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Jabbar behind Noligram carnage in ’71: PW

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Staff Reporter
Corroborating the evidence of other prosecution eyewitnesses (PWs) over the May 22 atrocities in Noligram village of Mathbaria, Pirojpur during the 1971 Liberation War, PW-22 Bidhan Chandra Roy blamed Engineer A Jabbar for the massacre.
“Engineer Jabbar along with his Razakar militia had killed 11 unarmed Hindus, including my brother-in-law Surendra Nath Biswas, after storming our village Noligram,” recalled eyewitness Bidhan, now 62, while testifying against the fugitive accused before the International Crimes Tribunal-1.
“The perpetrators had also burned down 60 houses after ransacking,” he said.
During the deposition, the PW also disclosed some names of the 11 victims who had embraced martyrdom.
PW-22 Bidhan told the tribunal that accused Jabbar, then a prominent Muslim League leader, had formed Peace Committee (collaborator) in Mathbaria thana and declared himself its chairman. He had also established Razakar militia during the Liberation War.
The deposition over, the PW was cross-examined by state defence counsel MA Hasan.
Replying to a defence question, PW Bidhan said that a case was filed after the Liberation of Bangladesh in connection with the killing, and looting and burning down the houses in Noligram. He, however, told the tribunal that the complainant of the case was subsequently killed by miscreants.
Denying a defence suggestion, he said: “It’s not true that accused Jabbar was not present in Mathbaria and he used to stay in Dhaka during the Liberation War.”
PW Bidhan also denied another defence suggestion that he had given false evidence before the tribunal.
The three-member tribunal, headed by Justice M Enayetur Rahim, adjourned the proceedings for November 12 (Tuesday).
On August 14, the tribunal framed charges against 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 under Mathbaria was the vice-chairman of Jatiya Party. He had joined the Pakistan Muslim League through his father-in-law, Arshed Ali Hawlader, 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.