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Jabbar behind Mathbaria atrocities in ‘71: PW

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Court Correspondent
Responding to a state defence question, a Liberation War hero on Monday said Razakar mercenaries led by its commander Iskander Mridha had perpetrated atrocities in Mathbaria, Pirojpur at the behest of accused Engineer A Jabbar on October 6, 1971. , While facing cross-examinations by the state defence counsel, prosecution witness (PW-16) Tikendra Nath Majumder came up with the information before the International Crimes Tribunal -1, referring to the earlier declaration made by accused Jabbar at a public meeting at Tushkhali High School ground that had ordered Razakars to exterminate freedom-loving people, including the Hindu minority.
Hailing from Mathbaria, Tikendra told the tribunal that as a freedom fighter he did not yet get freedom fighter allowance from the government.
Replying to another defence question, the PW said he knew accused Jabbar long before he was elected MP from Mathbaria with Gen (retd) Ershad’s JaPa ticket.
Asked whether accused Jabbar used to stay in Dhaka during the Liberation War, the PW replied in the negative, saying, “Accused Jabbar had been in Mathbaria during the whole war period.”
The PW, also member of a Liberation War victim’s family, denied the state defence suggestion that he came up with tutored evidence against the fugitive accused.
State defence counsel MA Hassn cross-examined the PW-16.
The three-member tribunal, headed by Justice M Enayetur Rahim, adjourned the trial for Tuesday.
On August 14, the tribunal framed charges against the fugitive accused Engineer Abdul Jabbar for his involvement in crimes against humanity during the Liberation War, after fulfilling the legal requirement 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 in Mathbaria was the vice-chairman of Jatiya Party. He had joined the Pakistan 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.