Sunday, February 17, 2013

29 Jul 2012: Molla 5th prosecution witness

Tribunal 2

Defense Counsel (Abdur Razzak): My Lord, we prayed for the transfer of our client from Gazipur to Dhaka Central Jail.

Prosecution: My Lord, there was a contact with Dhaka Central Jail. They said there are some administrative problems regarding this transfer. They still apprehend that there may be repetition of some earlier problems.

Defense Counsel (Abdur Razzak): My Lord, we said earlier, this is a specific case relating to a specific necessity. So, the apprehension is baseless and the transfer is for the interest of justice.

Justice (Chairman): We gave the duty about this issue to the prosecution. Now we will look into this.

Defense Counsel (Tajul Islam): My Lord, the prosecution always gives the names of four of five witnesses but at last brings any one of them. Now it is tough for us to take preparation for the examination of all of the witnesses. Another matter is that, because of the age and health of our senior counsel (Ekramul Haque), we have appointed an additional one – Abdus Sobhan Khandokar. He has been appointed but today isn’t presented. So, please take the chief today and take the cross next day.

All the Justices opposed that proposal saying that this is not a ‘cricket match’.

The fifth prosecution witness, Khandokar Abul Ahsan then came to give evidence in the trial of Mollah. The prosecution lawyer was Mohammad Ali. This followed on from the previous witness.
Prosecution: What is your name?

Witness: My name is Khandokar Abul Ahsan.

Prosecution: What is your father’s name?

Witness: Martyr Khandokar Abu Taleb.

Prosecution: What is your occupation?

Witness: I am a Government officer.

Prosecution: What did you do at the time of Liberation War?

Witness: I was a student of class–IX of Shah Ali Academy High School, Mirpur–1.

Prosecution: Where did you live at that time?

Witness: I lived along with my parents at Plot–13, Road–2, Block–B, Sec–10 of Mirpur Housing State, Dhaka.

Prosecution: What was your father’s occupation?

Witness: My father was a journalist, writer and advocate.

Prosecution: Where did he practice journalism?

Witness: He was a journalist of Weekly Ittehad, Daily Azad, Daily Sambad, Daily Ittefaq, The Morning News and The Observer in different times. He was a part time journalist of the magazine Poygam. In 1961 – 62, he was the secretary of former East Pakistan Journalist Union.

Prosecution: What was his main theme of writings?

Witness: He believed on the nationalism of Bengalis and he wrote about the liberation of Bengalis.

Prosecution: Tell us about the election of 1970?

Witness: In the election of 1970, advocate Jahir Uddin was the candidate of Awami League in Mirpur area. His opposition was Golam Azam containing the symbol of ‘Dari Palla’. In that election, Abdul Qudaer Mollah worked and canvassed in favor of Golam Azam.

Prosecution: What did your father support?

Witness: My father didn’t directly support Awami League but as he was the believer of Bengali nationalism, he worked for the symbol of ‘Nawka’ in the election of 1970.

Prosecution: What was the result of that election?

Witness: Because of the mass winning of Awami League, the defeated party executed mass killing at Mirpur after 25th March, 1971 under the leadership of Quader Mollah.

Prosecution: When did you leave Mirpur?

Witness: 23rd March was the Pakistan Day. Ignoring that day, ‘Swadhin Bangla Chattra Sangram Porishad’ observed Black Day in protest of the mass killing of the Pakistani Army at different parts of Bangladesh. And they flew black flags and flags of Bangladesh containing map inside.

Prosecution: What happened in Mirpur?

Witness: In Bangla School of Mirpur–10, the flag of Pakistan was brought down and to observe the Black Day the, black flag was flown. Flags of Bangladesh containing map inside were half flown.

Prosecution: Who was the Head of that school?

Witness: Mr. Saiyed Kaiyum was the Head. At 12.01 am, the program of PTV was closed by broadcasting the song ‘Amar Shonar Bangla’. Mr. Kaiyum was in our home at that time. His house was at C Block, Mirpur–10.

