Wednesday, February 1, 2012

11 Jan 2011: Awal cross exam day 2

Defence counsel Mizanul Islam continued the cross examination of the prosecution witness 12 AKMA Awal, MP for the 2nd day.

- Evidence in chief
- Cross examination, day one
Defence: Mr Awal, I do not have any intention to insult you. Therefore, if I ask you any odd question, please do not mind as it will be asked for the interest of justice.

Witness: I am just a witness here. I really do not care about any question you are going to ask me.

Defence: You told us on yesterday’s cross examination that you had known AKM Yousuf of Khulna from your student life. How had you known him?

Witness: He was a Jamat-e-Islami leader.

Defence: Did you know him any other way apart from his involvement with the Jamat-e-Islami?

Witness: He was a minister in the East Pakistan government.

Defence: You have also said that to organize the freedom fighters you used to go to different places of Morolgonj from Jiuda village. Did not you face protest from the rajakars or who were against the Independence?

Witness: I did not face that at the beginning.

Defence: Well, since when it was started?

Witness: After we captured Morolgonj in August.

Defence: From whom you faced such protests?

Witness: Maulana Yusuf, Saeed, Idris, Rajab Ali etc.

Defence: Mr Yusuf was the first to form the rajakar force, right?

Witness: No idea.

Defence: Rajakar force was formed for the first time on 17th May. Do you agree or not?

Witness: No idea.

Defence: You also said in your statement that took over the forest office in the Sundarbans and you made a recruitment office. Can you please tell us when did you do that?

Witness: I cannot remember the exact date; may be in mid or late July.

Defence: Under which sector were you being controlled before your camp was designated as a ‘sub-sector’?

Witness: Sector No. 9.

Defence: Who was the Sector Commander of Sector No. 9? Was it Major Jalil?

Witness: Yes, it was Major Jalil. However, Apart from him Joynal Abedin and General Monjur also commanded Sector No. 9.

Defence: How long Major Jalil the Commander for Sector No. 9?

Witness: I cannot remember. During the war, sometimes we couldn’t even eat for 3 days. It is impossible to remember. Besides, we were in a war and we did not have any instantaneous mode of communication.

Defence: I see. Well, who the Sector Commander then when your camp was designated as a sub-sector?

Witness: Major Jalil.

Defence: Where was the Sector Head Quarter (HQ)?

Witness: At Taki in India.

Defence: Under which district of West Bengal (India), was Taki?

Witness: I do not know that.

Defence: Well, did you ever go to the Sector HQ?

Witness: Yes, I went there on numerous occasions.

Defence: Who was the Sector Commander at the time of the victory?

Witness: I do not remember that.

Defence: One of your brothers named Mahabubur Rahaman died in 2006-2007. Who was the Imam in his janaja prayer?

Witness: The Imam from the local mosque.

Defence: I am saying that the accused Delwar Hoassain Saidee was the Imam at your brother’s janaja- what do you say?

Witness: No, he did not say the prayer. He went there afterwards though.

Defence: While you left the court room last day, I heard that you gave salam (greetings practised by Muslims) to Mr Saidee and called him a ‘brother-in-law’ (beyai in Bengali). How do you explain that?

Witness: I can’t tell you better I guess. So you tell.

Defence: Thats not the issue. I am asking you and please answer the question.

Justice AKM Zaheer: Please answer the question asked by the defence.

Witness: Well, he is the brother-in-law (vaira in Bengali) of Mojahar Mallik who is the paternal cousin of my Mr Mokbul.

Defence: Do you know Delwar Hossain Saidee for long time?

Witness: Yes, we grew up in the same area.

Defence: What was the name of his father?

Witness: Mr Moulovi Ali Shaheeb.

Defence: Was not his surname ‘Saidee’?

Witness: No.

Defence: A conference/assembly of Chatra League (student wing of Awami League) was held at Parer Hat in 1972. You were the chief guest in that, right?

Witness: No. The name of the chief guest was Hasina Banu.

Defence: The committee of Parerhat Chatra League was formed in that conference. Abu Saleh became the President and Mohiuddin Mollik s/o Mojahar Mollik became the General Secretary of that committee. Both of them became the chairmen of Shangkar Pasha UP later on, right?

Witness: Yes, thats true.

Defence: Apart from involvement in politics, you are also a cultural minded person. You organized a music show/programme of Gani Bayati in 1971, right?

