Wednesday, November 21, 2012

2 Oct 2012: Chowdhury 14th witness testimony

After reading out the order relating to bail of Sobhan, the tribunal turned to the case of Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and heard the testimony of the 14th witness, Gopal Chandra Das, a prosecution witness (see here for 13th witness). The questions were asked by Zead Al Malum:
Prosecutor: State your identity.

Witness: I am Gopal Chandra Das. Father is Late Bongo Charan Das. Mother is Late Chinta Moni Das. Aged- 76 years. During the liberation war I was about 34/35 years old. In 1966 I have completed MA in Bangla from the University of Dhaka. Before that I have got the award of Kabyo Byakorontirtho and Bidyanidhi on Sanskrito Literature. Now I am the General Secretary of the Chittagong Association of Literature which has been established on 1976. On 1971 I was appointed as the Principal of Kundeshwari Girls College. I have joined in 1970. Notun Chandra Singha was the founder of that college and I was the founder principal of the college.

Prosecutor: State about the incidents of April, 1971.

Witness: 1971 is the remarkable event in the history of Bangladesh. The incidents of Kundeshwari are a brutal and remarkable one in the history of this country. On 13th April, 1971 this incident has taken place. Notun Chandra Singha has been killed on that day and I have witnessed the killing. Let me explain the incident.

When the country was facing several sorts of brutalities of the Pakistan Armies then on that time we along with the 30 families of the faculties of the Chittagong University who were under the shelter of Kundeshwari have heard about these incidents as we stayed there. Among those people who were there in hiding, were- Professor Syed Ali Ahsan, Dr. Anisuzzaman, Dr. Rashidul Haque, Dr. Md. Mahbub Koraishi and others. After being informed about the ongoing brutalities over the city we have sat for an immediate meeting. Mr. Syed Ali Ahsan was an experienced man. He has a deep knowledge about the atrocities of war. He has warned that the war is coming and we might be attacked at anytime. We all have taken the decision that we would all leave towards India by 10th April, 1971. After that everyone has left the Kundeshwari Building by 10th April, 1971. Only the founder Notun Chandra Singha has stayed behind at the Kundeshwari Complex. Everyone has requested him to leave the place and leave with us to India. He was determined with his own plan. He was telling that this is my motherland; here lies all my endearing property. I can’t go anywhere by leaving these behind.

From the next day everyone has started leaving Kundeshwari. I along with my wife and daughter have also moved towards my village. After staying for one night at the village on 11th April, 1971 I have returned to Kundeshwari Building to visit Mr. Notun Chandra. When I entered the building I have watched that Notun Chandra Singha is completely alone. On seeing me there he became very much emotional and embraced me. In a crying voice he was then saying that, “Son, everyone has left the place, would you go also? Please don’t go. Please stay.” I became very emotional by the urging of Notun Chandra. I have replied, ‘Uncle, I will not go. I will stay with you’.

After sometimes I have watched Gourango Chandra Singha [nephew of Notun Chandra] who was assigned for the cooking of Notun Chandra. There I have stayed till 12.00/ 1.00 P.M. Then I have gone to the house of my wife’s elder sister at Jogotmollopara for taking lunch. After taking the lunch I have returned at Kundeshwari at 4.00/5.00 P.M. I stayed there till 9.00/10.00 P.M. I have tried to give company to Notun Chandra Singha at that time. Again I have returned to the house of my wife’s elder sister at Jogotmollopara for staying at the night.

On the next day I have again returned to the Kundeshwari Complex and visited Notun Chandra. 5/6 other people have also visited Notun Chandra on the same day. Among them there were- Brojhori Kormokar, Shoshankomohon Palit, Himangshu Boiddo, Monoronjon Singha, Gourango Singha. We have discussed with Mr. Notun Chandra for some time and also again discussed leaving the Kundeshwari for the safety of our life. We have told Notun Chandra with a very forceful voice to leave with us towards a safer place. But he was determined in his decision. He has replied, ‘’You may leave but I will not go anywhere.’ After the discussion we have returned to our own places. I have gone to Jogotmollopara. I have again come at the Kundeshwari building at the afternoon and then again gone to my relative’s house at Jogotmollopara.

