Golam Ajam’s, Jamaat’s central leader and secretary of Khulna Shanti Committee and Peace Committee, AKM Yusuf’s, and Pirojpur Peace Committee’s secretary Khan Bahadur Syed Afzal’s order. Even though Sekander Ali Shikder and Danesh Ali Molla were looking after overall affairs of Peace Committee, Delwar Hossain Sayedee, being conversant in Urdu developed a good relationship with Pakistani Military. Since Pakistanis couldn’t understand Bangla and they had command over Urdu language, (Sayedee) could communicate information with Pakistani Occupying forces. Sekander Ali Shikder, Danesh Ali Molla, Maulana Mosleuddin and Delwar Hossain Sayedee Saheb together led Parerhat District’s Jamaat-e-Islami activists, Madrasa students, members of (Islami) Chatra Sangha and few people who opposed independence to form an auxiliary force or Razakar force. Their intention was to assist Pakistani Army in destroying the freedom-seekers and kill the freedom fighters. On 3rd May, 1971 Pakistani barbaric army attacked Pirojpur to exterminate its freedom-seeking residents, like they had in other areas of Bangladesh. The first thing they did after attacking Pirojpur was to have meeting with members of (local) Peace Committee. Peace Committee passed on to the Pakistanis information about freedom seeking people, Sangram Parishad members, Hindu majority areas, Awami League activists and freedom fighters of neighbouring localities.

On 7 May, 1971 Sekander Ali Shikder, Danesh Ali Molla, Maulana Mosleuddin, Delwar Hossain Sayedee Saheb with other Peace Committee members of Parerhat were waiting on the north end of Parerhat Bazaar rickshaw stand to welcome the Pakistani military. 52 Pakistani soldiers arrived there from Pirojpur on 26 rickshaws. Captain Ejaz was in charge of this army. Peace Committee members entered Parerhat Bazaar with Pakistani military. Aforementioned Sekander Ali Shikder, Danesh Ali Molla, Maulana Mosleuddin, Delwar Hossain Sayedee Saheb and other Razakars pointed out houses of Awami League activists and shops and houses of Hindus. (They) had a discussion around pillaging those properties with Captain Ejaz, who in Urdu ordered, “Le Lou”, i.e. take them. Immediately, Peace Committee members and Razakars started plundering those properties they’d identified. At one point they looted 22 seers of gold and silver from an iron strongbox buried underneath the shop of Makhan Shaha, a wealthy businessman of Parerhat. Pakistani military took possession of those golds and silvers. On the same day 30-35 houses were pillaged around Parerhat port area. With hope to find more gold, they dug big holes in the floor of those houses. After that the Pakistani military set camp at Rajlakshmi High School of Parerhat. Previously another camp was set up by Razakar forces and Peace Committee members inside Fakir Dash’s building, located in the middle of Parerhat Bazaar. On 8 May, 1971
Nizamul Haque (while dictating last sentence for the typist) another Razakar camp?

Defense : Whatever he said, has come on our monitor

Nizamul Haque: Ok, take your seat
Next day on 8 May 1971, Pakistani military, Razakar forces and Peace Committee members looted houses of then wealthy person Raisuddin Poshari, Helaluddin Poshari and Manik Poshari of Badura and Chithalia village on the east end of Parerhat port. 7-8 other houses were also pillaged and all of these were burnt down to ashes.

On June, 1971 I travelled from my village to Parerhat by boat. I came to the Bazaar to collect supply for the Freedom fighters; to buy rice, pulses Sir (addressing Nizamul Haque who was clarifying the sentence for typist). It was Thursday, market day. I stayed around a shop called Masum Store at the Bazaar and observed the circumstance from there. At around 10:30-11 am, I saw that walking from north, wearing panjabi and lungi; the lungi a bit raised on one side which we say ‘kocha mara’, I thought maybe for his comfort
Defense (to Nizamul Haque who was clarifying the last sentence for typist): Let him (witness) speak his own words.
with a corrugated tin on his left hand, and a basket filled with brass plates, glasses, bowls, jugs and a pitcher, (a man) then known as Delwar Hossain Shikder was walking from north to south towards a shop called ‘Panch Tahbil’. When he passed by, I said to Moulavi Nurul Haque Saheb who was next to me, “Look, Delwar Saheb is carrying his pile of loot”. Because I was in charge of Mukjodhdhas (freedom fighters) of my area, I used to carry firearm, a revolver, for my safety. I got excited and said to Nurul Haque Moulavi, “I’ll shoot these looters right now”. Nurul Haque Moulavi Saheb restrained me by saying, “If you do so now, Pakistani army will set fire on the remaining houses of Parerhat, and go for mass execution.” Afterwards, I went north of Parerhat Bazaar and reached Shafizuddin Moulavi’s store. I came to know from the crowd present over there that Madan Shaha’s store had been plundered, and Delwar Hossain Shikder alias Delwar Hossain Sayedee had broken the structure along with carpenter Tayab Ali and 4-5 labourers. Sayedee travelled by boat along the canal, east of Madan Shaha’s house and took the dismantled room to his in-law Yunus Ali Munshi’s place.
Addressing Nizamul Haque, the witness asks whether he can add a line before this (incident) to his statement. Chairman says, 'yes'
The shop called Panch Tahbil at Parerhat Bazaar was managed by Maulana Mosleuddin, Delwar Hossain Sayedee and four/five others who had looted all the shops of Parerhat Bazaar and forcefully seized Nagarbashi Shaha’s shop, located at the launch port (river port) of Parerhat Bazaar. Then known as Delwar Hossain Shikder Saheb, (Sayedee) was responsible for overall affairs of that store (Panch Tahbil). However, because all the looted items didn’t fit into this place, they’d made a stockroom out of Maulana Nasim’s father, Sultan Ahmed’s place. This stockroom was right next to the shop. With assistance from Peace Committee members and Razakars, Pakistani military raped several women of Parerhat Bazaar, namely Chabi Roy and Bipod Shaha’s daughter, Bhanu Shaha. Peace Committee members didn’t stop at just pillage, arson and rape, rather they’d forced members of local Hindu community including Nani Shaha, Makhan Shaha, Dr. Ganesh Chandra Roy, Dr. Sudhir Chandra Roy, Gouranga Chandra Roy, Ajit Chandra Roy.
Defense placed an objection saying the prosecution had threw the last name at witness.