Witness: I cannot remember.

Defence: OK, let me help you. Someone stole taka 313 in that programme and you conduct his trial for stealing that money.

Witness: I cannot remember that.

Defence: Mojahar Mollik was the secretary of Parerhat Market Committee in 1972, right?

Witness: I do not have any idea.

Defence: When was the peace committee formed for the first time in East Pakistan?

Witness: I do not know that.

Defence: Do you know who was the organizer/leader of that committee?

Witness: I do not know that as well.

Defence: Afjal Khan was the organizer/leader of the peace committee in Pirojpur, right?

Witness: Yes, I have heard that Khan Bahadur (title given by the British Govt. during the British-India regime) Afjal was the organizer/leader of Pirojpur peace committee.

Defence: When was the committee formed? I mean how many days after the Pakistani army came to Pirojpur?

Witness: Not after. The peace committee was formed secretly before the Pakistani army came to Pirojpur.

Defence: When did you come to know the about that committee?

Witness: When the Pakistani army came to Hular Hat, we came to know about the fact that the peace committee had already been formed.

Defence: When did you come to know the fact personally?

Witness: After 8/10 days from its formation.

Defence: How many police stations were there in the then Pirojpur sub-division?

Witness: There were 8 Police station then named Mothbaria, Kaukhali, Nazirpur, Pirojpur, Shorupkhathi, Kathalia, Bamna and Bhadaria.

Defence: Can you please tell us who were the president and secretary of peace committee and commander of rajakar force in those police stations areas?

Witness: Only Pirojpur Sadar, and partially Bamna and Mothbaria were under our jurisdiction. Other police stations were under the jurisdiction of another sub-sector. That is why I do not have any idea about the president and secretary of peace committee and commander of rajakar force in those areas.

Defence: Who was the president of peace committee in Pirojpur Sadar?

Witness: Manik Khondokar and later on Asrab Ali Shikder.

Defence: Who was the secretary of peace committee in Pirojpur Sadar?

Witness: Chairman Hashem of Durgapur UP.

Defence: Who was the president of peace committee in Bamna?

Witness: Irtizad Ahmed.

Defence: Who was the secretary of peace committee in Bamna?

Witness: I do not remember.

Defence: Who was the rajakar commader there?

Witness: I forgot his name.

Defence: What about Shangkar Pasha Union?

Witness: There was no peace committee in Shangkar Pasha Union.

Defence: On which date did the Late Enayet Hossain Khan along with other local elected leaders give you arms?

Witness: On 27th March 1971 at 3 pm.

Defence: Was Lieutenant Zia Uddin present there?

Witness: No, he was not there.

Defence: The person who was the in charge of the treasury gave the arms to him without any protest?

Witness: Yes, Enayet Hossain Khan was MNA and there were other 3 MPAs with him.

Defence: After some days money was looted from treasury, right?

Witness: I heard that but I was not there.

Defence: What was the date?

Witness: I do not know.

Defence: When did you come to know that?

Witness: After 8/10 days from the incident.

Defence: Who looted the money from treasury?

Witness: Shaheed Fazlul Khan of the Biplobi Chatra (Revolutionary Student) Union.

Defence: How did he die?

Witness: After looting the money, when they were going back, they faced attack from their opposition and there was an arms fight between them and some of them died.

Defence: He died in that fight?

Witness: No. He was killed later on by the rajakars.
The hearing was adjourned until 2 pm.

Defence: Parerhat as well as Pirojpur become enemy-free on 8th December 1971, right?

Witness: Most probably that is right.

Defence: Parerhat was captured by Lieutenant Zia Uddin and Pirojpur police station was captured by Captain Shahjahan, is that true?

Witness: I do not have any idea about that.

Defence: Well, Parerhat become enemy-free under the leadership of Lieutenant Zia Uddin, right?

Witness: Not really. Freedom fighters took over the camp of rajakars and Pakistani force just after they left Parerhat.

Defence: Were the freedom fighters who took over the camps under Lieutenant Zia Uddin’s leadership?

Witness: Well, he was the sub-sector commander; every place under the Sundarban sub-sector went under his leadership.

Defence: Did the freedom fighters take over Parerhat before he went there?

Justice AKM Zaheer: Why don’t you ask the witness whether Lieutenant Zia Uddin was physically present there?

