“We had to take beef to save our life” , recalls Hindu widow victim of religious conversion

The witness also told the tribunal that her husband had to go to the mosque five times a day after the conversion

A martyr’s wife yesterday told the war crimes tribunal that the razakars led by accused AKM Yusuf had carried out atrocities in their village in Bagerhat and forcefully converted members of the Hindu community to Islam.

In her deposition Ullashini Das, the 26th prosecution witness, said: “Among other victims, I lost my beloved husband Mahadev Chandra Das. We could not even bury him.”

She said the razakars had forced over 300 Hindus of Shakharikatthi village in Kochua to convert to Islam in the month of Srabon (Bengali month) in 1971. “They asked us [villagers] to go to the house of Dr Sanatan. We had to take beef to save our life.”

The witness also told the tribunal that her husband had to go to the mosque five times a day after the conversion.

After the cross-examination of the witness by Defence Counsel Mizanul Islam, the International Crimes Tribunal 2 set tomorrow for recording testimony of Md Helal Uddin, the investigation officer of the case.

It is assumed that after the deposition of the IO, the case would start hearing closing arguments of both sides.

Accused Yusuf, a senior nayeb-e-ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami, is facing 13 charges of crimes against humanity. He was indicted on November 1, 2012. According to the prosecution, Yusuf had been the founder of razakar forces and chairman of Peace Committee in the Bagerhat, Khulna and Satkhira areas. The groups had collaborated with the Pakistani occupation forces to commit murders, rape, arson and looting against the pro-liberation people.

In her deposition, Ullashini said the razakars led by Yusuf had gone to Shakharikatthi after two months, on the 18th day of Bengali month Kartik. At this, some villagers had fled the area and took shelter at the market.

She said: “When the razakars attacked the marketplace, my father-in-law and brother-in-law manage to escape but my husband could not.”

Ullashini said she had searched the market area and shouted for the whereabouts of her husband but nobody answered.

As Mahadev screamed for help from a nearby canal, she and her family members rescued him wounded. “My husband died on way back home. As we were afraid, we could not bury him.”

Source: Dhaka Tribune