Witness testifies on killing of 21
A prosecution witness yesterday testified that Jamaat-e-Islami leader AKM Yusuf had formed Razakar force that killed 21 people, including his paternal uncle, in a single incident in Bagerhat during the Liberation War.
Like several other witnesses, Taiyab Ali Kha, 17th prosecution witness in Yusuf's case, also said the houses of Awami League supporters and Hindus were looted following Yusuf's inflammatory speech at a Peace Committee meeting at Kachua upazila in 1971.
Earlier, Sunil Kumar Dakua, 15th witness in the case, testified that Razakars had killed eight to nine people, including his two maternal uncles, on the same day at the same place.
The tribunal has meanwhile closed cross-examination of Lutfar Rahman Nakib, 16th prosecution witness, as Yusuf's conducting counsel again failed to show up before the court and a junior counsel expressed his inability to cross-examine the witness yesterday.
The tribunal had earlier closed the cross-examination of 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th prosecution witnesses on similar grounds. Senior defence counsels remained absent from the tribunal during blockades and hartals enforced by the opposition alliance.
The defence have meanwhile filed petitions for recalling the cross-examination of 12th, 13th and 14th prosecution witnesses and reviewing the court's earlier orders. The three-member tribunal led by Justice Obaidul Hassan fixed today for passing orders in this regard.
During yesterday's 18-minute testimony, 85-year-old Taiyab said Yusuf was the chairman of Khulna Peace Committee and had formed the infamous Razakar force.
The accused during the war had held a meeting in Kachua where he called for killing the Hindus as “they [Hindus] were destroying Pakistan” and taking action against Awami League supporters, the witness said. After his speech, houses of Awami League supporters and Hindus were looted, he added.
Taiyab said on the 30th day of the Bangla month of Ashwin, when he and his uncle Anwar Kha had gone to nearby Bhasa Bazar to shop, 40/50 Razakars besieged the bazaar and forcibly took 22 people to nearby Maghia Mor.
“They [Razakars] also took my uncle. As we were Awami League supporters, I hid myself in a sugarcane field,” he said, adding that the Razakars had killed all but one including his uncle there. Only one Sunil had survived with injury, he added.
“When I returned with the body of my uncle, I said Maolana Yusuf Shaheb killed our people forming and ordering Razakars,” said emotion-chocked Taiyab.
Yusuf is facing 13 charges for his alleged involvement in crimes against humanity and genocide committed in greater Khulna during the war.