Defence: Thank you my Lord for helping me. I was confused how to ask this question.

Defence: So, Mr Awal, was Lieutenant Zia Uddin physically present there?

Witness: I do not remember that.

Defence: On the same day freedom fighters captured Pirojpur Sadar police station with physical presence of Captain Shahjahan, what do you say?

Witness: I do not have any idea about that.

Defence: After the Independence, cases were filed against rajakars and peace committee members in the Pirojpur Sadar police stations and in other courts- is that true?

Witness: If so, I do not have any idea about the cases filed in personal initiatives.

Defence: Did you take any initiative to file cases against rajakars?

Witness: I did not take any such initiative personally.

Justice AKM Zaheer: Mr Islam, why do not you ask the question specifically?

Defence: Did you not take any initiative to file case against the accused Delwar Hossain Saidee since the victory to giving statement to CIO Helal Uddin?

Witness: No. I did not take any initiative to file case against anyone.

Defence: Gono Todonto (Mass Investigation) Commission was formed in 1994, do you know that?

Witness: I cannot remember.

Defence: What about Gono Adalat (People’s Court) formed by Jahanara Imam, Poet Sufia Kamal, Asif Nazrul, Shahriar Kabir and others? Have you heard about that?

Witness: I do not remember that.

Defence: Did you give your statement before CIO Helal Uddin?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Did Manik Poshari and Mahabubur Rahman consult with you before filing the case against Delawar Hossain Saidee?

Witness: No. Why should they consult with me?

Defence: When did you pass Seceondary School Certificate (SSC) from Rajapur High School?

Witness: Is this question relevant to this case? How does it connect with the trial of Delwar Hossian Saidee?

Tribunal Chairman Justice Nizamul Haque: Please answer, Mr Awal.

Witness: I did not pass my SSC from Rajapur High School.

Defence: Then from which school you passed the same?

Witness: From Adarsha School.

Defence: When?

Witness: In 1970.

Defence: What is your date of birth according to the SSC certificate?

Witness: 03.03.1954.

Defence: You have been elected MP, right?

Witness: Yes, thats true.

Defence: What educational qualification you have mentioned in your Nomination form?

Witness: Well, I wrote that I had passed SSC as I did not get my HSC and Degree (graduate) certificate then

Defence: There are lot of bogus freedom fighters in the present List of Freedom Fighters, right?

Witness: This AL govt. has not cut the names in the list which was made by the last BNP led 4-party coalition govt. Therefore there is a high probability that there are some bogus freedom fighters in the current list.

Defence: You have issued D.O. letter to enrol Mr Sultan Ahmed Hawlader s/o late Hossain Ali Hawlader, who is also a witness in this case, in the Register of Freedom Fighters as a freedom fighter. Can you please recognize these 2 letters?

(letters were showed to the witness first, then to the Judges and finally to the Prosecutors)

Witness: It has been issued in the Awami Leagues pad. It is not D.O. letter.

Justice Zaheer: It is just a certificate given in the Awami League’s official pad certifying that they are freedom fighters. The witness did not even request any authority to include the other witness in the Register/List of Freedom Fighters.

Defence: It has been written in this letter that Sultan Ahmed Hawlader fought front fight with Mr AKMA Awal, where he (Sultan) stated before this Tribunal he is not a freedom fighter, however, he applied for his enrolment as a freedom fighter as a ‘associate freedom’ fighter.

Witness: Anyway, this is neither a D.O. letter nor a recommendation to include him in the List of Freedom Fighters.
At this stage, defence counsel Kofil Uddin continued with the cross examination. Just before he started the same, Justice AKMA Zaheer said, ‘Do not try to prove whether he is a genuine freedom fighter or not. Do have any doubt about him?’ Counsel Kofil Uddin replied, ‘No my Lord! I am not going to do that’

Defence: You have stated that you employed some civilians for spying against the Pakistani force and rjakars. Did you provide any formal training to then for spying?

Witness: Well, we trained them all in the PTI ground of Pirojpur in the March. However, any formal training was provided to them for spying or not I do not have any idea about that.

Defence: Where were you in the end of June in 1971?

Tribunal Chairman Justice Nizamul Haque interrupted at this stage and said I was a freedom fighter and if you ask me where were in the end of June in 1971, even I would be unable to answer you the same. You need to take into consideration that it was a War time situation. We will not take this question. Ask him the next question.