Prosecution: What happened to him?

Witness: At 2.00 or 3.00 am, 3 or 4 people attacked Mr. Kaiyum’s home by breaking the door. ‘Why did you fly the flags?’ Telling this they used slang words against him and attacked him rudely by knife. He fled away from home and stumbled on the way. One Bengali took him and brought him to our home.

We brought a Bengali doctor to give him primary treatment from the present Radda Barnen Hospital of Mirpur, which was the former Government outdoor clinic. Doctor bandaged his whole body and said to bring him Dhaka Medical College next morning. Accordingly, my father took Kaiyum Sir to Dhaka Medical College Hospital next morning. After admitting him, my father met Bangabandhu physically and explained about the situation of Mirpur. Bangabandhu telephoned EPR to deploy the members of EPR at Mirpur then and then and told my father to stay at Mirpur.

Prosecution: Then what happened?

Witness: My mother was mentally shocked by watching the situation of Kaiyum Sir. After that, by keeping father at Mirpur, we went to my aunt’s home at Shantinagar.

Prosecution: Who else were at the home of Mirpur?

Witness: Along with my father, there were 7/8 persons including our neighbors at our home of Mirpur. Coming Shantinagar, Father informed us, tension spread over Mirpur, excitements among Biharis increased.

Prosecution: Then?

Witness: Then Crack Down happened in 25th March, 1971. At 27th March, curfew was stopped for a short time. My father was a part-time feature editor of Paygam magazine at that time. He worked at an Advocates’ Firm named BNR. He heard from there that the Ittefaq office had been burnt. He went to see that. After reaching there, he saw a few dead bodies.

Prosecution: Then?

Witness: On 29th March, father said he would go Mirpur to bring his car and money. While he was going to the Advocates’ Firm, he met the former non-Bengali chief accountant of the Daily Ittefaq – Abdul Halim on the way. He took father in his car and brought him to Mirpur and transferred him to Abdul Quader Mollah. After that, my father was brought to the butchery of Mirpur–10 and was killed by knife brutally. There were Akhter Mollah and some other non-Bengalis with Quader Mollah. (The witness became emotional and cried out).

Prosecution: Then what happened?

Witness: After father’s death, we had no place to live; we had no way of earning. My mother became completely mad. My elder brother also started to lose mental balance. At that situation, we all went to Bewra village of Pubail and took shelter in home of a known person. Then I started to ferry tea from Chawkbazar, Dhaka.

Prosecution: Then what happened?

Witness: At that time, I was going towards Chawkbazar one day and on the way I met our non-Bengali driver Nizam, whose home was at Mirpur–10. I came to know from him that, the members of the defeated party of election at Mirpur including Akhter Gunda, Abdullah and many other Biharis occurred mass killing in the leadership of Quader Mollah. Even Bengalis were brought from Gabtali Bus Stand and Technical area to the slaughter houses of Shialbari, Muslim Bazar and other butcheries and killed brutally. Thousands of Bengalis were killed thus at that time by them.

Prosecution: Can you identify Quader Mollah, whose name you have uttered?

Witness: I didn’t see him directly but watched his pictures at newspapers or TV.

Prosecution: You have come today. What do you want from this tribunal?

Witness: My mother couldn’t see the justice of the mass genocide occurred in this land in 1971 during her lifetime. As a member of the family of martyr intellectual, I wished to see the exemplary punishment of the accused. (The witness became emotional).

Prosecution: Now the learned defense advocate will examine you. After listening and understanding his questions, you will answer them.

Ekramul Haque, the defnce lawyer then started the cross examination

Defence: You said in your statement that, in 1971, you were a student of class–IX of Shah Ali Academy High School, Mirpur–1. How old were you at that time?

Witness: About 13/14 years old.

Defence: What is your date of birth?

Witness: 15-02-1957.

Defence: Have you brought any identity card?

