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IO begins deposition against fugitive Khokon Razakar

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khokon-rajakarCourt Correspondent
The designated 1971 war crimes investigator on Monday began his deposition before the International Crimes Tribunal-1 against mayor of Nagarkanda municipality in Faridpur Zahid Hossain alias Khokon Razakar being tried in absentia on charges of crimes against humanity during the Liberation War.
Appearing in the witness box, Investigation Officer (IO) Satya Ranjan Roy, now 65, also the last prosecution witness (PW-24), told the tribunal that he had prepared the investigation report accusing Khokon of perpetrating the war crimes after perusing books on Bangladesh Liberation War and interrogating people living in Nagarkanda and Bhanga Police Stations, including the members of the Liberation War victims.
Weekly and fortnightly secret police reports prepared by the special branch in 1971 and a bunch of reports from the Faridpur Deputy Commissioner’s office over the lists on the 1971 martyrs, freedom fighters, formations of Peace Committee (collaborator), Razakar, Al Badr and Al Shams and its members -- the auxiliary forces of the Pakistan occupation army -- had helped a lot to make the investigation report credible, the IO said.
IO Satya Ranjan Roy said that during the investigation, he also had visited the places of occurrences several times where people made allegations of war crimes, including killing of unarmed people, loot, rape, arson attack on houses, against Khokon and his associates in 1971. The affected villages include Kodalia, Jangurdi Bagurtia, Ishwardi, Bagati, Dolali, Meherdia, Chadhat, Bagutia, Goaldi and Paschim Hamamdia, he added.
The deposition remained inconclusive.
On October 9 last year, dismissing the discharge plea moved by the state-appointed defence counsel for the fugitive accused, the tribunal indicted mayor of Nagarkanda municipality in Faridpur Zahid Hossain alias Khokon Razakar for his involvement in crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War in absentia.
Septuagenarian Zahid Hossain Khokon, also Nagarkanda upazila BNP vice-president, faces 11 counts of charges that include loot, arson, repression, forcible conversion to Islam, shooting to death, rape, killing and mass killing in his area during the 1971 Liberation War in collaboration with the Pakistan occupation army.
Responding to a prosecution plea on July 18 last year, the tribunal, after taking cognisance of the charge of crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War against Khokon, issued warrant for his arrest as the accused did not appear before it.
The prosecution, in compliance with a tribunal order, published legal notice in daily newspapers asking Khokon to surrender before the tribunal within a fortnight to face the trial, but the accused did not turn up till date.
On June 23, the prosecution submitted to the tribunal formal war crimes charges against Khokon Razakar.

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