Wednesday, November 21, 2012

4 Oct 2012: Chowdhury 15th witness testimony

After passing its order on the Sayedee case, at around 11.30 am, the tribunal then moved onto the case of Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, and the tribunal chairman said that the Prosecution you will get until the end of the morning session to complete the examination in Chief.

The prosecution witness no 15, Ahmed Imtiaz Bulbul then came to the dock, and the prosecutor Zead Al Malum asked questions (see witness no 14 here)
Prosecutor: Please state your identity.

Witness: I’m Ahmed Imtiaz Bulbul, Father- Wafiz Ahmed, Mother- Late Iffat Ara Nazimunnesa. Aged- above 57 years.

Prosecutor: How old were you during the liberation war?

Witness: Then I was above 15 years old.

Prosecutor: What is your educational qualification?

Witness: I am a graduate. In 1971 I was a student of class-10 of Westend High School of Azimpur, Dhaka. Now I am a musician, composer, music director.

Prosecutor: Please state the incidents of 1971 which you have witnessed.

Witness: I was very courageous in my childhood. You the people who have witnessed the 26th March, 1971 you could realize the incident of that day. I can still remember the curfew which was relaxed for some hours on that very day. At that time I have moved out by riding my bicycle. At first I have gone to the Dhaka Medical College, then at Polashi Fire Service, then at the field and the area of Rokeya Hall of the Dhaka University and then I have gone at the area of British Council. I have roamed all those areas and saw an uncountable number of corpses which you all used to see by the photographs taken on that time.

Then I have decided that I have to take revenge for the heinous genocide over the history of this earth. On the afternoon of 27th March, 1971 I have forcefully entered the house of a Bihari man and snatched his gun and then formed a mini team and then told my fellows that we need more arms. By making one of our friends whose name was Sajib as our team leader we have snatched some other guns from the houses of some other Biharis, and then formed the first team of liberation war at the Zingira area. You might hear that the Pakistan armies have attacked our team at Zingira; we were not strong enough to resist against the strong attack of Pakistan Army. We have changed the location and moved towards the area Koita of Zingira. From there we all have thrown our guns into the river Burigonga and returned to Dhaka. Then we have taken the decision that we need heavy arms to fight against the Pakistan Armies. Then we have fled away to several areas. When I had returned home, then I came to know from my mother that my elder brother Iftekhar Uddin Ahmed Tultul (now dead) was participating in the liberation war. He has gone to take part on 27th March, 1971. From then I had cherished a dream that when I will get the chance to get close to my brother after his return, I’ll request him to give me a lesson in operating Arms and then I would be able to take part in liberation war. I have met my brother in May. I have requested him to take me with him. He was a member of a crack platoon and Mofajjol Hossain Maya was their Commander. I have participated in a big operation with my brother. We have desired to blow away the office of the head mistress of the Azimpur Girl’s High School, to stop the SSC examination, but we have no plan to kill her. So, we have set a dynamite at that office. But we could not charge the dynamite because some students have arrived at the place that time. Afterwards I have requested my brother to give me some dynamits. My brother gave three dynamites to me, Mahbub and Sarwar. It was the middle of the July when I and Sarwar (now dead) have thrown two of those dynamites over the three Vehicles of Pakistan Army from 20 feet away from the first gate of New Market. I don’t know the number of injured or dead if any from that attack. It was the incident of July.

