A sibling of a martyred freedom fighter on Tuesday accused then Muslim League leader Engineer A Jabbar of perpetrating atrocities along with Razakar militia in collaboration with the Pakistan occupation army in Fuljhuri of Mathbaria, Pirojpur during the Liberation War.
“Marching into village Fuljhuri, the perpetrators had carried out plundering and burned down 360 houses, leaving the village a barren area,” recalled Mozammel Huq Sharif while testifying against the fugitive accused before the International Crimes Tribunal-1 as prosecution witness (PW)-8.
Mentioning that the dreadful occurrence had taken place on May 17 in 1971, he said, “I had witnessed their operation concealing myself in a nearby paddy field.”
Mozammel said that a day before, while escaping his elder brother Habilder Motleb Sharif, who joined the Liberation War deserting the Pakistan army, was gunned down by Razakars at the behest of accused Jabbar.
“My slain brother’s body, lying on the floor waiting for burial the following day morning, was charred in fire while accused Jabbar and his associates had set our house on fire,” said the PW.
Corroborating the evidence of the other PWs, Mozammel told the tribunal that Razakars had also shot at Abdur Razzaq Biswas, comrade-in-arms of his brother, after hunting him down from a hideout, and he succumbed to his injuries after three days.
Referring to Engineer Jabbar’s May 16 Tushkhali High School ground meeting, the PW said that the accused had ordered Razakar commander Iskander Ali Mridha to produce freedom fighters Razzaq and Motleb Sharif before him dead or alive.
The deposition over, PW Mozammel was cross-examined by state defence counsel M A Hasan.
During the cross-examinations, the PW said that after the liberation of Bangladesh, neither he nor any member of his family filed any case with the police station about the damage of their house and killing of his brother Motleb Sharif.
Denying state defence suggestions, Mozammel said it was not true that freedom fighters Razzaq Biswas and Motleb Sharif were killed in a confrontation.
“It’s also not a fact that accused Engineer Jabbar was not present in Mathbaria during the Liberation War in 1971,” he said, denying a defence suggestion.
Dismissing another state defence suggestion, Mozammel said, “It’s not true that I gave evidence against accused Jabbar for any personal gain, being influenced by his political opponents.
The three-member tribunal, headed by Justice M Enayetur Rahim, adjourned the trial for Wednesday.
On September 7, after fulfilling the requirement of law, the trial of Engineer A Jabbar began in absentia with recording of evidence of the prosecution witnesses.
The prosecution pressed five counts of war crimes charges against the former Jatiya Party MP, believed living in the USA.
After working for over 11 months, the investigation officer (IO) of the case ASP M Helal Uddin submitted the investigation report to the prosecution.
The prosecution submitted a list of 44 witnesses (PWs) to prove the charges as proposed against war crimes accused Jabbar.
The investigator ‘found’ Jabbar’s involvement in crimes like killing, genocide, arson, looting and forcefully converting many Hindus to Muslim in then Mathbaria thana of Pirojpur during the war. Jabbar was made chairman of local thana Peace Committee (collaborator) and he organised Razakar outfit in Mathbaria, according to the investigation report.
Octogenarian Jabbar of Khetachhira under Mathbaria was the vice-chairman of Jatiya Party. He had joined the then Muslim League through his father-in-law, Arshed Ali, who was an influential Muslim League leader.
Jabbar later joined the Jatiya Party of Gen (retd) HM Ershad and was twice elected Member of Parliament with the party tickets in 1986 and 1988.
Engr Jabbar carried out atrocities in ’71: PW