Wednesday, February 1, 2012

3 Jan 2012: Altaf cross exam day 1

Following the statement made by the ninth witness, Md Altaf Hossain Howlader, relating to the trial of Delwar Hossain Sayedee, the defence lawyer Mizanul Islam started to cross examine him.
Defence: Your house is in Tengrakhali village of Parerhat Union?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: In which ward?

Witness: Nine.

Defence: You are the ‘Shobhapoti’ (secretary) of Awami League in Ward no 9?

Witness: No, I am the secretary.

Defence: For how long, before 1971, did you know Mr Sayedee?

Witness: I have seen him in the Bazaar. I guess since 7-8 years before 1971.

Defence: Was he married at that time?

Witness: I dont know.

Defence: Initially you have seen him in Parerhat?

Witness: In Parerhat and Indurkani. I knew him as he kept shop in Parerhat.

Defence: What shop did he have?

Witness: He used to sell oil, salt, chilli and turmeric on footpath (later he explained this as ‘roadside’).

Defence: Besides that he had a permanent shop?

Witness: No, he used to lay jute rug under the banyan tree, next to the physician, Ganesh Doctor.

Defence: Name a few other people who had permanent shops.

Witness: I can’t remember these names right now.

Defence: Did he (Sayedee) keep shop only on Market Days? Didn’t he also trade on other days?

Witness: no

Defence: On market days, there were many other temporary stalls like Sayedee’s

Witness: Yes.

Defence: On market days, what was the opening hour of these temporary stalls?

Witness: They would organise themselves in the morning and started selling from 9/10 am.

Defence: Amongst the makeshift stalls, there were ones selling fancy products as well.

Witness: What are fancy stores?

Defence: Those which sold cosmetic and jewellery.

Witness: yes

Defence: There used to be temporary stores selling Sari and fabrics.

Witness: No. Only big stores sold those items.

Defence: Can you name any of the temporary salesmen?

Witness: Jibon Malakar’s son, Majid from Tengrakhali, Mridha Mondol.

Defence: Majid is the elder brother of Mahbub (referring to the first witness).

Witness: No

Defence: Where was Jibon Malakar’s home?

Witness: In Parerhat.

Defence: He also had a permanent shop.

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: Whose stall was right next to Sayedee’s?

Witness: Gourango Sundor Mondol’s. They used to sell tobacco leaves.

Defence: Where was he from?

Witness: From Tengrakhali.

Defence: There was another person next to him. Can you say who he was?

Justice Zaheer: Why are you asking about these trades? He didn’t depose anything relevant to this against Sayedee?

Defence: we have an intention (for asking these questions)

Defence: Do you know from where Delwar Hossain Sayedee was?

Witness: Southkhali village

Defence: Did you know his father?

Witness: No. But I heard his name.

Defence: Did you know his brothers?

Witness: No, they didn’t visit Parerhat that often.

Defence: You don’t know his brothers very well until now.

Witness: no.

Defence: Do you know how much he’d (Sayedee) studied?

Witness: No, but heard that he’d passed IA (high school leaving exam) from Madrasa.

Defence: Did you hear that before 1971?

Witness: no.

Defence: After independence, when did you hear of Mr Sayedee?

Witness: I’ve had heard of him already. Back then he was Delwar Shikder; later on heard of him as Sayedee.

Defence: After independence, when did you first see Mr Sayedee?

Witness: In Indurkani.

Defence: After how long?

Witness: I have seen him shopping in Indurkani. I can’t give the date though.

Defence: By when after independence did you see him?

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: He used to conduct Waz-Mahfil as a Moulovi (religious preacher) at that time.

Witness: I haven’t heard of him preaching at that time. Later I heard.

Defence: When did you hear that?

Witness: I don’t remember the day and time.

Defence: Did you see his children in 1971?

Witness: no.

Defence: Have you seen his house?

Witness: He didn’t live in his house, but with his in-law’s.

Defence: Have you been to his in-law’s place?

Witness: No. But it’s visible from Parerhat Bazaar’s fish market, on the other side of the canal.

Defence: Have you seen how many rooms are there in his in-law’s house?

Witness: No.

Defence: Do you know how many children his in-law had?

Witness: No.

Defence: Can you name anyone from the village where Sayedee’s in-laws lived?

Witness: Razzak Ukil (lawyer)

Defence: He wasn’t a professional Ukil (lawyer), but by name?

Witness: His family surname is Ukil.

Defence: In 1996, 2001 and 2008 he’d taken part in the national election. Are you aware of that?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: The first two times his opponent was Sudhangshu Shekhar Halder.

