A prosecution witness against war crimes suspect Salauddin Quader Chowdhury said on Sunday the accused was involved in the killing of 40-45 unarmed civilians in Raojan during the Liberation War of 1971.
Chopolarani, 78, the 37th witness, said on the last day of the Bangla calendar, some Pakistani military men came to her house and killed family members, including her father-in-law, and their neighbours. The accused and some local leaders were with the army.
At the ATM Fazle Kabir-led Tribunal 1, she narrated how her family members were killed and how she survived.
“On Chaaitra Sangkranti, the Pakistani army came to our house. We were afraid as they asked us to go with them. They were looking for my brother-in-law Benimadhob. When he came, they asked him to go away and not be afraid,” she said.
“After some time, they called the neighbours to our yard and killed 40-45 unarmed civilians. Then I fell unconscious. After regaining my senses, I found my husband at a Muslim neighbour’s house. Later we hid ourselves in another Muslim home.”
After the deposition, she identified Salauddin Quader.
Then defence counsel Ahsanul Huq quizzed her. But in the meantime, the accused also wanted to ask her three questions.
Prosecutor Rana Das Gupta opposed and told the tribunal that there was no provision that allows an accused to quiz a witness. The accused then said: “Mr Rana Das Gupta, go and read the act. I know the law very well because I am a lawmaker.”
Tribunal member Justice Jahangir Hossain then said: “You can question her only when your lawyer ends his cross-examination.”
Salahuddin Quader asked Chopolarani the following questions: whether she and her husband ever went to his house to sell pottery; if the accused went to her house any day to buy pottery and when the witness was 25 to 39 years of age, if Salahuddin Quader had a permanent address anywhere in Raojan. The witness answered negatively to all three questions.
At the end of the cross-examination, the prosecution placed another witness, Ershadul Huq, sub-inspector of Raojan police station, who deposed on the seizure list.
Senior BNP leader Salahuddin Quader, son of Muslim League leader Fazlul Quader Chowdhury, was indicted for 23 charges of war crimes.