A female prosecution witness on Wednesday corroborated another PW’s evidence of the carnage that took place on the west bank of Gangasagar Dighi in Akhaura of Brahmanbaria killing her physician husband along with 32 innocent unarmed people of village Tanmandail in August during the Liberation War.
“I came to know of the horrendous incident from my father-in-law after he returned from the custody of the perpetrators,” recalled septuagenarian Bhanu Bibi, while testifying against accused Mobarak Hossain, before the International Crimes Tribunal-1 as PW-9.
She said that her father in-law, who was released by his captors learning that he went on a pilgrimage to Makkah to perform holy hajj, had accused Mobarak of the Gangsagar massacre.
PW Bhanu Bibi said: “One day in the morning of August 1971, Mobarak came to our house and set the house for a ‘panchayet’ meeting in the afternoon asking us to attend or else their might be trouble,”
“Accordingly, about 130-135 people gathered at our house and Mobarak along with his Razakar associates and the Pakistan occupation army men attended the meeting,” she said.
At one stage of the meeting, the PW-9 said Mobarak and his associates tied up the people present with ropes and then took them away to the makeshift army camp on the bank of Gangasagar Dighi where they became the victim of persecution.
Bhanu Bibi said the captured people were divided into two groups. Leaving a group into the mosque, the other group of 33 had been taken to the west bank of Gangasagar Dighi and the persecutors asked them to dig a hole in a large area. “The digging work over, they (captives) were gunned down and buried in the hole they dug.”
The PW told the tribunal that a couple of days before the ‘panchayet’ meeting, her husband and his elder brother, who were involved in active Awami League politics, had helped knocking down a bridge at Teenlakhpeer by freedom fighters with the help of villagers.
The deposition over, the PW-9 was cross-examined by defence counsel Ahsanul Huq Hena.
During the cross-examination, Bhanu Bibi told the tribunal that her father in-law, husband and his brothers were involved in Awami League politics which was known to the people of Tanmandail and Kasba where her physician husband used to practice.
Replying to a defence question, the PW said the occupation army had swooped on their house when the ‘panchayet’ meeting was in session.
Declining a defence suggestion, Bhanu Bibi said: “It’s not true that she gave false evidence against Mobarak in exchange of financial gains.”
Mobarak, a Rokan (qualified member) of Jamaat-e-Islami in 1971, faces five specific charges like murder, torture, looting, killing and abduction under section 3 (2) of the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973.
On April 23, the tribunal indicted detained Mobarak Hossain, a commander of Razaker, a vigilante group of Pakistan occupation army in 1971, for committing the crimes against humanity during the Liberation War.
According to the prosecution, Mobarak had acted as Razaker commander at the makeshift Shuhilpur camp in Brahmanbaria in 1971.
Mobarak also had been the organizing secretary of union parishad unit of Awami League in Akhaura, Brahmanbaria for long 16 years after the independence.