On the first of August I, Manik and Khoka have gone towards India and returned to Dhaka after being trained from the Melaghor of Agortola. Then we have joined the Sajib force and started working at the Lalbag area. Our platoon was known as Y (Youth) platoon. When I, Mahbub, Manik and Khoka were preparing to go towards India on 29th we have been arrested by the Pakistan Armies and the Razakars at the Tontor Check post of Brahmonbaria district. After being arrested we have been interrogated for nearly about an hour, and we were repeatedly replying that we are not freedom fighters. They have started severe torture on us. After torturing us for almost 3 hours continuously they took off the clothes from our body - we were only wearing underwear at that time. One of the Subedar Majors has directed to shoot us. According to his direction one of the Imam has been called from the nearby Mosque. Our bodies have been washed by hot water. We were made to read the religious verses. Then we were blindfolded. But though we were blindfolded we could see 3 soliders were setting the machine guns or something like that towards us. We were counting the hours to embrace the coldness of death. Suddenly a wireless rang. We were clearly hearing from the direction of the wireless that- ‘Take the freedom fighters here.’ Then we were taken by placing us on the floor of the Bus to the Brahmonbaria Headquarter in our clothless state. It took almost 5 hours to reach the place. After that we have been separated. I have been forced to enter a room. Then I have seen that- a Captain named Captain Ali Reza is sitting. He has no hair in his head and he also didn’t have teeth in his front part of the jaw. At first he has used slang languages over me. Then he has asked my name. I replied my name in English. Then he has asked, ‘Are you educated?’ I replied, ‘Yes’. Then he has asked, ‘Being an educated boy how could you think that you will win the race against the largest Pakistan Army?’ Then I have replied, ‘Sir you are not now in no ranking; you will get ranking whatever we would give you. Then he has asked me about the fear of death. Then I have rebuked him. In return he has also admonished me by saying he will ‘see all of us’. Then we have been sent to the Brahmonbaria Prison. After entering the prison we have een there were several prisoners of our age who might also be students. Then we have started introducing each other. Among those following are the names of the people who were very much close to us there; namely: Martyr Najrul, Martyr Kamal, who was of my age, his father Martyr Siru Mia, Baten of Kumilla, Safiuddin and many others.

Zeyad Al Malum: See this photograph. Can you can identify the above mentioned Siru Mia and najrul from here. [Handing over the photograph]

Witness: Yes the material exhibit- 496 contains their image.

Approximately there were 55 prisoners imprisoned in that Prison. Siru Mia, Kamal and Najrul have been caught from the Tontor check post of Brahmonbaria two days before our arrest. On the next day we have been produced in the Peace Committee Office of Brahmanbaria which was known as the house of Dana Mia for the purpose of interrogation. At first we have watched the treacherous Peyara Mia. I will never forget his slang words and brutal torture till the last day of my life. After torturing me at the Peace Committee Office for long time when I was remaining silent then he has sent me to the Army Cell Office. Lieutenant Iftekhar has interrogated me there. I have again been tortured there. In this way, we the imprisoned 50 people were being tortured two times in a day. The first round of torture used to start at the Peace Committee Office and the second round of torture was conducted at the Army Cell Office. The bloods of our bodies didn’t get the chance to get dry.

