Sunday, January 15, 2012

29 Dec 2011: Seventh witness statement

The day started with 72 year old Mofizuddin Poshari, the seventh witness in the case against Delwar Hossain Sayedee, giving his examination-in-chief. The prosecutor asking the questions was Haider Ali. The cross examination, that started after this evidence was given, is set out in the following post.

Below is an unofficial translation of the witness's statement. (Notes and translation undertaken by Onchita Shadman. Every attempt has been made to ensure accuracy, but there may be some small omissions.)  
Prosecutor: Where were you in the months of April and May of 1971?

Witness: I was working at Manik Poshari and Shahizuddin Poshari’s house.

Prosecutor: There were freedom-fighters, Razakars and Peace Committee during the war.

Witness: I knew.

Prosecutor: Tell us about their activities.

Witness: When the military had plundered in Parerhat, we were working at home and didn’t go there. Around 10/11am on 8 May, 1971 (next day) we were herding buffaloes when we noticed smoke and fire in the north. I told Kutti,”Brother I can see fire and hear cries of children.” We steered the buffaloes to Manik and Shahizuddin Poshari’s stable. After sometime we noticed a group of 20-22 Razakars approaching in our direction. Amongst them was Dilu Shikder (Sayedee). Seeing them, Kutti asked me to run. We ran south towards the river where two soldiers grabbed me. Dilu Shikder grabbed Kutti by his hair saying, “Where are you going son of a swine?” Then some Razakars including Momin and Razzak said, “Tie them up”. Both of us were fastened with the same rope.

Justice Zaheer: Let’s omit some of the words (referring to son of a swine).

Tajul Islam (Defense): These words prove his intention. Then put this down as ‘slang’.

Justice Zaheer: Ok, let’s leave it as it is.

Witness: We saw Razakar Mobin and others (I don’t know their names but will know them by face) entering into the house, bringing out things from inside and smashing them. They had brought out oil cans too. Danesh Molla, Dilu Shikder, Sekander Shikder, Mobin and other Razakars suggested pouring oil (kerosene) on the house and torching it. Dilu Shikder instructed them to do so. After the house was torched, I saw 4-5 rooms in flames. Amongst those were residential sections, granary and living/guest room. Most of the valuables were taken away, but few were left in front of the house. Then they set off towards Parerhat with me and Kutti. When we were passing over Parerhat Bridge, they (Razakars) asked Kutti, “Where are Manik and Shahizuddin Poshari? You know. You are their bodyguard. (Explains to the court that Shahizuddin Poshari is Manik Poshari’s father) You have to tell us. If you don’t we’ll kill you.” After saying this they‘d smacked us.

After coming off the bridge, 20-30 hands away, Dilu Shikder started discussing something with the Pakistani soldiers in Urdu. Sekander Shikder had also said something. I don’t understand Urdu and couldn’t make out what he’d said. They then unfastened Kutti and started off with me towards Parerhat camp. After I had moved away a bit further, I heard them saying to Kutti, “You still didn’t tell us.” Then I heard a gunshot followed by Kutti’s scream, “Ma (mother)”. When I looked back I saw that Kutti was shot. I started shivering. The soldiers kicked Kutti’s body into the canal. Then they took me to the Razakar camp near Thanarghat. They tied me and started beating me up brutally. Danesh Molla, Sekander Shikder and Dilu Shikder told me, “You have to tell us their whereabouts. Otherwise, you have seen how we kiiled one; we’ll kill you too.” They’d beaten me so hard that my fingers broke. Danesh Ali Molla pushed and knocked me down on the cement floor which made my lips crack. My knees bled; a tooth got bent and later fell off. Hitting me on the waist, Danesh Molla said, “Give us their information. Otherwise we’ll shoot you.”

Prosecutor: Show the scars on your body.

Witness: (shows scars on his knees) Sekander Shikder, Dilu Shikder, Mobin, Razzak, Danesh Molla had tortured me. Then they left. I don’t know where. They returned at around 10/11 pm and threatened me of death if I didn’t tell them whereabouts of Manik and Shahizuddin Poshari. I told them if they released me, I would enquire about this and inform them. Then they left. Danesh Molla said, “There’s no need to beat him anymore. He’ll inform us anyway.”

At around 11pm/12am many Razakars returned to the camp. I wanted to drink some water but they didn’t give me any. Then a Razakar named Razzak, who was a former acquaintance, asked me whether I would like to eat rice. I told him I would rather go to the toilet; otherwise I’ll litter your place. He handed me the end of the rope (with which I was fastened) and led me to the back of the camp on the eastern side of the canal. He made me sit by the fence and asked me to finish my business there. When he moved forward, I untied myself and managed to cross the canal with much pain and effort.

Once I reached the other side, I saw that they were looking for me with torches. I hid myself in the woods and slowly travelled to Manik Poshari’s house. I saw flames still burning, but couldn’t spot any people. So I moved into the woods on the east and lied there. A night guard named Mohammad used to be there. I called him said, “Brother I was taken as a captive. They will kill me.” I asked him to inform Manik Poshari to come to me. Mohammad gave me a cover. Manik Poshari arrived a little before dawn (just before Azaan). I told him details of being tortured. Manik Poshari took me deep into the woods and sent me food and medication through Mohammad. I used to call him (Mohammad) ‘mama (uncle).’ I stayed there on that day. Next day I went to Sundarban with my father-in-law. I came back from Sundarban after independence.

(Spotting Sayedee who was sitting in the dock) There is Dilu Shikder.

No comments:

Post a Comment