Sunday, February 17, 2013

26 Jul 2012: Mollah 4th prosecution witness, day 2

Tribunal 2

Defense Counsel Abdur Razzak again raised the issue of the transfer of Mollah to the Dhaka Central Jail. The prosecution Mohammad Ali said that he had tried to contact the senior jail superintendant but he had not received his call. The prosecutor Zead Al Malum then said that the four jails- Narayanganj, Kasimpur, Gazipur and Dhaka Central Jail are all are under administrative management of jail authority and are operated according to Jail Code. ‘If there occurs any unjust attitude towards the accused, then the Tribunal may consider the issue of transfer of accused. I am not saying that the Tribunal has no authority in this regard. But the Tribunal has many other important issues and this is nothing but wastage of time.’

Abdur Razzak said that what has happened in other cases is not relevant. This is a specific case. This specific person needs transfer because of his open heart surgery, sciatica, diabetics and many other factors.

The justices then directed the prosecutors to pursue the matter.

The cross examination of the forth prosecution witness (carried on from the previous day) by the lawyer Ekramul Haque then took place.
Defence: You said in your statement that on 25th March, 1971 you fled from you home and also told Meherunnesa to flee from Mirpur. When did you return the home from which were you went?

Witness: In 1972, after independence of Bangladesh.

Defence: In which month?

Witness: After March.

Defence: You said, you lived in house no. 8 of 4th avenue of the block C of Mirpur section – 6. Was that house your own or Government residence?

Witness: That was a Govt. plot allotted in my father’s name as a journalist.

Defence: In which year did your father die?

Witness: In 1966.

Defence: Where?

Witness: At Mirpur.

Defence: Was his burial completed at Mirpur?

Witness: No, we brought the dead body to our village home- Shatkhira and completed the burial there.

Defence: When did you come to the home of Shahjahanpur at Mohammadpur?

Witness: I can’t say the exact date. But I am living there for 7/8 years.

Defence: You told, Meherunnesa was your neighbor. What was the distance between your homes?

Witness: My home was at Block-C and she was at Block-D. It took 10 minutes to reach her home from my home.

Defence: Whether you or Meherunnesa came there first?

Witness: Meherunnesa came first.

Defence: You said, after passing higher secondary in 1967, you admitted in Honors course of Bangla Department of Dhaka University. After completing honors and M.A., you got out from University in 1973.

Defence: Are you the member of the association of poets?

Witness: I am the member of “Jatiyo Kobita Porishod”.

Defence: You participated and got prize in poem recitation and debate from your school life. Am I correct?

Witness: Yes, you are absolutely correct.

Defence: From then, your poet-character started to develop. Wasn’t it?

Witness: Yes, it was.

Defence: When you were the student of University, many of your writings were published in newspapers and magazines. Am I correct?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Your numerous writings have been published and are found in market. Isn’t it?

Witness: Yes, it is.

Defence: All of your writings are inspired by Bengali.

Witness: Certainly.

Defence: For these types of writings, you got opportunity to meet closely with poet Sufiya Kamal and Jahanar Imam.

Witness: Yes, definitely.

[At that moment, an outsider (advocate) whispered to the accused. Watching this, the Judge (Shahinur Islam) became angry and ordered him to leave the Court room.

Defence: And, you were very fond of Sufia Kamal and Jahanara Imam.

Witness: Yes, I was adorable always fond

Defence: Their writings were also dedicated from Bangali inspiration.

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Do you know about the book of ‘Ekattorer Dinguli’ written by Jahanara Imam?

Witness: Yes, I know.

Defence: She pictured in this book the situation of Bengali Muslims in 1971. Is it true?

Witness: Yes, it is true.

Defence: Was your home of Mirpur surrounded by the houses of Biharis?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: There lived many Biharies including Gulzar, Niyaz, Khalil, Jasim, Afzal, Mafiz, Akter, Mukter and Faizur. Is it correct?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: None of them resides Mirpur now. Isn’t it?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: When you returned Mirpur in 1972, was any one of them there?

Witness: I met only Gulzar and another one Bihari whose name I’ve been forgotten. Now they do not reside there.

Defence: You had intimate relationship with Meherunnesa. She was a poet by birth. Wasn’t she?

Witness: Yes, you are absolutely correct. All the times she recited rhymes.

