A Liberation War hero prosecution witness (PW) on Monday testified against fugitive war crimes accused Engineer A Jabbar, corroborating the evidence of other PWs over the atrocities perpetrated by the accused in collaboration with Pakistan occupation army and its auxiliary force Razakar in the villages of Mathbaria, Pirojpur during the Liberation War.
Claiming himself as an eyewitness to the May 16, 1971 horrific incident at village Fuljhuri, PW-13 Janaprasad Paik, now 62, told the International Crimes Tribunal-1 that at the behest of accused Jabbar, a group of Razakar led by its commander Iskander Ali Mridha had killed freedom fighters A Razzaq Biswas and Motleb Sharif after hunting them down.
The perpetrators had also set fire to their houses before they left the scene, he recalled.
Hailing from village Fuljhuri in Mathbaria upazila, Pirojpur, Janaprasad told the tribunal that then Pakistan Muslim League leader Abdul Jabbar had formed Mathbaria Peace Committee (collaborator) declaring himself as its chairman and appointed Iskander as Razakar commander during the Liberation War.
The PW further said Razakars and members of the Peace Committee had converted him along with nearly 200 Hindus into Muslim under duress, renaming him as A Jabbar Khan.
The deposition over, state defence counsel MA Hasan moved a plea for adjournment for homework over the cross-examinations. Allowing the defence plea, the tribunal adjourned the proceedings for Tuesday.
On August 14, the tribunal indicted Abdul Jabbar for his involvement in crimes against humanity during the Liberation War, after fulfilling the legal requirements of law for trying a fugitive accused, including the appointment of state defence counsel.
On May 11, the prosecution submitted to the ICT Registrar the proposed charges accusing Engineer Jabbar of perpetrating the crimes against humanity during the Liberation War.
The prosecution pressed five counts of war crimes charges against the former Jatiya Party MP, believed to have been 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 on April 29.
The prosecution submitted a list of 44 witnesses (PWs) to prove the charges as proposed against Jabbar.
The investigator ‘found’ Jabbar’s involvement in crimes like killing, genocide, arson, looting and forcefully converting many Hindus to Muslims in the then Mathbaria thana of Pirojpur during the war. Jabbar had been made chairman of local thana Peace Committee (collaborator) and he then organised Razakar outfit in Mathbaria, according to an 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.