On the very remarkable day of 13th April, 1971 I again returned at Kundeshwari Complex at around 9.30 A.M. On going there I have heard the sounds of bullets from the road. Then I said that, “might be the Pakistan Armies and their associates have already arrived at the Kundeshwari” to take Notun Chandra Singha from that Kundeshwari Complex to another place. But I didn’t get enough time. Within sometime a Jeep carrying Pakistan soldiers I have entered the place. We have watched the soldiers leaving the vehicles by raising their arms. Along with a Pakistan solider some of the Bangali civilians have left the vehicle. On seeing them, some people have started shouting—‘That’s Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury… That Mahbud.’ After watching them, I and Brojhori have started rushing towards the first floor of the Kundeshwari Complex and hiding ourselves, and others have hid themselves at the bush of bamboo at the south-western side of the house. I and Brojhori have started watching from the window by hiding ourselves. We have seen that Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury and an Army Officer and some other soldiers with other 2 or 3 Bangalis were talking with Notun Chandra Singha. After some while they have got into their vehicles and have left the complex. We have heard the sound of the vehicle.

Approximately after 8 to 10 minutes again we have heard the sound of vehicle. We have again hid ourselves in that room. We have watched the soldiers and the other people have returned and entered the Temple and dragged Mr. Notun Chandra from there at the yard and then they have used brushfire over him, and he was contorting his body with severe pain.

Then I have witnessed that- Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury has discharged two or three round fires from his pistol over Notun Chandra Singha when Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury was saying that it was a direction from his father to kill Notun Chandra. After the confirmation of the death of Notun Chandra Singha they have left the place. With a frightened state of mind we have fled by following the way of ponds at the south side. Notun Chandra Singha died on that spot. I along with my wife and daughter have left towards India and on 28th December, 1971 after returning to country I have rejoined the Kundeshwari Girls’ College. I have given my statements to the investigation officer. I know the petitioner Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury who is present today at this Tribunal.
During the recording of this statement the mobile phone of this witness rang for 4 times, which created a embarrassing condition in the court room. The defence has raised some objection by saying that if the mobile would have rang from the defence side the sitaution would not have been allowed and that both the Prosecution and the Tribunal would have warned them with strict languages. Then the witness apologized for his mobile phone. The tribunal has warned both sides to be careful about the cell phones when producing any witness and also about their own cell phones.

Then the defence counsel has stated that he is not ready to take the cross examination today because from the examination in chief they have found some points which have to be re-checked and researched today. But the Tribunal has not allowed him adjournment and directed him to start the cross examination.

Ahsanul Haque, the defence lawyer, started to ask questions for the defence:
Defence: When have you come to Dhaka?

Witness: 1st September, 2012. I am staying here for one month.

Defence: When have you returned from India?

Witness: On the same date abovementioned.

Defence: Have you met Mr. Profullo in India?

Witness: No.

Defence: If there is a direct flight from India to Chittagong?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Have you gone to your house after your arrival from India?

Witness: No.

Defence: When did you go to India?

Witness: Before 4 months.

Defence: The Indian High Commission does not allow Visa over three months.

Witness: Yes and I have not also got the Visa over three months; but I have over stayed there for my treatment.

Defence: Do you have any document for the overstay there at India?

Witness: I have the papers of permission.

Defence: You have stated the name of your father as Bongo Choron to the Investigation officer

Witness: No

Chairman: We will not take the question as that was a typing error.

Defence: The Gopal Chandra Das who has been made witness in this case has died long before.

Witness: Not true.

Defence: Gopal, Chandra, Das- these are the common titles of Hindu community.

Witness: Yes.

Defence: When did you given your statement to the IO?

Witness: It was 1 year and 3/4 months earlier.

Defence: Did the IO read the statement before you?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: If your house at Rangunia?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Do you know Ahmed Kholifa Khan of Boalkhali?

Witness: He is my friend. When I was at Jolil Ambia College I have made him the member.

Defence: You have not seen Mr. Gourango Chandra Singha at the Kundeshwari Complex on the timeframe of 11th to 13th April, 1971, as he has left towards India, before then.