Justice Zaheer (to typist): Leave out Ajit Chandra Roy.
Ruhul Amin Nabin (witness): …Hindus to convert to Islam. These Hindus were compelled to pray at the mosque five times a day. (Sayedee?) Taught them few Surah and gave them tasbihs (rosary) and other items for Namaaz. Some of them (hindus) had the opportunity to flee to India. Those who’d remained in Parerhat port came back to their own faith after liberation. Chabi Roy and Bhanu Shaha, raped by the Pakistani soldiers escaped to India (after liberation). In this way, anti-liberation forces of this country, Razakars, Al-Badar and Al-Shams committed one crime after another. On 21 June, 1971, I went to India with fellow freedom fighter brothers to receive training on advanced combat skills and guerrilla methods. After being trained in India, I and fellow freedom fighter brothers participated in wars in different areas. After liberation, on December 18, I came to Parerhat Bazaar with fellow freedom fighter as (their) commander. Hundreds of freedom-loving people welcomed us and described to us incidences of brutal torture, loot, arson attacks committed in (past) nine months by Pakistani military, Peace Committee and Razakars against innocent people. We stayed at the Razakar camp based in the building known as Fakir Shah’ building, and visited different houses looking for local Peace Committee members accused of crime. Even though we got hold of some of them, we couldn’t arrest Danesh Ali Molla, Maulana Mosleuddin and Delwar Hossain Sayedee Saheb. Later it was heard that they’d fled from the area. We, freedom fighters retrieved war booties by searching houses of the looters. We asked people, whose houses had been plundered, to identify the looted items and returned those items back to their owners.
Prosecution (Saidur Rahman): Madan Saha..

Ruhul Amin Nabin (witness): I am coming to that.

Defense places an objection.

Justice Zaheer: They can give link to their witness, but can’t lead them.

Defense: While questioning the witness, they can give lead, not now. He (Saidur Rahman) threw at him a name, Madan Saha.

Nizamul Haque: You’ve heard that, they can give link to their witness, but can’t lead them. We have crossed out one name, Ajit Chandra Roy at your objection.
We, freedom fighters retrieved and returned back Madan Shaha’s (dismantled) room from Sayedee’s in-law’s place. In 1986, Sayedee Saheb, with assistance from Jamaat activists, was preparing to organize a mahfil or public assembly in Parerhat High School ground. Anticipating that I may oppose this (assembly), local Jamaat leader Mokarram Hossain along with three other Jamaat activists came to my house. They said to me that Sayedee Saheb will address a mahfil in Parerhat tomorrow. I told them if any political speech is made over there, this mahfil won’t be allowed. They’d assured me that no political statement will be made in the mahfil. Sayedee had carried out his political activities in such manner.
On behalf of freedom fighters, I seek just trial of those Peace Committee members, Razakars who had looted, raped women, committed arson attacks and killed innocent people and freedom fighters during the liberation war in 1971. That’s all your honour.
Hyder Ali (prosecution): Do you know Delwar Hossain Sayedee?

Ruhul Amin Nabin (witness): (Pointed out to Sayedee at the dock) He is seated there.
My lord, I would like to draw attention of honourable court. With your permission, I want to add a line to the part where I mentioned rape of Chabi Roy and Bhanu Shaha. “abducted Bhanu Shaha for a long time and raped her repeatedly.”

Nizamul Haque: (direct typist) This will be added here. At this point witness says, “Pakistani military abducted Bhanu Shaha for a long time and repeatedly raped her.”

Mizanur Rahman (Defense) wants to know from Ruhul Amin Nabin (witness) who were the commanders of Muktijodhdha force (freedom fighters) in 1971. He mentions role of three people, Kamaluddin, Shahjahan and Shamsul.

Ruhul Amin Nabin (witness): Subsector commander was Major Ziauddin Ahmed, second-in-command was Advocate Shamsul Haque, and my brother Kamaluddin, whom he has mentioned was not a commander but my fellow freedom fighter.

Mizanur Rahman (Defense): I mentioned Advocate Shamsul Haque Talukder and Captain Shahjahan.

Ruhul Amin Nabin (witness): Shahjahan Omar Saheb was in charge of Rajapur subdistrict of Jhalakathi district.

Mizanur Rahman (Defense): Shamsul Haque Talukder was Major Zia’s second-in-command.

Ruhul Amin Nabin (witness): yes

Justice Zaheer: Was he an advocate?

Ruhul Amin Nabin (witness): He used to identify himself as an advocate. We didn’t check whether he is really advocate or not. We knew of him as an advocate.

Nizamul Haque: Mr Hyder Ali, what do you suggest? Shall we start with the third witness or finish cross-examination first?

Hyder Ali (Prosecution): My opinion is doing the cross-examination first. Otherwise, coming back to it with a gap in between causes some difficulty.

Nizamul Haque asks for Defense’s opinion.

Mizanur Rahman (Defense): In general cases, first we take witness statement, and then cross (examination) will finish; but court can make an exception to that.

Nizamul Haque dismisses court until Sunday.

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