Dhaka, May 27 — BNP lawmaker Salauddin Quader Chowdhury himself shot Nutan Chandra Singha dead in one of the operations he organised during the 1971 Liberation War to torture Hindus and drive them out of the country, a witness told the International Crimes Tribunal-1 on Sunday.
ICT-1, formed to try crimes against humanity committed during the Liberation War, has indicted Salauddin on 23 counts.
“Iske oopar goli chalao (shoot him)” was the order Salauddin had given Pakistani soldiers in Urdu moments later they completed interrogation of Nutan Chandra, founder of Kundeshwari Girls School and Kundeshwari Oushadhalaya, at Hat Hajari of Chittagong.
The Pakistani soldiers opened fire on the man belonging to the Hindu community instantly. Salauddin was the man to fire the last shots at bullet-ridden Nutan to ensure that he did not survive.
A resident of Gohira at Raojan in the port city, Bibhuti Bhushan witnessed the killing from a tree-top, where he had taken shelter for avoiding confrontation with the Pakistani military convoy guided by Salauddin.
It was Apr 13 when Bibhuti fled his home as he heard that Pakistani Army was approaching his village.
Later, he shared his experience with freedom fighter Sirajul Islam alias Shiru Bengali, the third witness in the Salauddin Quader Chowdhury’s case.
Shiru recounted the description of the killing on the second day of his deposition as a witness before the tribunal on Sunday. Salauddin’s defence would start his cross-examination on Monday.
The two-day deposition of Shiru unfolded hitherto untold terrible tales of torture and killing of Bengali people, especially Hindus, by the accused and his family.
Earlier, the first witness in the case, Dr Anisuzzaman, a Professor Emeritus of Dhaka Univeristy’s Bengali Department and currently head of Bangla Academy, had also testified against Salauddin on the killing of Nutan.
“The soldiers fired upon Nutan Chandra, and even as he lay there in agony, the accused (Salauddin) walked up to him and pressed more bullets into him,” Anisuzzaman had stated.
Shiru also recalled the stories he had heard from his boss Capt. Karim, under which he waged war against Pakistani occupation force from Toyepara village at Raojan in Chittagong starting May 21 1971.
After killing Nutan, the Pakistan Army guided by Salauddin had set houses in several villages, including Gohira, Sultanpur, and Jagatmandal, afire after looting valuables from houses, according to Karim’s narration of the series of events as recounted by Shiru.
“They killed people indiscriminately and kidnapped young girls to take them to Pakistani soldiers’ camps.”
In another operation in mid-April, Salauddin and his cohorts had picked up Awami League activists Sheikh Mozaffar Ahamed and his son Sheikh Alamgir from Tin Matha Road at Hathajari. The father and the son did not return after that.
The worst-ever massacre Karim would talk about often took place at 69 Para in Chittagong, Shiru went on.
During the massacre, Salauddin killed 15 to 16 women while the Pakiatani army looted and set the village ablaze.
Karim had seen all this from a roadside bush.
Shiru identified the detained BNP leader, Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, sitting in the dock in white Panjabee-Pajama, traditional Muslim attire, as the man he was talking about.
Salauddin and his family’s hatred towards Bengalis, especially Hindus, had bothered Shiru since the very beginning. Once he had asked his boss Karim to explain the reason causing so much hatred in Salauddin’s family against Bengalis.
“Salauddin and his family became enraged at Hindus after his father Fazlul Quader Chowdhury had suffered a huge defeat in the 1970 election to a young contender nominated by Awami League,” Shiru recalled Karim’s explanation.
“They (the family) thought the defeat came because of the Malauns (a slang Muslim fundamentalists use instead of Hindu). That’s why they had resorted to arson, loot, rape and killing of Hindu families to oust them from the country.”
Salauddin’s defence on Sunday also submitted an application to the tribunal for allowing their client to attend the budget session of parliament following a regular request sent to every lawmaker for attending the session.
The ICT-1 also fixed May 31 for hearing the petition prosecution filed for initiating contempt of court proceedings against defence lawyer Fakhrul Islam, who called the first witness Anisuzzaman a ‘liar.’
The tribunal adjourned cross-examination of Salah Uddin, investigation officer in the Jamaat-e-Islami leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee’s case, until Monday as the defence counsel, Mizanul Islam, continued questioning him for the 12th consecutive day on Sunday.
(As reported by bdnews24.com)