Today the Tribunal heard matters in the following cases:
- Chief Prosecutor vs. Abdul Alim
Defense counsel Hena conducted the cross-examination of Prosecution Witness 26 in the Alim case, who had testified in his examination-in-chief before the Tribunal yesterday, June 29. Defense counsel mainly directed his line of questioning towards the credibility of the witness, suggesting that the testimony of the witness was maliciously fabricated with the support of the Prosecution.
Cross Examination of PW 26
The witness, Jogen Chandra Pal, stated that Jugipara is not in the east of Palpara, but instead in the south-east of Palpara. The witness stated that Kolipara is a Muslim area, and that it is not true that Palpara and Jugipara are both Hindupara. The witness was not sure about the number of Muslim families who resided in Kolipara in 1971. He stated that there were approximately 40-50 Muslim houses. He also said that Shonarpara is not in the north of Palpara, and that part of the Dom pond, the alleged site of the incident in question, was in Koroi village and part of it was in Kadipur village. The witness testified that Koroi Kadipur had no school in 1971. He also stated that there was no road to the south of the Dom pond but an open field, and that no suitable road for vehicles exited on the east side of the pond as well.
In reply to a question from Defense counsel, the witness stated that he does not know whether Alim was a reputable lawyer in 1971 or not. He does not also know if there was a Hindu area in Turipara beside Alim’s house. He does not remember the date when the Pakistani Army entered Jaipurhat area or who the Secretary of the Peace Committee in Jaipurhat was at that time. He is also unable to recall the name of the President or Secretary of the Peace Committee in his own local area or the name of his local Union Parishad Chairman or ward Member.
On the day of the alleged incident, the witness’s mother and sisters were in his house. The witness stated that Ajit Mohond, Prosecution witness 25, had his house to the east of his house, around 200-300 yards away. In reply to a question posed by the Defense, the witness stated that the flag he claimed to have seen was on green cloth. He does not remember if the same flag was present in all schools or offices at that time. The witness stated that he does not know if it is currently present in Mazar or Dorga (graveyards of Islamic preachers, where flags with the moon and star are commonly seen). He also stated that he had not heard about the Zaker Party (a Bangladeshi political party that has a flag with the moon and star as its party flag).
The witness said that there was no one with him in the place where he was hiding, and that it was a jungle. He did not show the site to the Investigation Officer. The witness stated that the people who told the witness that the looted materials were taken to Alim’s rice mill are now deceased. The witness then said that he does not remember whether Alim was a lawyer or ever owned a rice mill. The witness recalled that there were about 30-35 houses belonging to Hindus in his area in the Koroi Palpara village, and that the nearby Rajbongshi village also had 25-30 Hindu houses. The Investigation Officer did visit the Dom pond. The witness then denied giving an interview to the War Crimes Fact Finding Committee.
The witness further stated that Krishna “Doctor”, Shibu Tormuja’s parents and siblings, and many others are now dead, while the rest currently live in India. The witness said that he did not file any case after independence. He went to India via the Shiala border and returned to Bangladesh through the Hili border.
The Defense counsel then noted that the witness had not recounted much of the testimony he gave before the Tribunal to the IO during the investigation phase. The witness stated that he does not remember whether Alim was the president of the Peace Committee in Jaipurhat. He contradicted himself by also saying that it is not true that Alim was not the President of Peace Committee.
Agreeing with the suggestion of the Defense counsel, the witness said that it is true that there was no jungle in his village, but that there were some bushes. He said that it is not true that there was no graveyard.
Finally, the Defense counsel suggested that the witness was only saying what the Prosecution had asked him to say. The Defense argued that the witness was giving fabricated evidence. The witness denied all such suggestions put forward to him.