17 June 2013: ICT-2 Daily Summary – Qaiser Investigation, Alim Examination-in-Chief of PW 25

Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:

  1. Investigation of Syed Mohammad Qaisar
  2. Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim

The Prosecution submitted a report about the ongoing investigation against Syed Mohammad Qaisar and requested the suspect’s continued detention. The Tribunal ordered that the suspect remain in custody during the investigation, and set July 18, 2013 as the date for further orders. In the Alim case, the Prosecution conducted the examination-in-chief of Prosecution witness 25, who testified with regard to Charge 4 against Alim.

Chief Prosecutor vs. Syed Mohammad Qaisar
Prosecutor Rana Das Gupta submitted a progress report before the Tribunal, informing the ICT that the investigation is ongoing at full pace. The Prosecutor further submitted that the Accused should be kept in custody until the end of the investigation in order to ensure smooth completion of the investigation process without undue interference. The counsel for the suspect did not oppose the Prosecutor’s submissions. The Tribunal considered the report and ordered that the suspect be kept in custody until the conclusion of the ongoing investigation against him. The Tribunal fixed July 18, 2013, as the date for further orders concerning the suspect. 

Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim
Examination-in-Chief of PW 25
The witness, Ajit Mohand, stated that he was about 10-11 years of age in 1971, and was a student in Grade 5. He used to reside in Koroi Shonapara village of Jaipurhat in 1971. On April 26, 1971, at around 11 am or 12 noon, he was standing beside his plot of land alongside the road that headed towards Kadipur. Suddenly, the witness heard noise coming from Kochipur village, which was adjacent to his village. Soon, he saw that people were running and heading towards the south of Hazi Para. Upon seeing this, the witness rushed back home.

Upon his return home, the witness’s mother informed him that the Pakistani Army had raided the village and killed many, and she therefore advised him to escape with his younger sister Minoty, who was only 2 years old at that time. The witness took Minoty and went to the house of Maolana Jashim Uddin in the south of his village, in Hazipara. Many people, including one Uncle Biswanath were present there. The witness was unable to recall their names. Those gathered there asked Maolana Jashim that why all this unrest was occurring, as Maolana Jashim had previously assured them that nothing unpleasant would happen and that they could live without being affected. Maolana Jashim had earlier told them that he would ensure the security and safety of the Hindu inhabitants of his locality, and he was reminded by Biswanath about this assurance. Maolana Jashim Uddin, who was a follower of Alim, responded by saying that this was nothing, and that some miscreants were creating panic in order to cause Hindu people to leave their homes, and thus give others a chance to loot their households. Uddin advised them to go back to their respective homes.

The witness then stated that those present there did not rely on Maolana Jashim’s words, and went on to hide in a nearby jungle in the east of their village. The witness, however, relied upon Jashim’s words and headed towards his house. On his way back, he heard gunshots again and therefore took shelter in a hole beneath a Shimul tree close to Kayet pond. The witness claimed that he could see everything from there, provided that slightly got out of the hole.

From the hole beneath the tree, the witness saw people from the Devnath clan from Jugipara running towards the jungle. He then saw Younus Ali Mandol from Chokpara, Rashid from Khumari village and many others holding sticks and hashoas (a type of knife) and chasing those who were attempting to escape. The chasers scolded and abused the people attempting to run, telling them to never vote for the Boat (mark of Awami League) again. The witness then saw that the people were taken to a field between his village and Chokpara. The witness then changed location and took shelter in a Bokul tree beside Kayet pond, from where he saw that a 90-91 year old man named Kanchi Mohand (whom the witness referred to as Dadu, meaning grandfather) was being dragged by Dr Rahim Uddin, a follower of Alim.

The witness then went back to Kayet para pond, where he saw his mother, aunt and others hiding in the bush and trees. They suggested to the witness that he try to escape. The witness then went to Chokpara field, to a graveyard situated some 200-250 yards east of the field where people were being brought and killed. The witness testified that a firing noise was coming from that direction. After some time, around 1 pm, a Muslim woman who sensed that the witness was hiding there came near him and asked him not to come out from the graveyard, since everyone was being brutally killed by the Pakistani Army. She also said that Dadu had been slaughtered by Dr. Rahim Uddin.

The witness remained in hiding until 5 pm in the afternoon, and then went to the Chokpara field. There he saw some 26-27 dead bodies, and identified those of Noni Devnath, Laxman Devnath, Gopen Devnath, and many others. Then he saw the dead body of his Dadu 20-25 yards away with his throat cut. At this point in his testimony, the witness started to weep, and said that he still remembers that horrific scene. The witness stated that he then set off for his home.

On his way back home, he heard that one Osshini Devnath had been buried alive near a small pond, locally referred to as gari. He heard this from victim Osshini’s mother. After reaching home at that night, Azgor’s mother from Chokpara village came to the witness’s house, and took everyone to her house for shelter. At midnight, her son Abdur Rahim (now deceased) came to accompany them on their passage to India. He stated that Abdul Alim had conspired to cause all of these incidents.

After their return from India following the liberation of Bangladesh, the witness found nothing in their household. He went to those who allegedly took their things, and was informed that Alim required all looted things to be submitted to his men. The witness then positively identified the accused in the dock.