Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following case:
- Chief Prosecutor vs. AKM Yusuf
Due to ongoing unrest and blockades, our researcher was unable to be physically present in court this day. Accordingly, our coverage was compiled from direct communication with the Tribunal and the Parties to the proceedings.
ICT-2 was scheduled to record the cross-examination of PW-13 in the case against AKM Yusuf. However, junior defense counsel, Mr. Gazi M H Tamim informed the tribunal that the senior counsel, Mr. Syed Mizanur Rahman, could not appear in court due to the hartal. The Tribunal elected to close the cross-examination of the witness, because junior defense counsel confirmed that he would be unable to proceed with the cross-examination in the absence of his senior counsel.
The Tribunal then proceeded to record the examination-in-chief of PW-14. The Court fixed 3 December 2013 for recording the cross-examination of this witness. The Bench emphasized that, if the Defense chose to continue their absence on hartal and blockade days, the Court would continue in their absence, rather than sit idle. As it had done with PW-12 and PW-13, the Court would simply close the cross-examination of PW-14 and proceed to the next witnesses if Defense chose not to be present to conduct the questioning.
The witness is the son of Late Anil Kumar Mistri. He stated that on 19 April 1971, it was announced from the loudspeaker of Rampal College Auditorium that a meeting of Peace Committee was going to be held at 3 pm. The witness, along with his uncle, went to meeting, where he saw close to 400 people in attendance. One machinery vessel (locally known as “launch”) from Bagherhat came to the Rampal Terminal. Approximately 40 men came out of the launch and were shouting the “Naraye Takbir” slogan.
The witness further stated that Rajab Ali Fakir and Moslem Doctor delivered speeches in that meeting. Moslem Doctor, who somewhat mumbled, said to loot the Malauns (inappropriate terminology to refer to the Hindu community.) He said that this country is Pakistan and not the country of Malauns. He directed members to snatch away and enjoy the women and belongings of Malauns. The crowd broke out with loud slogans. Terrified the witness went back to his house with his uncle. Upon their return, his uncle asked everyone in their household to come out of the house. At one point, all of them went on to hide under the staircase. While they were hiding, members of the Rajakar forces looted the fixtures and other belongings from their house. The Rajakars also looted cash and jewelry out of four iron vaults inside the house.
That evening, the witness and others got out from under the staircase and went to the house of Chairman Akbar. There, they hid for another 2 to 3 days, after which they started for India under the leadership of Chairman Akbar.
The witness further clarified that the mass killing took place in Dakra probably on 19 May 1971. Approximately 7,000 people gathered in Dakra, including the uncle of the witness, Kartik Hawladar. The Rajakars surrounded the entire area and open fired killing approximately 500 people. The witness said that he heard from his father that AKM Yusuf lead this mass killing.
At the end of the testimony, the Tribunal asked the witness about his age back in 1971. He replied that he was about eight years old. He remembers some incidents, while heard about the others. He further said that he came back from India after staying there for six to seven months.
The witness gave statement to the Investigation Officer on 12 January 2013.
The witness denied the suggestion by the defense counsel that he did not hear from his father about the involvement of AKM Yusuf in the mass killing in Dakra.
(Cross-examination to be continued)