Friday, July 27, 2012

9 Jul 2012: Chowdhury 6th witness testimony

Tribunal 1
The tribunal started with the examination of a witness, Nirmal Chandra Sharma, Advocate, who was giving evidence against Salauddin Quader Chowdhury. This hearing follows on from 2 July hearing.

Justice Nizamul Huq: Mr. Malum, we have already decided that- we will go for the time management. This will be applicable for both the sides. Today you will get a bit more time because, the regular stenographer is on leave and a new stenographer will work on behalf of her. So, he will be in need of time to get accustomed with the system of this recording.

The prosecutor, Zead-al-Malum then started the questioning
Prosecution: Please introduce yourself.

Witness: My name is Advocate Nirmal Sharma. My father’s name is Late Joyonto Kumar Sharma. I am almost 67 years old.

Prosecution: How old were you during the liberation war?

Witness: Then I was 25 years old.

Prosecution: What is your educational qualification?

Witness: M.S.S and LL.B.

Prosecution: What is your address?

Witness: Moddho Gohira, Police Station- Raujan, District- Chittagong.

Prosecution: What is your profession?

Witness: Right now I am serving as an Advocate at the Chittagong District Court.

Prosecution: State the horrific incidents of liberation war, as you have witnessed.

Witness: There was a resistant center of the liberation craving people to resist the Pakistan Army, which was situated at the north side of the Hat-hajari Thana Dighi- located under the Hat-Hajari Police Station, Rangamati Road- which is running towards the Chittagong District. On 12th April, 1971 the Pakistan Army has passed the resistant center and reached the Hat-Hajari Bus Station. After getting the news we became very much puzzled. After the Hat-Hajari Bus Station no resistant center was being formed. We passed the 12th April, 1971 with a great anxiety. On that night we were unable to decide where we would go for shelter. On the next morning mother said to us- “We don’t know where we should go, but take some rice before leaving the house.” At that time me, my brother Shunil Sharma, Nephew- Dulal Sharma, Father- Joyonto Sharma were taking preparation to have some meal before leaving the house. Right at that moment we have heard an announcement from the Mosque of Hanif Khondokar, which was situated at the north side of the Rangamati Road. The announcement was like this- “Don’t leave your house. Peace Committee has been already formed. If you leave your house, in that case your house will be looted. Don’t leave your house. You will not fall in trouble.”

After hearing this announcement we got some relief. In the mean time my elder uncle Jotilal Sharma who has left towards Hat-Hajari with family has returned home after listening the announcement. After that we all have started taking meal and my mother was serving the foods for us. At the last stage of our meal, we have watched that Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury along with the armed forces have arrived at our doorstep. Among those armed group one has confirmed that “No worries, we will not kill you. Step out from the room.” When I have just stepped down from my room, they have shouted at me- “Hands Up”. I have raised my hands. Three soldiers had come forward to me. Among those, two were coming forward by triggering their guns. Then I thought that if I try to start resisting, in that case they will kill all of our family members and will burn our house. On that time my mother, fathers, brother, uncle, nephew all were crying loudly. But I was standing there with my hands up and without crying. I was thinking, better I will die but they will live. At that time two soldiers started coming forward and after getting them close all of my present family members started crying loudly by holding the mens legs. Among them one has shouted in their language by saying- “Shut your mouth. Go to your room.” Then we have entered our room. After 4 or 5 minutes Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury and other soldiers have started taking away my uncle Makhonlal Sharma to the yard. At that time me and other family members went out from the room to the front side and started crying. At that time me, my brother- Sunil Sharma, my uncle- Jotilal Sharma, younger uncle- Makhonlal Sharma circles Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury and other soldiers and broke out in crying, some of us have hold their legs. They have instructed us to stand in a line. We were not moving for making a line at first, afterwards when we apprehend that there would be great damage if we won’t follow the instructions. Then we have started standing on line. Then Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury and other soldiers have gone back from 15 hands step from us and instructed us to sit down. They were standing by facing at the east side. They have started taking the preparation of Brushfiring at us by slightly moving at the south-western angle. Just before they started brushfire I fell down, they have brush-fired for two times. I was lying there numbly, because if I would stand up they might shoot me. When everything became silent I have heard a sound someone moaning. Then I rose up and saw that- Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury and other soldiers were moving towards the eastern side. Then I saw--- [He was broken out in tears and was unable to talk. A Prosecutor went forward with a bottle of water and he took a sip of water but was totally unable to control himself from crying. The Justice told him please take the seat for few time. Then he started.]

