Farjana Chowdhury Nipa, the daughter of the physician Dr Alim Chowdhury who was killed by al-Badr members after abduction on the eve of independence, on Sunday testified against the two absconding war crimes suspects, Chowdhury Mueen Uddin and Ashrafuzzaman Khan.
Nipa, the ninth prosecution witness, told the International Crimes Tribunal 2 that at that time, she and her younger sister were three and two years old respectively.
She said her mother Shyamoli Nasrin Chowdhury, her grandmother and associates of her father "“ Hakim and Mumin "“ had recounted the incident of the abduction several times to her. The witness also pleaded justice for the killing of her father and other intellectuals.
The witness said she came to know about the involvement of Mueen Uddin and Ashrafuzzaman in killing intellectuals in 1971 as the "operation in-charge" and "chief executor" of al-Badr through books, news published in daily Purbadesh and the documentary "War Crime Files."
The tribunal jointly indicted the accused on 11 counts of crimes against humanity that includes the killing of 18 intellectuals.
The martyred Dr Alim together with another physician Fazle Rabbi, who was also killed, used to run a "secret hospital" for the wounded freedom fighters during the Liberation War. They also used to help freedom fighters by supplying them medicines and money.
Nipa, who is also one of the founding members of Projonmo Ekattor (Generation 1971), said around 4 pm on December 15, 1971, a microbus stopped in front of their gate. Two armed persons alighted from the microbus and went into the house of Maulana Abdul Mannan, one of the organisers of al- Badr.
"We used to live in a rented house at Purana Paltan, Dhaka. Abdul Mannan who later became a minister used to live on the ground floor. After spending 20-30 minutes with Abdul Mannan, those armed men started kicking on our door," Nipa said.
Her mother asked Dr Alim what she should do. According to Nipa, he asked her to open the door.
"There was another stairway inside our house, which could be used to go to the ground floor. Using this, my father went to Abdul Mannan's house and knocked on his door, but he did not open the door. However, he called out to my father from inside, 'I am staying here, you go.' Â Meanwhile my father's associates, Hakim and Mumin had opened the door to our house. The armed men came inside. By that time, my father had come back upstairs. As soon as the armed men saw him, they asked him to hold up his hands and added in fluent Bangla, 'you have to go with us.' When my father tried to enquire why was he being taken away, they replied that they needed him," Nipa said.Â
She also told the tribunal that her father was not even allowed to change his clothes and was taken away blindfolded, with his hands tied.
Nipa said her mother rushed to Abdul Mannan's house, but Mannan did not open the door this time too. "He replied from inside saying 'do not worry. Students of al- Badr took your husband to take care of the wounded persons who are admitted at CMH [combined military hospital].' Thereafter, there was no trace of my father," she added.
"Later, on December 16, 1971, a freedom fighter came to our house when people were celebrating the country's victory everywhere. He came in and started questioning us, 'where is that evil who killed Alim bhai?' That is how my mother came to know that my father had been killed," Nipa said.
Nipa's family recovered Dr Alim's decomposed body from the Rayerbazar mass killing field on December 18.Â