Defence: Did she not get any chance to study in any school, college or University?

Witness: She had not got any formal educational degree. At home, she learnt to read and write from her mother and elder sister.

Defence: By her own motion she learnt to read and write from her elder sister, and applying that lesson she contributed in Bengali poems. Wasn’t it?

Witness: Some of her poems were published. Most of them were published in ‘weekly Begum’.

Defence: Was there any publication in the form of Book?

Witness: No, she couldn’t get opportunity to create a book.

Defence: Was her bad economic condition main reason behind this?

Witness: Her economic condition was a big reason.

Defence: After exiting from University did you join in any job?

Witness: Much later after exiting from University, I joined in a Govt. job.

Defence: What was your rank?

Witness: Assistant Research Officer under the Ministry of Information.

Defence: Did you retire in 2007?

Witness: Last December, 2006.

Defence: Are you the member of “Biswo Kobitakantha Parishad, Bangladesh”?

Witness: I often attend their program, but I am not their member.

Defence: Were you present in the seminar arranged to commemorate 47th death anniversary of Sheikh Russell, where Suranjit Sen Gupta was also present?

Witness: Yes, I was.

Defence: A seminar was held in ‘Muktijuddho Musium’ on 27/5/2009 bearing heading ‘War Crime Victims’. Were you present there and gave speech?

Witness: Yes, I was there and most probably gave speech.

Judge (Shahinur Islam): What is the relevancy behind these questions?

Defence: There is relevancy, my Lord.

Defence: Have you given any statement to any other authority other than this Tribunal?

Witness: I gave statement to investigation officer.

[Prosecutor objected that specific questions are not being asked.]

Defence: How long ago did you give your statement to investigation officer?

Witness: About one month ago.

Defence: How many times investigation officer went to your home?

Witness: Only one time.

Defence: You said in your statement, you formed an Action Committee in Mirpur. You were the President and Meherunnesa was a member. How many members were there?

Witness: About 15.

Defence: You said, sometimes you arranged meetings. Whether those 15 members or any outsiders were present there?

Witness: We arranged meetings with those members.

Defence: Advancement of your meetings was supervised sometimes by Khandakar Abu Taleb, Dr.Mosharraf Hossain, Saifuddin Manik, A.S.M. Abdur Rab and Pangkaj Bhattacharya. Am I correct?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Was there any existence of that Action Committee after Liberation War?

Witness: No, after Liberation War, it had no existence.

Defence: After getting out from home on 25th March, were did you staye in India for some days?

Witness: I was involved with ‘Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra’.

Defence: Were you regularly involved?

Witness: I regularly recited poems.

Defence: After admitted in University, did you stay in Hall?

Witness: No, I used to go University from home. I was attached in Rokeya Hall.

Defence: Who was the VP or GS of Rokeya Hall in 1970/71?

Witness: I can’t remember at this moment. May be Mahfuza apa.

Defence: As you were involved with student politics and formed Action Committee, can you say who competed in the election of 1970 at Mirpur?

Witness: I know only about ‘Daripalla’ and ‘Nouka’ symbol.

Defence: You gave your vote in the election of 1970. Where was your centre of giving vote?

Witness: The polling centre of Mirpur-1.

Defence: How many polling centers were there in Mirpur?

Witness: I can’t remember.

Defence: How many voters were there in Mirpur?

Witness: I can’t remember.

Defence: Were you a polling agent of any polling center?

Witness: No.

Defence: In the center you went to cast vote, who were the polling agents of Awami League or Jamayate Islami?

Witness: I can’t remember.

Defence: Were there any known persons to you?

Witness: I didn’t notice. I just cast my vote and returned.

Defence: When did you enter Bangladesh from ‘Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra’?

Witness: I returned to Bangladesh at the end of January, 1972.

Defence: ‘Swadhin Bangla Betar Kendra’ broadcasted its programs from Kolkata. Its supervisor was Hosen Ali of Bangladesh. Wasn’t it?

Witness: Yes, it was.

Defence: Entering Bangladesh after Liberation War, where did you stay first?

Witness: At my uncle’s home in Gopibagh.

Defence: Taking place in uncle’s home, from whom you heard first about the news of Meherunnesa?

Witness: I heard first about the killing of Meherunnesa on 27th March, 1971. But after returning from Kolkata, from whom I first re-heard about the matter that I can’t remember.

