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Dhaka Tribune

Witness: Azhar aided Pakistani Army in atrocities

Update : 18 May 2014, 09:16 PM

A new prosecution witness against Jamaat leader ATM Azharul Islam, the alleged al-Badr commander of Rangpur during the 1971 Liberation War, yesterday claimed that the accused had masterminded the atrocities in the district.

Lawyer Rathish Chandra Bhowmick told the International Crimes Tribunal 1 that his father Dinesh Chandra Bhowmick, a homeopathy physician, and an uncle had been abducted in front of his eyes. But they somehow managed to escape a firing squad.

The witness claimed that his father had seen 10 others at the Rangpur Cantonment including Moharram, Khurram, Dulal, Khitish Halder, income tax officer ABY Mahfuz Gorge, Durgadas Adhikari and his son Uttam Adhikari. They were later killed at Dakhiganj Shashan (cremation ground).

“On March 27 of 1971, the Pakistani Army along with their local collaborators came to our house and asked for my father. I was 13 years’ old during the incident. The troops also took away my uncle Shanti Chaki,” Rathish said.

“On April 3, we heard sound of continuous firing from the cremation ground. Gopalbabu from Robertsonganj came to our house that night. He told us to leave the place immediately. To ensure the security our family, we went to Ajanta village that night.

“Before that, we tried to get information about my father and uncle, but failed.”

The witness said he had met his father after a month when they were in Jalpaiguri in India.

According to Dinesh, the people confined in the cantonment had been brutally tortured every day from March 27 to April 3 by the troops and the accused, who was a leader of Islami Chhatra Sangha, members of which formed the al-Badr force.

On April 3, the Pakistani Army men and their cohorts had taken 11 of them – blindfolded and hands tied to their backs to the Dakhiganj Shashan. “When they reached the spot, the army men started firing. Eight bullets hit my father through the body of Mahfuz Gorge. And that wounded my father,without killing him, whereas the 10 others were killed on the spot,” the witness said. 

When his father managed to escape the place, Zafar Ali, chief chemist at Albert Lab, gave him first aid. Later he left the country and was admitted to Koch Bihar Hospital.

After his deposition, the defence counsel started their questioning of the witness but the tribunal adjourned the trial until today rendering it incomplete.

The Jamaat leader was indicted on November 12 last year on six charges of crimes against humanity including genocide during the war.

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