Witness: Yes

Defence: His opponent Babu Sudhangshu Shekhar Halder was a lawyer and used to be elected as a local MP from 1977 until 1996.

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: Have you been to his campaign meetings held during the elections in 1996 and 2000?

Witness: I can’t remember.

Defence: Do you know the first witness of this case, Mahbubul Alam Howlader?

Witness: Yes

Defence: You have known him prior to independence.

Witness: Yes.

Defence: They were three brothers.

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Amongst his brothers, Abdul Majid Howlader has passed away and Abdul Baten is still alive.

Witness: Yes.

Defence: His family was well off.

Witness: somewhat.

Defence: Mahbub Alam is somewhat well off.

Witness: Yes.

Defence: He is the head of his family.

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Have you met Mahbub’s brothers after independence?

Witness: Yes

Defence: Do you know Abdul Manik Poshari, son of Shahijuddin Poshari.

Witness: I didn’t know him very well before independence.

Defence: Did you know Alamgir Poshari from Chithalia village?

Witness: No.

Defence: Did you know Jahangir Poshari from Chithalia village?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Did you know Shahijuddin and Raizuddin Poshari?

Witness: I’ve heard of them

Defence: How did you become acquainted with Manik Poshari?

Witness: I don’t remember.

Justice Zaheer: He didn’t depose anything about Manik Poshari. Why are asking these questions then?

Defence: My lord, there is a reason.

Defence: Did you know that Manik Poshari and Mahbubul Alam Howlader filed a case against Sayedee in Pirojpur court?

Witness: I know about Mahbubul Alam Howlader’s case in which I was a witness; but don’t know whether Manik Poshari had filed a case.

Defence: Did Mahbubul Alam Howlader had a discussion with you before filing his case?

Witness: No.

Defence: After Mahbubul Alam Howlader had filed his case, how did you know that you are a witness?

Witness: Who did he file it against?

Defence: against Mr Sayedee.

Prosecutors object saying the witness did not know that the case had been filed. Why is the defense asserting lies!

MI (repeats): After Mahbubul Alam Howlader had filed his case, how did you know that you are a witness?

Justice Nassim: Did he (Witness) say that he was a witness?

Defence: He said he had made statement before the magistrate under section 164.

Prosecution objects that the witness doesn’t even know about the case and defense is putting words into his mouth.

Defence: Did you make statement before the magistrate under section 164.

Witness: I don’t know about the section, but I’d given my statement.

Justice Zaheer asks why MI is winding around his examination of the witness. He could have asked the previous question straightway.

Justice Nassim: His chief was for 25 minutes!

Defence: He had made an allegation in every 2.5 minutes. In total he’d made ten allegations.

Justice Nassim: Show me the ten allegations.

Defence: Murder, looting, beating, rape, arson.

Defence: When did you know that you were a witness? Who’d told you?

Witness: Mahbub told me, but I don’t know when.

Defence: You didn’t mention in that statement that Delwar Hossain Sayedee had asked to kill Bisha Bali and you’d seen the latter being shot.

Witness: I mentioned.

Defence: Do you have any idea about the People’s Court of 1992?

Witness: No.

Defence: Let me say names of some renowned Bangladeshi people. See whether you’ve heard them. Jahanara Imam.

Witness: I don’t know

Defence: Advocate Gaziul Haque.

Witness: Haven’t heard of him.

Defence: Dr. Ahmed Sharif.

Witness: Haven’t heard of him.

Defence: Architect Mazharul Islam.

Witness: I may have heard the name, Mazharul Islam.

Defence: Barrister Shafique Ahmed.

Witness: Heard

Defence: Foyez Ahmed.

Witness: I don’t remember hearing about him.

Defence: Kabir Chowdhury.

Witness: Heard.

Defence: Kalim Sharafi.

Witness: Haven’t heard.

Defence: Maulana Abdul Auwal.

Witness: No.

Defence: Lt Colonel (Retd.) Kazi Nuruzzaman.

Witness: Haven’t heard of him.

Defence: Abu Osman Chowdhury (Retd).

Witness: Haven’t heard of him.

Defence: Barrister Shaokat Ali Khan.

Witness: I don’t remember hearing about him.

Defence: Advocate ASM Mezbauddin.

Witness: Can’t remember.

Defence: Asif Nazrul.

Witness: Haven’t heard.

Defence: Advocate Shubrata Chowdhury.

Witness: Haven’t heard

Defence: Advocate ZI Khan Manna.

Witness: No.