Defence: Where were you staying on 27th March, when you heard about the news of Meherunnesa?

Witness: At my Aunt’s home in Kalabagan.

Defence: From whom did you hear?

Witness: Peoples coming from Mirpur; I can’t remember their name.

Defence: Certainly they were your known people. Are they alive now?

Witness: I’ve no connection with them. I don’t know whether they are alive or not.

Defence: Do you not ever meet them?

Witness: No.

Defence: You were present in the field of Race course to hear the speech of Bangabandhu on 7th March, 1971. How many members of your Action Committee were present there?

Witness: Along with Meher, we about 10 members went there.

Defence: Is any of those 10 members alive now?

Witness: I’ve no communication with them. Some of them may be alive now.

Defence: After returning from Kolkata, did you complain to any newspaper, Thana, Court, Home Ministry or Prime Minister about the incident of Meherunnesa?

Witness: No.

Defence: You expressed many things through your writings about Meherunnesa. Am I correct?

Witness: Yes, you are.

Defence: Were you the member of ‘Gono Todanta Commission’?

Witness: ‘Gono Todanta Commission’ was formed. But I was not its member.

Defence: Was the chairman of ‘Gono Todanta Commission’ Sufia Kamal?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Was it formed on 26th March, 1992?

Witness: I can’t remember the date. But what you’ve told may be true.

Defence: This Commission prepared a report describing the incidents of every day occurred at Dhaka city in 1971. Am I correct?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: There is clearly stated about the inhuman torture on Bangalis by Pak Army and Biharis. Is it true?

Witness: Yes.

Judge (Shahinur Islam): Have you read that report?

Witness: No, I haven’t read. But it is normal.

Judge (Shahinur Islam): By thinking normal, without reading the report are you saying this?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: You’ve described about the incidents of 1971 in your book “Khanikta Golpo Tomar”. Am I correct?

Witness: That was my book of poems. Some descriptions are there in some poems.

Defence: Is the book named “Larai” related to Liberation War?

Witness: No, that book is written completely regarding lunatics.

Defence: Was the book “Shahid Kobi Meherunnesa” written by you?

Witness: Yes, it was a book of prose. I tried to describe about Meherunnesa from her beginning to death, so far as I knew.

Defence: “Amar Piraner Kono Maf Nei” and “Quazi Rozir Kobita”- are these books written by you.

Witness: Yes, these books of poems are written by me.

Defence: Are there any other books written by you?

Witness: Yes, there are.

Defence: You’ve told in your all books about the Bengali inspiration and nationalism except the “Larai”. Am I correct?

Witness: More of less about Bangali inspirations are there.

Defence: Have the investigation officer seized any paper or book from you?

Witness: He took a copy of the book “Shahid Kobi Meherunnesa”

Defence: Don’t mind, I am asking you questions under my professional duty. Were classes of the students of Science Faculty held in Arts Building?

Witness: No.

Defence: My Lord, I am begging humbly, please give me some time to arrange my questions.

Defense Counsel (Tajul Islam): My Lord, we’ve to ask questions regarding these books. We’ve got some documents later.

Prosecutor (Mohammad Ali): Very often they are asking this type of prayer. Yet, there is time. If they have questions, they should continue.

Justice (Obaidul Hassan): This should not be a regular practice. Continue.

Defence: Did you meet or consult with the student leaders when you were the student of Arts Building?

Witness: I met them, but didn’t consult.

Defence: The first protest against the torture of Biharis and Pakistanies was raised from Dhaka University. Wasn’t it?

Witness: Yes, it was.

Defence: In which year?

Witness: From 1968, 69, 70- all the times we were in movement and subsequently, that movement became rapid.

Defence: How many political organizations were in Dhaka University at that time?

Witness: There was Chhatra League, Chhatra Union. I can’t say the number.

Defence: With the call of Bangabandhu, all the students of these student organizations participated in the movement. Wasn’t it?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Do you know about the contents of 6 items declared by Bangabandhu?

Witness: No.

[Prosecutors strongly objected saying that the defense counsel is continuously asking irrelevant questions which is the clear violation of Rule 53.]

Defence: Were you the member of Film Censor Board, Bangladesh?

Witness: I am still a member of Film Censor Board.