Defence: Did the sources/spies use to report to you directly?

Witness: Not really. They used to report to me via several persons; whenever who is available. You need to understand that was not time of cellular communication.

Defence: Well, did the sources/spies report sometimes to you directly as well?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: The duty of those spies was basically to collect secret information, right?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: For this purpose, was there any separate unit and/or in-charge for that?

Witness: Not at all.

Defence: I am saying- there was a separate unit for that and Poritosh Kumar Pal was the in-charge for this unit. What do you say?

Justice AKM Zaheer: It is a redundant question. The witness has already denied that there was no such unit or in-charge. We will not take this question.

Defence: Did those spies accompany you when you went India for training and arms?

Witness: Yes, some of them. Roijuddin was with me to show me the way.

Defence: Have you heard the name of the place Koyla Boyela?

Witness: No.

Defence: How long did you continue the training at PTI ground of Pirojpur?

Witness: Since 28 March 1971 to the incident of looting money from Pirojpur treasury.

Defence: Were you staying close to Lieutenant Zia Uddin since you met him in the Jiuda village until you went to India?

Witness: Yes.
Justice AKM Zaheer and Tribunal Chairman Justice Nizamul Haque inturrpted in this stage and said it is no way relevant to Delwar Hossain Saidee’s trial that whether the witness was with Lieutenant Zia Uddin or not during that time. Defence will not be benefitted from this question.

Defence: After how many days you went to India?

Justice AKM Zaheer: This question has been asked already by the other defence counsel.

Defence: When were you appointed as the Sundarban sub-sector HQ in-charge and operational head of the said sub-sector?

Justice AKM Zaheer: I do not understand, how this question is related to his statement against the accused Delwar Hossain Saidee.

Witness: The camp was made by me and since then I was the in-charge of camp HQ as well as operational head.

Defence: Lieutenant Zia Uddin also used to stay at that camp, right?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Where was the camp situated? I mean in plain land or on water or in a underground bunker?

Witness: At first, we set up the camp in a boat then we moved to the plain land when it grew bigger.

Defence: Were there in maps of Bangladesh and Sundarbans, list of names of the commanders of the camp/sub-sector, photographs of Father of the Nation Sheikh Muzibur Rahman, Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani, Hossain Shoheed Sohrawardi, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Rabindra Nath Tagore, Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Haq and Netaji Subash Chandra Bose in the Sundarban Sub-sector Commander’s office? Did the sub-sector commander had any personal secretary (P.S.) or typist?

Witness: Well, at that time the whole Sundarban area was our sub-sector HQ. There were 30-35 camps in the Sundarban area which we used as our HQ. Apart from that the boat where I and Major Zia Uddin used to stay, could easily be moved from one place to another. Therefore, there was no fixed office for the sub-sector commander. However, maps were required for fight that why we got maps. We also got the photographs of Father of the Nation Bangabondhu Sheikh Muzibur Rahman. I do not have any idea whether the sub-sector commander had any typist or not.

Defence: Now I am saying, you did not hold any post of the Sundarban Sub-sector, what do you say?
The witness AKMA Awal MP became very angry and claimed protection to the Tribunal. He said, he will not tolerate the simplest doubt about his involvement in the War of Independence. He further claimed he was even shot during the War.

Another defence lawyer came to finish the cross examination.
Defence: You did not tell to the CIO Helal Uddin about the fact that you went to the Town Hall ground of Pirojpur on 27th March 1971 and MNA Late Enayet Hossain Khan gave you arms from the Treasury.

Witness: I have told him the fact. However, this is none of my business whether he had written it or not.

Defence: You did not even tell to the CIO that the camp grew bigger in the numbers of freedom fighters and got great successes and therefore the camp then designated as a sub-sector under Sector No. 9.

Witness: I do not remember.

Defence: You told the CIO some of the names of the sources. However, among them you did not tell the name of Shiraj Uddin.

Witness: I cannot remember.

Defence: You have not told to the CIO that the rajakars Denesh Molla, Moslem Maulana, Sekender Shikder incorporated Delwar Hossain Saidee in rajakar force because he could speak in Urdu.

Witness: I have said that to CIO.

Defence: You have not even stated in your statement before the CIO that the accused Delwar Hossain Saidee was the treasurer of the ‘5 Fund’.

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