Defence: Advocate Mujibur Rahman.

Witness: Haven’t heard of him.

Defence: Advocate Nazma Akter Kawser.

Witness: No.

Defence: Advocate Mustafa Faruk.

Witness: Heard the name.

Defence: Advocate Sara Hossain.

Witness: Haven’t heard.

Defence: Advocate Rahman Khan.

Witness: No.

Defence: Advocate Nazrul Islam Shujon.

Witness: No.

Defence: Advocate Jaglul Haider Afreek.

Witness: No.

Defence: Advocate Khandaker Abdul Mannan.

Witness: Heard.

Defence: Journalist Amanullah.

Witness: No.

Defence: Harun Habib.

Witness: No.

Defence: Julfikar Ali Manik.

Witness: Haven’t heard.

Defence: Journalist Mizanur Rahman Khan.

Witness: Heard the name.

Defence: Fazlur Rahman.

Witness: Can’t remember.

Defence: Probhash Amin.

Witness: Haven’t heard of him.

Defence: Jabir Hasan Mahmud.

Witness: Can’t remember.

Defence: Isac Robinson.

Witness: No.

Defence: Imtiar Shameem.

Witness: No.

Defence: Advocate Ziad-Al-Malum.

Witness: No.

Defence: Shamsuddin Gofur.

Witness: No.

Defence: Advocate Mahbub-A-Alam.

Witness: Heard.

MI to HA, this is from document volume 2, page 170.

Defence: Advocate Nizamul Haque Nasim.

Witness: No.

Defence: Advocate MK Rahman.

Witness: Can’t remember.

Defence: Advocate Aminuddin.

Witness: No.

Defence: Advocate Saiful Islam Tarek.

Witness: Can’t remember.

Defence: Advocate Delwar Hossain.

Witness: Heard.

Defence: Gazi Md Motahar Hossain Shaju.

Witness: No.

Defence: Nowsher Ali Sheikh.

Witness: No.

Defence: Saifuddin Ahmed.

Witness: Can’t remember.

Defence: Advocate Hari Shadhan Deb.

Witness: Can’t remember.

Defence: Advocate Abdul Baset Majumder.

Witness: Haven’t heard.

Defence: Advocate Shaokat Jamil.

Witness: No.

Defence: Kamal Pasha Chowdhury.

Witness: No.

Defence: Shafiqur Rahman.

Witness: Heard.

Defence: Doctor Mostaq Ahmed.

Witness: Heard

Defence: Professor Abdul Mannan Chowdhury.

Witness: No.

Defence: Abdur Razzak MP.

Witness: Heard.

Defence: Kazi Aref Ahmed.

Witness: Heard.

Defence: Syed Hasan Imam.

Witness: Heard.

Defence: Nurul Islam Nahid.

Witness: Heard.

Defence: Principal Abdul Ahad Chowdhury.

Witness: Heard.

Defence: Shahriar Kabir.

Witness: Heard.

Defence: Did these people directly, or anyone on behalf of them ask you regarding the events of 1971 prior to your testimony in this case?

Witness: No. I don’t remember anything as such.

Haider Ali: When there are 3-4 kinds of replies in an answer- don’t remember, haven’t heard, can’t remember right now etc- let that answer remain unrecorded.

Justice Nassim: If ten names have been asked in a question, the answers to each can be different.

Haider Ali (Prosecution): How are these people associated?

Justice Nassim: According to the defense, these are renowned people in Bangladesh. They (Defense) have asked questions, mentioning those names and the witness has replied. What’s wrong with recording these?

Justice Kabir: This was about whether the witness has heard of them or not. If the question was whether he knows them or not, question could have arose.

Hyder Alia (Prosecution): Why would these names be recorded if they don’t have any relevance?

Mizanul Islam (Defense): Whenever we ask a question, we do consider the relevance. People whose names I have mentioned had formed a committee to file complaint against Mr Sayedee. I wanted to know whether the witness had met those people when they had travelled to Pirojpur to take interviews and prepare a report (against Sayedee). Prosecution has submitted this document and we have the right to ask questions based on that. We wanted to verify the accuracy and honesty of those who prepared and submitted this document. Whether the locals (of Pirojpur) were aware of this or the report has been fabricated. This is a prosecution document and it is being used against us. They (people mentioned) or their representatives had been to that area (Pirojpur), after which the document was sent to Dhaka. Prosecution is relying on this document on the basis of some statements….

Justice Nassim: Record “with objection” (from prosecution).
Session resumed in the afternoon.

Defence: When did you make your statement?