Then I saw a bullet has pierced the left side of my mother’s stomach and all the intestines have come out. [Crying] She has lost her soul already. Then I saw my nephew whose abdomen has been pierced by bullet and was lying dead. My younger brother Sunil Sharma and elder Uncle Jotilal Sharma were lying there with no soul in the body. My younger Uncle Makhonlal Sharma was having a heavy injury on his head by bullet after sometimes he died. [Crying out helplessly.]
Justice Nizamul Huq: You can take the seat and console yourself.
Witness: My father was a healthy man. His left hand was heavy injured by bullets. He got injured in his left thigh by the bullets and his bone got broken. After listening the sound of bullets and fire, my other brother who was out of the house at the time of incident came home and became by watching this massacre. In this circumstance me and my brother fled away from the place and crossed the Halda River and reached the Gorduara village under Hathajari Police Station and stayed there for the whole day. At the onset of the evening we returned home and observed that except my Father and Uncle Makhonlal all the family members were lying dead. My father was asking for water in a very low voice and was instructing us leave the place. We have served a pot of water to our father and left the house. Then we sat on the high land of the right side of our house and I was thinking whether I am in a bad dream or is it a reality. At 8:30 to 9:00 P.M. we were trying to cross the Rangamati Road to go towards the North side. A lot of transports were moving over the road on that time, we thought we might be caught up; it is not an easy way to cross the road.

There was a house at the north side of our house; the owner of the house was Mr. Ali Chowdhury. We have observed that a slight beam of light is coming from their holes of the fence of the house. By following the light we went towards the front side of the house. By listening to our call, the residents have taken us inside. They were taking preparation for sleeping. They have let us lie on their bed. But we all were unable to sleep in the night. The residents were just thinking, how they could let us leave the place safely. There was a man named Daru Mia, we used to call him Daru Uncle. He has woken us up from sleeping; he has stated that if you stay more long here, in that case both of you and us would fall in trouble. Then he has put two caps over the head of me and my brother and wore another cap over his head. And stated that you might fall in trouble at the road, it is the time of prayer (Namaz), if someone asks you about your destination then just answer we are going for the Fazar prayer and then he made us learn a Kolema [It is the first part of the Islamic Declaration of faith] - “La Ilaha Illallahu Muhammadur Rasul Allah.”
Here after recording the Kolema, justice added a line that- for the trouble in the type machine it has not been written up in a proper way. Afterward Mr. Ahsanul Huq stood up by saying, I have an objection my Lord, the witness can’t utter this Kolema. The sentence has not been stated in his statement before the Investigator. The Justice said this is a mere utterance of the witness, so I have added it. Then the accused Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury said from the dock that if the Kolema came out from the mouth of a Muslim it won’t be a matter, but it is piercing my ears to hear it from a non- Muslim. Justice replied- you have an objection about this line it will be added in the record. Mr. Zeyad Al Malum stood up saying- we also have an objection about the defence’s contention; the witness has said it, so there should not be any word afterward. If you write the objection of the defence in the record, in that case you have to put the note of our objection in the record also. Then the Justice instructed the stenographer to note down the matter that- the defence has an objection.

The witness afterward stated that My Lord, I would like to say- we uttered the Kolema to save our life. Justice replied- okay proceed on.
Witness: Afterwards Daru Uncle has taken us to a narrow road beside a mosque and made us cross the Rangamati road. That was time of Morning Prayer. By crossing the road he has taken us for almost half kilometer away. And then with tearful eyes he has said- “Go away. I will go to my house.” Then he has taken the caps from our heads and left towards his house. We have started walking towards India. In the meantime we took our lunch at one of our relatives’ home. Everyone was stating that they might fall into trouble if they would provide us shelter. After walking for two days we reached at Ramgor. On the next day, after crossing the border from Ramgor and crossing the river we have reached at Sabrum. The people who have gone to India from Bangladesh were being given a Pass, after receiving a pass from there we have took shelter in a school. After that we went to Agortola from Sabrum. At Agortola we were at the shelter of my friend. After finding out about the Refugee camp, we went there for shelter. We have stayed there for 20-25 days; from there I have taken part in Liberation war. I was assigned at the Sector-1. After the liberation we have returned to our home. After reaching home we have heard from Uncle Sadhon that- one of our well wishers Mr. Kaji Forid has buried my deceased family members at the east side of the pond Shilpara “Boro Pukur” of Moddho Gohira village. Mr. Kaji Farid with the assistance of others had buried the deceased, other than that- dogs or other animals might have eaten those bodies.
Ahsanul Huq has raised an objection about the possibilities of the deceased to be eaten up by dogs or other animals. He has stated that the possibilities of a fact should not go to evidence.

Zead Al Malum replied whether the counsel is supposed to confuse the witness like that.

Judge answered, 'no it will go'. And then he has directed the stenographer to type the line.
Witness: In every religion it is a custom to arrange a funeral; but it is my deepest sorrow that we could not arrange a funeral for our dearest family members.

Prosecution: What happened to your injured father?

Witness: Afterward my father became lame and he was living with this crippled condition for next 5/6 years. Then he died.

Prosecution: Whether the Investigation Officer has interrogated you?

Witness: Yes.

Prosecution: How could you know Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury?

Witness: He is a known face for everyone of this country.

My Lord I would pray for the appropriate punishment of all the people who were involved with this horrific incident.
Justice Nizamul Huq: Okay the Court will sit after the lunch recess. Thank you.

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