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War Crimes Trial Another martyr’s son accuses Kashai Siraj

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Staff Reporter Another 1971 martyr’s son on Tuesday accused Sirajul Huq alias Kashai Siraj of killing his father at village Ranjitpur, Bagerhat during the Liberation War on May 13, 1971. “Accused Siraj didn’t hesitate to kill his boyhood football-mate, Kanek Das, my father,” recalled Arun Das, now 55, before the International Crimes Tribunal-1 while testifying against the accused as PW-5. Corroborating the evidence of other PWs over the May 13 incident, Arun told the tribunal that on the day he had come out of their house after hearing hue and cry outside. At that time, PW Arun said, his mother had asked him to go out to see what were happening out there and report her back. “As I came out of the house, I saw Siraj Master along with his Razakar cohorts moving forward brandishing rifles and machetes,” said Arun. The PW further said, “My father was captured by accused Siraj while fleeing. I and my mother begged for my father’s life but that went in vain. Accused Siraj first hit him with a machete cutting off his fingers as my father tried to resist the stroke with his two hands. Then the accused shot at him and left the place presuming the victim dead.” In an emotion-chocked voice, the PW told the tribunal that his father succumbed to his bullet wounds after taking a little drop of water collected by his mother dipping her saree’s rim into a nearby ditch. Before closing his testimony, PW Arun identified accused Siraj from among the three accused in the dock. The PW-5 will be cross-examined by the state-appointed defence counsel today. On November 5, the tribunal indicted detained accused Sirajul Huq alias Kashai Seraj, 72, Akram Hossain Khan, 61, and A Latif Talukder, 68, of Bagerhat for their involvement in crimes against humanity during the Liberation War. The three commanders of Razakar, an auxiliary force of the Pakistan occupation army, face seven counts of charges of crimes against humanity that include killing, genocide, loot, arson, rape, abduction, torture, and conversion of Hindus to Muslim under duress during the Liberation War in Bagerhat district. ASP M Helal Uddin, investigation officer of the case, listed 65 prosecution witnesses (PWs) to testify before the tribunal against the three accused to prove the war crimes charges. On September 15, the tribunal took cognizance of the offences of the 1971 war crimes against them as it found prima facie case for trial after examination of the formal charge, investigation report, and the papers, documents and evidence submitted by the prosecution in connection with the case. Among the seven charges, four have been brought against Sirajul alone for the killing of more than 600 people, two against all of three of them for the killing of 47 people, and one against Akram and Latif for killing a person.