Witness: 19.8.2010

Defence: Where did you make that?

Witness: In Parerhat Rajlaxmi School.

Defence: When did you go there to make the statement?

Witness: Around 10am.

Defence: Did anyone call to take you there?

Witness: I have answered before.

Defence: Who and when?

Witness: Mahbub. I don’t remember when.

Defence: Was Mahbub present while you were making your statement?

Witness: He wasn’t.

Defence: Did you see anyone else present over there?

Witness: Babul Pandit, Mahtab, Salam Talukder, Abdul Latif.

Defence: You are acquainted with these people you’ve mentioned.

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Salam Talukder is your maternal cousin (maternal uncle’s son)?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: How much did you study?

Witness: I finished Year Three.

Defence: How many siblings do you have?

Witness: I have a brother and a sister. My sister has passed away. We, two brothers are alive.

Defence: Are you elder or younger?

Witness: Younger.

Defence: What does your elder brother do?

Witness: Farming.

Defence: Is he alive?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: What was your job during 1971?

Witness: Farming.

Defence: Where were your lands?

Witness: In Char Tengrakhali.

Defence: Was your father alive during the liberation war of 1971?

Witness: No

Defence: You are still involved with agricultural work?

Witness: Yes

Defence: Do you Chittathakur of your area.

Witness: There’s no one of that name in my area.

Defence: Chittashadhu?

Witness: I knew him.

Defence: Zainab, wife of Jonu alias Joinuddin?

Witness: I know her.

Defence: You were fined for stealing fish from Chittashadhu’s pond and Zainab’s chickens.

Witness: Not true.

Justice Nassim: Was this a judicial matter?

Defence: No.

Justice Nassim: In that case, this won’t be recorded.

Defence: There had been a Shalish (informal adjudication by local leaders). My witness will appear. I’ll submit an application for this to be recorded.

Defence: In your area, son of Rustam Gazi, Ziaul is the chairman of Jubo League?

Witness: I don’t know him by his name. If I see him, I may recognize.

Defence: A bridge is being built by the road in front of Bisha Bali’s house.

Witness: Bridge can’t be built over roads, but over canals.

Defence: I admit my mistake. It’s being built over the canal by the four witnesses Altaf, i.e. you, Mahbub, Mahtab and Latif.

Witness: I wasn’t involved in that Project. Someone else has done it.

Defence: You have said in your statement that Peace Committee was formed 6-7 days before. Razakar force was organised 7-8 days before Peace Committee was formed.

Witness: No, Razakar force was organised few days after the formation of the Peace Committee.

Defence: After it was created, whose house did the Razakar force loot?

Witness: Houses of the Hindu in the Bazaar.

Defence: How many houses of these Hindus were looted?

Witness: 30-35 houses approximately.

Defence: Name 4-5 people who were affected.

Witness: Bipod Shaha, Narayan Shaha, Mukunda Shaha.

Defence: Where was the booty taken?

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: Did the Peace Committee have any office?

Witness: The Razakar office in Parerhat was theirs too.

Defence: The Razakars wore khaki costume.

Witness: They came there (to join the force) in their usual output. But don’t remember what they wore afterwards.

Defence: Did they carry arms?

Witness: They had rifles.

Defence: Who was the chairman of Parerhat Union when the Razakar and the Peace Committee had been formed?

Witness: Amzad Hossain Gazi.

Defence: Have you seen him at the Razakar office of Parerhat?

Witness: I didn’t go to the Razakar Office. I don’t know whether he’d (chairman) been there or not.

Defence: Do you know when the Razakar force and Peace Committee were formed in your neighbouring Union, Shangkarpasha?

Witness: No.

Defence: Do you know whether Razakars and Peace Committee existed in Shangkarpasha?

Witness: No. I only know about Parerhat.

Defence: You don’t know whether any Razakar force or Peace Committee was formed outside of Parerhat.

Witness: No.

Defence: Did you go to that (Parerhat) Bazaar regularly?

Witness: I went there on market days and sometimes on other days too.

Defence: Your brother did the shopping for the family.

Witness: Both of us did.

Defence: 2-3 days after the Peace Committee was formed, the Razakars in Parerhat consisted of the local residents.

Witness: They were from different regions.

Defence: Name 2-3 Razakars who came from outside of Parerhat area.

Witness: Sultan from Togra.

A Prosecutor says that the question was regarding anyone outside of Parerhat.

MI: That’s what I said.

Witness: The people from the villages around Parerhat came to join the Razakars.

Prosecution asks about relevancy of this particular question. Tajul Islam says relevancy need not be shown for each and every question.