Witness: Yes, I have brought my official identity card. (He showed the card to the tribunal.)

Defence: Which office issued this card?

Witness: The Defense Ministry.

Defence: In which position do you work there?

Witness: I am an Assistant Director of Cantonment Executor Office.

Defence: In which year did you get this job?

Witness: In 1977.

Defence: Do you live at the home of Mirpur allotted in your father’s name till now?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Who are living at that house now?

Witness: My family and my one sister.

Defence: Don’t you have any brother?

Witness: I had an elder brother, but he is not alive.

Defence: How many members are living at that home?

Witness: Seven members.

Defence: Where do the children of your elder brother live?

Witness: My elder brother has one daughter. She lives with her husband and family in front of our house. Her mother sometimes lives with her and sometimes with us.

Defence: Have you brought any documents indicating that your father was a journalist, writer or advocate? Have you given any of them to the investigation officer?

Witness: I have given some documents to investigation officer. I have also brought some documents here, but left those at the prosecutor’s office. At this moment, those documents are not with me. As my father was a martyr of Liberation War, Shahid Abu Taleb High School of Mirpur was built in the name of my father. My father’s name is included in the name plate of Martyr Journalist’s at National Press Club; his name is also included in the name plate of Martyr’s of Dhaka Lawyers’ Association. There is a Gallery in National Museum and like other martyrs; stamp ticket was published in my father’s name as a souvenir.

Defence: Do you have any information about whether there is/was any publications of any newspaper or magazine regarding those?

Judge (Shahinur Islam): Do you have any dispute regarding that his father was a martyr? If the issues were reasonably disputable then you would ask these types of questions. He can’t show you the name plates pulling them out from the respective areas.

Defence: I want to him to say, whether the investigation officers seized any of such documents, newspapers or magazines from you?

Witness: They saw, but didn’t seize. I’ve brought them today, but at this moment those are not with me.

Defence: You said, your father was a journalist of Weekly Ittehad, Daily Azad, Daily Sambad, Daily Ittefaq, The Morning News and The Observer in different times. He was a part time journalist of the magazine Poygam also. Can you show any document indicating that whether your father was a member of Journalists’ Association or not?

Witness: No, I’ve no such documents. Besides, our home was burnt.

Defence: You told, in 1961–62, your father was the secretary of former East Pakistan Journalist Union. Can you show any document regarding this statement?

Witness: No documents regarding the statements are now with me.

Defence: In the election of 1970, advocate Jahir Uddin, who was the candidate of Awami League in Mirpur area, was a non-Bengali. Am I correct?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: Had he won the election of that area?

Witness: Yes.

Defence: How many polling centers were there in Mirpur area?

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: Were you the supporter of Bangabandhu?

Witness: Except 2 or 3 percent, the whole Bangladesh was then the supporter of Bangabandhu.

Defence: How many centers of election canvassing were there surrounding your home?

Witness: I don’t know, and I was not voter at that time.

Defence: You mentioned about the mass killing of 25th March, 1971. Whether that incident was of day or night?

Witness: After midnight of 25th March, that means upcoming morning of 26th March.

Justice (Obaidul Hassan): Mr. Defense Counsel, the whole world knows, when that incident happened.

Defence: Where were you at that night?

Witness: At the time of mass killing of 25th March, 1971, I was at my aunt’s home in Shantinagar.

Defence: When did you come at your aunt’s home of Shantinagar?

Witness: At afternoon of 24th March, along with my mother and other family members we came to my aunt’s home.

Defence: How long did you stay in your aunt’s home?

Witness: Till 29th March, 1971.

Defence: What is your uncle’s name?

Witness: Late Sheikh Habibul Haque.

Defence: Is your aunt alive now?

Witness: Yes, she is alive.

Defence: What is her name?

Witness: Hosne Ara Haque.

Defence: What are the names of the companions of your father who were with him of your home of Mirpur on 24th March?