Witness: Not true.

Defence: He was not assigned for the cooking purpose of Notun Chandra Singha.

Witness: Not true.

Defence: Was he the Cook of Notun Chandra Singha?

Witness: No. He was a farmer but he was uneducated so he was assigned on those purposes.

Defence: Whether you have seen Abdullah Al Harun and Abdullah Al Noman during the timeframe of 11th to 13th April, 1971?

Witness: I can’t remember. They used to go there frequently.

Defence: Then the Kundeshwari Girls’ College was closed on that time.

Witness: Yes.

Defence: How many teachers were there at that time?

Witness: Might be 15 or 16.

Defence: If anyone of those 15 or 16 teachers there when you went to Kundeshwari Complex within 11th to 13th April, 1971?

Witness: No.

Defence: Do you have any affiliation with the businesses of the Kundeshwari Complex?

Witness: No.

Defence: What is the name of the husband of your wife’s elder sister?

Witness: Gopal Chowdhury.

Defence: What is your sister in laws name?

Witness: Chaya Ghosh Dostidar after the marriage she was known as Chaya Chowdhury.

Defence: What is the distance to Jogotmollopara from Rangamati Road?

Witness: It was adjacent to the south side of the road but I don’t know what the distance was.

Defence: How many people used to reside at Jogotmollopara?

Witness: It is a largely populated area, but I don’t know the exact numbers of residents there.

Defence: What is the distance of Kundeshwari from the Rangamati Road?

Witness: It was situated around 1000 yards south side.

Defence: What is the distance of Kundeshwari Girls’s College, Kundeshwari Oushodhaloy, Kundeshwari Complex from the Rangamati Road?

Witness: It was around 1000 yards away.

Defence: There is a gate to go to the Kundeshwari Complex.

Witness: Yes.

Defence: If it necessary to go to the College by crossing the gate?

Witness: No.

Defence: Brojhori Kormokar used to live at the building of Notun Chandra Singha.

Witness: Yes.

Defence: The Borua Para, Muslim Para and the Kundeshwari Complex have been attacked on the same day.

Witness: Not true.

Defence: On 13th April, 1971 the Pakistan Army has attacked the Borua Para and the Muslim Para.

Witness: There is no Borua Para beside Kundeshwari Complex.
Chairman: The Tribunal is adjourned till 2 P.M.

After lunch, the tribunal chairman said that prosecution should not interfere at any time with the cross examination and the defense should not repeat any question unnecessarily.

Defence: Did you ask Nutan Chandra that where was his father’s house?

Witness: No, I didn’t.

Defence: Could you tell me the name of his village?

Witness: Gohira, or Sultampur may be.

Defence: Where is Kundeswari Complex situated?

Witness: It is in Gohira.

Defence: Where were Mr. Prafulla Chandra’s brothers born?

Witness: I don’t know that.

Defence: Did you go to Kundeswari before 1971?

Witness: Yes, I did.

Defence: Were they your relatives?

Witness: No, they were not, but Satya Ranjan was my childhood friend.

Defence: Did you study with Mr. Satya Ranjan?

Witness: No, I didn’t.

Defence: Do you know that Mr. Satya took part in the election circulation in favor of Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, and he was a proposer as well?

Witness: No, I don’t know and it is not true.

Defence: How many times was Salauddin Quader Chowdhury elected from your locality Rangunia?

Witness: Several times. I could not say the actual number.

Defence: Did you know Mr. Giyasuddin Qader Chowdhury was elected from Rangunia?

Witness: I don’t remember but it might be.

Defence: Mr. Salauddin Qader Chowdhury has a big house in Rangunia?

Witness: Yes, he has.

Defence: That area is known as Qadernagar?

Witness: Yes, it is.

Defence: How much has Principal Nutan Chandra Sen studied?

Witness: I don’t know correctly but not so much.

Defence: In which college was he the principal?

Witness: He was not the principal of any college but he was the principal of Ayurvedic (traditional Hindu science of medicine) Medicine Hall.

Defence: Did Mr. Chandra use the word ‘Principal’ before his name?

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: How many children do you have?