Witness (continues): There was another Razakar Khalil who hailed from a place in between Togra and Shangkarpasha.

Defence: Name a few Razakars from the Parerhat region.

Witness: Let him name them (I’ll affirm or negate)

Defence: Delwar Hossain Sayedee’s house was in Southkhali?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Where was Moslem Maulana’s house?

Witness: in Badura

Defence: Danesh Molla’s house?

Witness: Nalbunia.

Defence: Sekander Shikder’s house?

Witness: Hoglabunia

Defence: Name a few Razakars from the Parerhat region.

Witness: I can’t remember.

Defence: How far and in which direction is Tengrakhali from Parerhat Bazaar?

Witness: 1.5 miles towards West.

Defence: On the way from Parerhat, the first village one would find is Togra, next is Umedpur’s Hindu locality, then

Witness: Togra isn’t on that route.

Defence: Which way is Togra from Parerhat then?

Witness: On the south-west corner of Parerhat. I don’t know the distance in between.

Defence: On the way from Parerhat, first lies Umedpur’s Hindupara (Hindu locality), next is Muslimpara (Muslim locality) and then comes your village.

Witness: No, first is Umedpur’s Muslimpara, next is Hindupara followed by Muslimpara again, and then my village starts.

Defence: Before the Peace Committee came into place, pro-liberation forces had control over this region.

Witness: Not true.

Defence: When did first see the freedom fighters, who had liberated the country, in your region?

Witness: I don’t remember.

Defence: Didn’t you meet any freedom fighter during the liberation war?

Witness: I haven’t seen them in Parerhat. I may have seen them in other places.

Defence: Do you have any idea about the groundwork for the liberation war in your area?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Who were in charge of that groundwork?

Witness: I can remember Nabin from Parerhat.

Defence: Where was Nabin from?

Witness: He lived in Parerhat, and his village was in Badura.

Defence: Haven’t you seen anyone else in charge, say Mr. Auwal?

Witness: Mr. Auwal lived in Pirojpur.

Defence: Ok my fault. Was he in the vicinity before the arrival of the military on 7th May?

Witness: No.

Defence: When did he leave?

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: After independence, when did you see Nabin in Parerhat?

Witness: on 18 December.

Defence: Ten days before 18 December, Parerhat was freed from enemy at the direction of Major Zia.

Witness: Not true.

Defence: Was this area freed from enemy before or after 16th December?

Witness: Two days after 16th December, on 18th December it was freed from the Pakistani military.

Defence: Nabin came from the Sundarbans and liberated the region from enemy.

Witness: I don’t where he had come from. But many others had accompanied Nabin.

Defence: Besides Ruhul Amin Nabin, who were the other leaders?

Witness: Md Abdus Salam, Salam Howlader, Salam Talukder, Goutam Halder. I can’t remember the rest of them.

Defence: How many days after the independence did you hear of Major Zia?

Witness: I heard of him as a child.

Defence: What did Major Zia do before independence?

Witness: I knew that he was a ‘Major’.

Defence: Did you see him in Parerhat region after independence?

Witness: I didn’t see him there, but heard that he’d come.

Defence: Where did Nabin and others camp on 18th December?

Witness: They’d removed the Razakars from Fakir Dash’s building and camped there.

Defence: Did you go to that camp?

Witness: No.

Defence: Do you know for long the camp lasted?

Witness: No.

Defence: After independence, freedom fighters started capturing the Razakars.

Witness: I heard that some people were beaten up.

Defence: A few Razakars and Peace Committee members were killed in mob violence.

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: Razakars Sekander Shikder, Danesh Molla and Delwar Hossain Mallick were arrested from Parerhat region.

Witness: I don’t know. I haven’t heard of Delwar Hossain Mallick.

Defence: Pirojpur town is 4-5 miles away from Parerhat.

Witness: No. It’s approximately 7-8 miles away.

Defence: There is a college named Suhrawardy College in Pirojpur town.

Witness: Yes.

Defence: There was a village called Chilabari by the road next to that college. The village is still there.

Witness: I don’t know

Defence: Do you Enayat Shikder, an affluent businessman from Chilabari?

Witness: No.

Defence: In that village, his brother Razakar Delwar Shikder lived.

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: You are aware that there was a Razakar named Delwar Shikder.

Witness: Not true.

Defence: You are aware that he was shot and killed by Abed Ali.

Witness: Not true.

Defence: Until now you didn’t try to find out the name of the Razakar who’d shot Bisha Bali.

Witness: No

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