Defence: Were you a member of Bangladesh Press Institute?

Witness: No.

Justice (Chairman): If you do not have any other relevant question or preparation, then close your part.

Defense Counsel (Tajul Islam): We’ve enough preparation. We’ve many other important questions to ask.

Justice (Obaidul Hassan): You are continuously asking irrelevant questions. We can’t exceed our discretionary power.

Defense Counsel (Tajul Islam): We are human being my lord. After taking preparation sometimes fault may occur. Please give us 15 minutes.
Prosecutors strongly objected to the prayer of Defense. Justices adjourned the examination till the session of afternoon.
Defence: Do you have your ID card or Passport with you right now? Can you show it in front of the court?

Witness: No.

Prosecutor Mohammad Ali: It is a repeated question.

Justice Obaidul Hassan: No, it is not. Please, don’t disturb him during the cross-examination.

Defence: From your book it is found that in ‘Shaptahik Bortoman Songlap’, a person named Sagor Sagir took your interview. Do you remember about it?

Witness: No, i cannot remember right now.

Defence: I am saying that you have given your interview to Sagor Sagir.

Witness: I already told you that i cannot remember.

Defence: You said in your statement the ‘when i got the news (that my house is going to be raided)’- who gave you that news?

Prosecutor Mohammad Ali: It is a vague question.

Justice Shahinur Haque: Please, we are here to take care of it. Do not interrupt.

Witness: A boy came and told me, ‘Rosy Apa, please go away. Your house will be raided.’

Defence: Did you know that boy?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: You said in your statement that, ‘I sent news to Meher to go away and i was also leaving.’ Who delivered the news to Meher?

Witness: We did a meeting on that day and I sent a boy to go to Meher and give her the news.

Defence: Can you state the name of that boy?

Witness: No.

Defence: You said that you got the news on 27 March, where were you that time?

Witness: I was in my Aunt’s place in Kalabagan.

Defence: Who gave you that news (that Meher was murdered)?

Witness: Many people were leaving the area and on the way to his destination, someone gave me the news. I cannot tell the name.

Defence: What was the time when you got the news? After or before evening?

Witness: It was a bit before evening. The boy called me out of my house, I don’t remember his name.

Defence: You did not tell the I.O. that Abdul Kader Molla along with his companions entered into Meher’s house with white ‘potti’ (a piece of cloth) in their heads.

Witness: I said.

Defence: You did not tell the I.O. that when Meher saw Abdul Kader Molla along with his companions had come to kill her, she held the Holy Quran in her chest yet they slaughtered her.

Witness: Yes, i said.

Defence: You did not tell the I.O. that you wanted to go to Meher’s house after the Independence but you came to know that someone else was living there.

Witness: I said. Whatever i said in my statement, i said everything to the I.O.

Defence: You did not tell the I.O. that Abdul Kader Molla along with his companions cut the head of Meher and hang that with the fan and Meher was fidgeting.

Witness: I said it to the I.O.

Defence: You did not tell the I.O. that you heard this news from Gulzar and another non-bengali person.

Witness: I said.

Defence: You have not seen Abdul Kader Molla enter into Meher’s house.

Witness: I was not there.

Defence: You have not heard anything about Meher’s murder.

Witness: I have heard from Gulzar a non Bengali and a bihari that they had seen it.

Prosecutor Mohammad Ali: My Lord, their framed time 2:00-2:30 is already over.

Defence: When (month/date/day) you saw Abdul Kader Molla for the first time physically?

Witness: I have never talked with him. I may have seen him while moving around Mirpur.

Defence: You have never seen him in any kind of meeting or any other occasion.

Witness: I said that I have not.

Defence: And you did not know him.

Witness: No, I did not. I have to talk to him in order to know him.

Defence: You have not seen Abdul Kader Molla in the voting centre where you gave your vote.

Witness: No, I have not. I left quickly after I had given my vote.

Defence: When did you first heard know or hear about Abdul Kader Molla?

Witness: After the election of 1970, I have heard his name several times.

Defence: When you saw him in that docky and said that was Abdul Kader Mollla, you have seen him before – you lied.

Witness: No, I just said it looked like Abdul Kader Molla.

Defence: From 1970 to now, how many times you have met him?

Witness: I saw him here after 40 years of Independence and it seemed to me that it was Abdul Kader Molla.