Witness: I only knew the neighbors named Shahjahan and Tajul who were killed by burning at our home. I don’t know the other companions.

Defence: You didn’t watch the killing of Shahjahan and Tajul by burning with your own eyes. From whom did you hear the news?

Witness: I came to know about that news from Tantu Mia.

Defence: In which dates was this incident?

Witness: on 26th, at 10 or 11 am.

Defence: Whether Tantu Mia is alive or dead?

Witness: He is alive; most probably he is now staying at his village home in Faridpur.

Defence: How old is he?

Witness: 60+

Defence: Do you know his father’s name?

Witness: No.

Defence: When and where did Tantu Mia tell you about that incident?

Witness: After liberation. Date and place is not remembered.

Defence: What was the house no. of Tantu Mia?

Witness: He lived in his relative Hannan Mia’s home.

Prosecution: Time is being killing by asking these types of questions, my Lord.

Defence: Was he staying as student, lodging or paying guest with Mr. Hannan?

Witness: To assist in the work of contracture of Mr. Hannan, Tantu Mia stayed at his home.

Defence: You didn’t tell to the investigation officer regarding the killing of Shahjahan and Tajul and about the information given by Tantu Mia.

Witness: I’ve told these.

Defence: When did you go to the home of Mirpur after the liberation of Bangladesh?

Witness: In 1973.

Defence: On which date?

Witness: I can’t remember the date.

Defence: What did you see after reaching home?

Witness: There was nothing in my home. Everything was burnt and the house was taken over.

Defence: Why was it taken over?

Witness: The Biharies set up weaving there.

Defence: Did you know which Bihari set up weaving there?

Witness: No.

Defence: Whether you went there alone or with anybody?

Witness: I, along with my elder brother late Khandakar Abul Hasan went there.

Defence: Was anybody there in the nearby houses?

Witness: Some persons were in 2/4 houses.

Defence: Can you tell their names?

Witness: I can remember Hannan Gazi and Safa Matbar.

Defence: Is Safa Matbar alive now?

Witness: No, he is dead. His sons or daughters may be alive.

Defence: Did you enter the house after asking them?

Witness: Whom would I ask to enter my own home!

Defence: Are you staying there from that day to now?

Witness: No, at that day we stayed there for 2/3 hours. We returned before dusk as Mirpur was not safe yet.

Defence: When did you go next time to make it suitable to live in?

Witness: To make the house suitable to live in, I used to go there once in a week, couple of weeks or month.

Defence: After making the house suitable to live in, in which day you shifted there with your family?

Witness: End of 1973.

Defence: You told about the incidents of 23rd March. Did you yourself fly black flags and flags of Bangladesh containing map?

Witness: No, I didn’t do that.

Defence: You said that at 12.01 am, the program of PTV was closed by broadcasting the song ‘Amar Shonar Bangla’and Mr. Kaiyum was in your home at that time. What was the distance between his home and your home?

Witness: His home was at Block-C and mine was at Block-B. It took 10 minutes to reach his home from our home.

Defence: Who lived in the houses surrounding to Mr. Kaiyum?

Witness: Mr. Kaiyum was a tenant. I don’t know, who lived surrounding to him.

Defence: Did he first come there or you?

Witness: He came first.

Defence: How long ago he came?

Witness: I don’t know.

Defence: The 3/4 people who attacked him, whether they were Biharis or Bengalis?

Witness: Both Bengalis and Non-Bengalis.

Defence: In which road did he stumble?

Witness: On about 300 yard eastern side of our home.

Defence: Who lifted him?

Witness: After hearing the noise, a Bengali man named Molla went out from his home and by keeping Mr. Kaiyum, brought him to our home.

Defence: What time was that?

Witness: About 3 am.

Defence: You told about Radda Barnen Hospital. What was the distance of that hospital from your home?

Witness: Maximum 500 to 700 yards.

Defence: Who went to call doctor?

Witness: I.

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