Wednesday, January 4, 2012

27 Dec 2011: Sixth witness statement

Following the cross examination of the fifth witness, the sixth witness Manik Poshari then gave his evidence in chief. Haider Ali acted for the prosecution.

Below is an unofficial translation of the evidence-in-chief. (Notes and translation undertaken by Onchita Shadman. Every attempt has been made to ensure accuracy, but there may be some small omissions.)
Prosecution: Where were you in 1971?

Witness: I was 27 years old and lived in my home at Chithalia village.

Prosecution: What did you do at that time?

Witness: I looked after my father’s property and had fish trade.

Prosecution: During the liberation war there were freedom fighters. What other forces were in operation back then?

Witness: Peace Committee and Razakar forces were there. Sekander Shikder, Delwar Shikder (Sayedee), Danesh Ali Molla, Moslem Maulana, Muket Shikder, Mazhar Talukder along with others had created the Peace Committee at that time. After that they had formed the Razakar force in association with Jamaat activists and people against independence.

Prosecution: Who did they harm?

Witness: Against the Hindu community and Awami League members, Razakars and Peace Committee members had committed looting, mass murder, and rape of women in army camps. They had harmed people who had supported independence.

Prosecution: Tell us about what had happened in your village.

Witness: On 8 May, 1971 Pakistani military was coming from Parerhat port towards our house. They were accompanied by Delwar Shikder, Sekander Shikder, Danesh Molla, Moslem Maulana, Razakar Mobin, Hakem Kari, Sobahan Maulana and many other Razakars. Noticing them approaching, me and my brothers hid ourselves in a big jungle on the eastern side of our house and observed from there everything that took place in my house. They had entered into my house. My cousin (paternal aunt’s son) and domestic help Mofizuddin tried to escape but was caught by the army and Razakars. They had also captured another of my domestic helps Ibrahim alias Kutti and tied him together with Mofizuddin. Then they had gone smashing my house, looting all its valuables and distributing my rice, paddy and gold amongst themselves. Delwar Shikder, Danesh Molla and Moslem Maulana had grabbed my gold; the furniture, rice and paddy were looted by the public.

After the pillage, at Delwar Shikder’s direction the Razakar force poured kerosene on the house and torched it. The items of that house, which consisted of 3 residential rooms, a living/guest room and a granary, were valued at Tk 10 lakh then.

Prosecution: You still have the burnt tin and frame from that house? (Defense objects about leading the witness by asking this question)

Witness: Then Mofizuddin and Kutti were taken towards the Parerhat camp. I went on their trail and hid on this side of the bridge. They took Kutti to the other side of the bridge and made him stand in the middle. Danesh Molla and Delwar Shikder consulted with the Pakistani military, unfastened Kutti and took him to the end of the bridge where they shot him. I heard Kutti shout, and then his body was thrown into the water.

Mofizuddin was taken to the camp and I learnt that he was tortured. Between 1:30 and 2 am on the very night (following morning) Mofizuddin fled and came to our house. There was blood and bruises all over his body.

My father was wealthy, but now we hardly have anything. Our documents had been burnt during the loot. I couldn’t retrieve the copies of those burnt documents from court. I know Sayedee. He used to sell oil, salt in Parerhat.
Prior to cross examination the following exchange took place.
Defence: Before proceeding with the cross-examination, I would like to raise two issues. Firstly, we can’t question the witness before seizing the evidence from his house. Secondly, we want to show him a video.

Nizamul Haque: Let’s show that tomorrow. We are almost towards the end of session.

Defence: If the evidence comes by tomorrow, it will be helpful for us.

Justice Zaheer: The evidence has not been produced in court.

Defence: He (Chief Prosecutor) had mentioned clearly that they will show it if the court is willing.

Justice Kabir: The court will not give any direction regarding evidence. If prosecution thinks they need certain evidence, they will bring it.

Defence: I am saying this by consulting the documents which includes Seizure List.
Five questions of the cross examination were asked but these will be given in the next post with the rest of the cross examination.

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