Defence: You have never talked with him.

Witness: No.

Defence: He never went to Mirpur and never lived in Mirpur.

Witness: It is not true. May be I have not talked with him.

Defence: Have you heard from anyone that Abdul Kader Molla went to Mirpur for canvassing?

Witness: He canvassed on behalf of Golam Azam but he did not come to my house. I have heard about his canvassing, he must have done it.

Defence: From where did you hear that?

Witness: It was very easy. It was publicly spoken; i cannot remember any name though.

Defence: Abdul Kader Molla was not in Dhaka city from the beginning of March in 1971.

Witness: It is not true.

Defence: There was a local Bihari butcher called Kader Molla and you replaced Abdul Kader Molla’s name with him.

Witness: It is not true. He committed so many crimes; definitely he is no less than a butcher.

Prosecutor Mohammad Ali: My Lord, the volunteer statement of the witness should be recorded about Abdul Kader Molla.

Justice Shahinur Haque: You did not take this in the chief statement.

Defence: Why the honourable prosecution is shouting?

Prosecutor Mohammad Ali: I am not shouting, i am just requesting the tribunal to record her voluntary statement.

Defence: You dedicated your book to martyr Meherunnesa and you did not mention the name of Abdul Kader Molla in that book.

Witness: I was waiting for the right moment and the process of judgement to start. I had few things in my mind like my house was going to be raided and after the Independence i was threatened to death by Abdul Kader Molla’s people etc. For all these reason i did not open my mouth in this long period.

Defence: You mentioned in your book that the liberation war was the fight of Bengali and non-Bengali people – what did you mean by that?

Witness: I did not give his name in the book and i already mentioned the reason. To me there were two groups that time (in 1971) and they were Bengali and non-Bengali people. I did not have the chance to tell that time so i am telling today that Abdul Kader Molla is the murderer of poet Meherunnesa.

Defence: Your book was published in Bangla 1418 and English June, 2011.

Witness: Yes.

Defence: After Abdul Kader Molla was arrested he was shown to you and that is why you said, ‘This is Abdul Kader Molla’.

Witness: No, it is not true. This is impossible!

Defence: You are blind Awami League supporter.

Witness: Of course i support Awami League.

Defence: As Abdul Kader Molla is a strong leader of Jamaat-e-Islam, in order to embarrass him you are accusing him as the witness of the case.

Witness: It is not true.

Defence: When Sheikh Hasina’s govt. was in power in 1996, why did not you file any complain against Abdul Kader Molla?

Witness: Why are you asking me this way? I said I was waiting for the right moment.

Justice Shahinur Haque: Mr Ekramul, why are bringing political issue?

Defence: My Lord, it is connected.

Defence: (To Witness) Whatever you have said against Abdul Kader Molla is a complete lie and you made it up.

Witness: It is totally false.

Defence: In the documentary of Sagar Sagir where you gave your interview, you said all the fact and you have not said the name of Abdul Kader Molla.

Witness: I have not said his name before coming to give witness in this case.

Defence: You are ignoring the fact of the interview because you did not say his name in it.

Witness: No, please don’t try to prove me liar.

Prosecutor Mohammad Ali: My Lord, there are three voluntary statement given by the witness and i want them to be recorded. They are-1. ‘This is that Kader Molla’; 2. ‘I have heard from the people who have seen the murder’; 3. ‘I have heard that Abdul Kader Molla entered into Meher’s house’

Justice A.T.M. Fazle Kabir: Tribunal will not record it right now. The recording is done.

Prosecutor Mohammad Ali: My Lord, I have objection against this decision and i want this objection to be accepted.

Justice A.T.M. Fazle Kabir: Ok.

Witness: I want to thank everyone for giving me chance to come here and give my statement. My request is that the criminals like Abdul Kader Molla should be punished.
Barrister Tajul: My Lord, we want the prosecution to disclose the name of the next witnesses.

Prosecutor Mohammad Ali: My Lord, we cannot disclose the name of the witnesses. Whenever we disclosed the names before, the witnesses had to face many trouble.

Barrister Tajul: My Lord, we need to be prepared and that is why we need the names

Prosecutor Mohammad Ali: My Lord, we will disclose the names later.

Justice A.T.M. Fazle Kabir: Ok.

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