‘Five Hindu civilians were killed upon Yusuf’s order’

Grilling remained incomplete and the tribunal 2 set today for further proceedings


A prosecution witness on Monday told the International Crimes Tribunal that in 1971 he had seen war crimes accused AKM Yusuf order the killing of six unarmed civilians including five Hindus.

Twelfth prosecution witness Sheikh Afzal Hossain, 76, also told the tribunal in his deposition that he had heard from local people that Yusuf had killed many and was responsible for arson and forced deportation.

Afzal, who was a soldier of the East Pakistan Rifles (now called the Border Guard Bangladesh) in 1971, also shared his experiences of fighting for a squad as a freedom fighter.

Following the submission, junior defence counsel MH Tamin began cross examining the witness as his senior colleagues was not present yesterday. Grilling remained incomplete and the tribunal 2 set today for further proceedings.

Afzal in his deposition claimed that after March 7, 1971, he and some of his EPR fellows had left the EPR camp and begun fighting against the Pakistani soldiers. “But as we had no heavy weapons with us, we had to back off and go to India.”

“It is our bad luck that the perpetrators hoist our national flag in their vehicles. I want justice before I die. Please pardon me if I am wrong,” he told the tribunal. This statement, however, was not recorded.

Continuing with deposition, Afjal said: “Most probably it was in August of 1971 that I came to Kalekharber of Bagherhat from India along with three hundred soldiers – both naval and armed. There we trained up at least five hundred local young men for combat.

“On October 13, 1971, I went to Chulkathi with one hundred soldiers. On the way, we took shelter at the Ghanashyampur High School. That night, razakars surrounded us and we locked into a battle. After three hours, when our bullets almost ran out, I ordered my soldiers to move to the bank of the river.”

“When I and four/five of my group members were getting to flee, a bullet hit my right leg. Somehow, with the help of one of my fellows, managed to escape.

“Then we went to the Chulkatthi bazar and there we saw a man in white panjabi and Pyjamas and some other razakars charge bayonet on six men.

Then the man in panjabi, who had a little beard on his chin, ordered the razakars to kill the six unarmed people. The razakars followed his order. One of them was Muslim and the rest were Hindus.”

Afjal said three of them were Khurshid, Rakhal and Sunil.

After deposing, Afjal was told to identify the accused, who was present at the dock. The old man, however, failed to identify because his eyesight was too weak.

Before Afjal’s deposition, the junior defence counsel grilled 10th prosecution witness Pijus Kanti Ghorai and 11th witness Mukul Rani Das. Both of them submitted depositions on Sunday.

The tribunal indicted Jamaat-e-Islami leader AKM Yusuf for 13 war crimes charges including killing, genocide and arson, religious conversion and deportation of people.

Source: Dhakatribune