I have been also given a duty to perform, that is to work as an interpreter of the Armies. Martyr Najrul was then a student of the University of Dhaka. It was a day when I have told him to flee away. Then he has started beating me, and I responded by saying that, “the freedom fighters have never learnt how to flee away. The day will come when the other fellow freedom fighters will come to receive us from here with garlands.” We used to pray our prayers behind Najrul. He used to distribute the Iftaris [the foods to break the fasting in the month of Ramadan] among us. He was our leader. On the evening of Eid-ul-Fitr suddenly the door of the Brahmonbaria Prison had been opened with a huge sound. The Pakistan soliders entered the Prison and started shouting- ‘Line up, Line up.’ We were accustomed with that term. We have started coming out from the gate of the Prison and started sitting on the floor by maintaining line. We have seen Captain Ali Reja and Captain Iftekhar were there. After som etime we have seen Brigadier Saidullah was there. Then we have watched Peyara Mia with a number of Razakars. Captain Ali Reja has started lining up each of the imprisoned men by pointing his finger on them. Almost 43 people have been lined up except me. Then I was thinking that I might be the only one from the group to be killed. I have asked Brigadier Saidullah whether they are going to kill me or the lined up people. Then he has taken my hand over his hand and started replying- ‘Do you know how holy the day is?’ I have replied- ‘Yes, I know.’ Then he has said- ‘Nothing to fear. If anyone has been killed in this holy day he will directly been sent to the Almighty Allah.’ Then I have asked, ‘Are you going to kill these 43 people?’ He has replied yes with a smiling face. Then I have asked another question, ‘Manik, Mahbub and Khoka were with me, please keep them with me as you are going to kill me also’. Then he said ‘Yes, you will also been killed, but after two days as you have been caught two days after these prisoners.’ Then I have replied- ‘My fellows have also been captured after two days.’ Then my three fellows were separated from the others and we all have been placed altogether. Then I have gone to Najrul and asked, ‘brother, you have not give us the permission to flee away.’ After looking at my face for a while he has replied, ‘Please give my Lungi (cloth) to my mother.’ And then by pointing at a small part of his consumed cigarette he has also requested me to give that to his mother. Kamal’s father Siru Mia was crying from his heart for a long time by saying, ‘there is no one left for your mother’. Then Kamal has pushed and dropped his father over the floor by saying me, ‘Bulbul, if any day you’d see any mad woman at the road, consider that she is my mother.’ Najrul was telling that, ‘If you see any Pakistan solider at the road just fire him.’ Mr. Baten of Kumilla had given his shawl to me and I have started removing the drops of tears from everyone’s eyes using that shawl. Then they have been taken away and we have again been imprisoned at the cell. Then we came to know that they have all been killed at the place named Poirotola and as far as I know one of them has been freed from the Jail gate. After two days of that very day I, Mahbub, Khoka and Manik have been taken to the Torture Cell of Dana Mia and been brutally tortured and on that night we were able to flee away from the cell with our lives. From there we have taken shelter at the house of Mahbub’s sister. They have bathed us with milk. On the next day we have started towards Dhaka. I have met my mother at Azimpur and resides at our house on that night. Unfortunately the Pakistan Armies surrounded our house on that night and again I have been arrested. Then they have taken me to the MP Hostel. I was again been brutally tortured there for 7 days. At that time I lost conciousness and, when I have come to my sense I have seen that I was at Ramna Police Station. I had no skin at my back and on my leg after the brutal torture. I have watched 84 prisoners at the Ramna Police Station. Noteworthy was the prisoner Mirajuddin who was the Pakistan Champion Pole-vaulter. Miraj bhai healed me. The Pakistan Armies had interviewed Mirajuddin by forcing him to say that the liberation force has been made by the Indian force; actually there is no liberation force. The Pakistan Armies have promised Mirajuddin that they would free him. But afterwards he has been taken to the Rayerbazar and been killed and so got the final ticket of being free from life. Each day 7 people were being killed from the Ramna police Station and a vehicle regularly used to come to take the people from the Police Station. When the number of prisoners decreased to the number 14 from the number of 84 then the attack of joint forces started. After the attack the vehicle has never return to take any prisoner. The country has been liberated on 16th December, 1971 and I became freed on 17th December, 1971.

Afterwards many of the relatives of the martyrs have communicated with me. On 2008 when I was recalling this chapter of liberation war in a Television interview, the wife of Siru Mia alias the mother of Kamal named Anwara has communicated me over phone. We did not have any detailed discussion. I have narrated the incident to her like the same manner by which one can narrate the brutal story to a widow or a mother of a martyr.

Zeyad Al Malum: Did the Investigation Officer record your statement?
Witness: Yes. 
The tribunal was adjourned for lunch. Afterwards, the defence lawyer, Mizanul Islam, then cross examined the witness.
Defence: Air attack by aligned force occurred on 4 December 1971, is that right?

Witness: I am not sure.

Defence: How many days before your liberty, did the air attack occurr?

Witness: 5 or 6 days before.

Defence: Did you flee away from Brahmanbaria on 25/26 November?

Witness: I don’t remember.

Defence: In which unit of freedom fighter association were you a member?

Witness: I am not a member of any freedom fighter association. But I have my name registered as a freedom fighter.

Defence: In your deposition you said that, ‘In the year of 2008 I told my history to the Television then the wife of Siru Miah (who was a police officer and who was killed in 1971 with his son) talked to me over telephone. Later on I came to know her name. Her name is Anowara Begum (PW-13 on this case). Then I told her about his late husband and son.’ Did you tell this to the Investigation Officer?

Witness: No, I didn’t.

Defence: You gave false evidence.

Witness: It’s not true.
This was the end of cross examination of Ahmed Imtiaz Bulbul.

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