Witness: I have 2 daughters. My elder daughter lives in Shegunbagicha (in Dhaka city) and she is a teacher at British Colombia School and my younger daughter is the professor of Chittagong University. I had a son. He died.

Defence: You are a voter of which place?

Witness: Of Chittagong.

Defence: Who else lives with you?

Witness: I live with my younger daughter.

Defence: In 1971 who was the Vice-Principal of Kundeswari Mohabidyalaya (Kundeswari College) ?

Witness: Wife of Mr. Prafulla Chandra. He was appointed but in 71 she didn’t join then.

Defence: If I said that at the time of war she was a student of Chittagong University.

Witness: No, she was not a student of Chittagong University at that time.

Defence: Did you see the bio-data of Mr. prafulla’s wife?

Witness: Yes, I appointed her after seeing her bio-data.

Defence: In which department has she studied?

Witness: In Bangla.

Defence: I am saying that Kundeswari College never existed in reality.

Witness: No, it’s not true.

Defence: Did you give the investigation officer the relevant papers in support of you being principal?

Witness: No, I didn’t because there was no such necessity.

Defence: When the investigation officer was investigating, were you a principal of that college?

Witness: No, I had retired by then.

Defence: Did you see in any newspaper that this kind of investigation had started or the Investigation Officer has reached Chittagong and that anybody knows about this incident are requested to come giving evidence.

Witness: No, I didn’t.

Defence: Where did you give your statement to the Investigation Officer?

Witness: In his office, in Baily Road.

Defence: After giving your statement to the Investigation Officer how many times did you meet him?

Witness: Several times but how many times I could not say specifically.

Defence: Who introduced you to Investigation Officer?

Witness: Nobody introduced me with him, I was asked to go to him.

Defence: At the time of entering into India, the Indian High Commission does not allow one to endorse more than 150 dollars.

Witness: It’s not true.

Defence: I am saying that, a conspiring group gave you money to go India and that’s why you have been able to live in India for 4 long months.

Witness: It’s not true.

Defence: In Kolkata where did you do your eye-treatment?

Witness: In ‘Shankar Netralaya’.

Defence: In front of Temple and in front of Mr Nutan’s house, did any car enter?

Witness: No.

Defence: From Rangamati Road to Kundeswari complex there was a road to drive a car. Isn’t it?

Witness: Yes, it is.

Defence: Kundeswari Medicine Hall was surrounded by buildings right?

Witness: Yes, now it is like that.

Defence: In Kundeswari Complex Mr. Brajahory did not reside.

Witness: It’s not true. But he had his own house.

Defence: Did you show the Investigation Officer, from where you saw the incident?

Witness: I talked with the Investigation Officer. in his office. How could I show him?

Defence: Did Investigation Officer tell you to show you the place by going in Kundeswari complex?

Witness: No, he didn’t tell.

Defence: When did you join in Boyalkhali College?

Witness: In 1975.

Defence: Do you know J.K. Memorial Hospital?

Witness: No, I don’t know.

Defence: Do you know Christian Medical Hospital?

Witness: Yes, I know.

Defence: Is it a famous Hospital?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Do the people of Rangunia and Rauzan take treatment in that Hospital?

Witness: Yes, they do take.

Defence: Did you check whether Mr. Nutan was dead?

Witness: No I didn’t get any scope to check, I fled away then.

Defence: When you heard that Pakistani Army was coming with firing did you flee away?

Witness: No, I didn’t. I went to Kundeswari Complex.

Defence: How many dogs were there in Kundeswari?

Witness: I didn’t remember.

Defence: Were the dogs barking at that time?

Witness: I didn’t remember.
After answering this question the witness asked the Defence lawyer whether he was trying to harass him or not. Then Justice Nizamul Haque told the lawyer that, he should not ask any question that made the witness feel offended. And he also should not tease about the inspiration of the liberation war.

After this the lawyer lost his temper and there was some chaos between Defence and Justice Mr. Nizamul Haque. Then with the interference of Justice Jahangir Hossain the situation came under control. Then Defence requested him to adjourn the court on plea that he didn’t take any preparation to cross. The court decided to finish on and resume on the following day.

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