Zead Al Malum: What is your name and describe yourself.Prosecutor: My Lord, please adjourn this item for today, because the Witness is here at this Tribunal after a long journey.
Prosecution Witness: My name is Advocate Sultana Kamal, age- 63 years, Husband- Suprio Chakraborti, Father- Late Kamaluddin Ahmed, Mother- Late Sufia Kamal, I’m the Executive Director of Ain O Salish Kendra.
Prosecutor: Do you have any involvement in the liberation war?
Witness: I am a freedom fighter, the number of my certification of freedom fighter is- 1838.
Prosecutor: State about your education.
Witness: I have started my education at Dhaka. At first I have started reading at Nari SHikkha Mandir. I have passed my Metric examination from the Azimpur Girl’s High School at 1965. I have passed my Intermediate examination at 1967 from the Holycross High School. On 1970 I have passed the honors examination from the University of Dhaka on the subject English. I have passed MA in English on 1973 (the examination was intended to be held on 1971, but for the liberation war the examination has been delayed.) I have read Law from the Dhanmondi Law College under the University of Dhaka and passed LLB in 1977. I have been enrolled in the Bangladesh Bar Council on 1984. In 1971 I was a student.
Prosecutor: State about the incident of March, 1971.
Witness: At first I have to express the condition and background of the activities of my family, if I’d have been supposed to express about the incidents of Liberation War.
It is a known fact that my mother Poet Sufia Kamal was involved with the social and cultural movements. We were watching the crisis after the election of 1970 about the transfer of power. My mother was giving the leadership of an organization named Mohila Sangram Porishod in 1969. With the main live movement, they were working for the democratic movement, so that I have felt a deep interest about the adjournments of Parliaments. From the March, 1971 I have started taking part in movements. I have taken part on the meeting and other gatherings at that time. I have attended the public gathering at 7th March, 1971 at the Racecourse Ground and have been thrilled by the slogan ‘This is our movement for freedom; this is our freedom for liberation.’
Afterwards several separate incidents took place. At the same time when Yahiya Khan was mocking about the transfer of power by calling roundtable conference then on the other hand the Bangali political leaders were facing attacks and there were several attacks at several places of East Pakistan. On 25th March late night my brother in law has called by telephone and asked to know about the condition of Dhaka. He would have been able to find out that the condition is not so good. After that line was disconnected; at the same time we have heard the sound of firing and bullets.
It is to be mentioned that- my parents’ house was situated at the place of Dhanmondi Road- 32, which was just 4 to 5 houses away from the house of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Then we have also heard the sound of cannon and Machine Gun; we have also heard the sound of firing from the Pilkhana barracks. At the same time when sound of the fire of Rifle was coming from one side, then from the other side the sounds of cannons were coming. All of our neighbors got frightened. All of them have respected my parent as the elderly people of the area so they have came to my parents and asked repeatedly what is going on actually. Someone of our neighbor of the next house has let us known that- they have watched the flame of fire at the University area from their rooftop. A black flag was flying on the under construction house in front of our house; the guard of that house has been fired and killed. There is a bridge over the lake near our house. We have heard the sound of hurried footsteps of people. And a man was being killed over the bridge by fire. Afterwards we have heard that- the son of Mr. Panaullah, whose name as far as I can now remember was Khokon has been killed by shooting.
Once we heard the sound of continuous shooting which was continuing for the whole night; I can clearly recall that- the sounds of fire was continuing till the dawn of 27th March, 1971. On 27th March, 1971 it has been announced that Curfew has been called; no one was supposed to leave their house, but for some time the curfew has been relaxed on 27th March. Then by going to the road we were trying to know what is actually happening and then some people started gathering at our house, among them there were journalists and other political leaders. They have informed that- a massacre has happened at the University of Dhaka. Professor Monirujjaman and Dr. GC Dev have been killed and Dr. Jotirmoy Guho Thakurta has been seriously injured and has been taken to the hospital for treatment and a lot of teachers have fled to save their lives as they have been targeted to be killed. The students were being killed by placing them in lines after frequent gaps at the Jogonnath Hall. We have heard that Ikbal Hall had been set on fire.
The family members of Modhu’s cantin’s Modhu’da have been attacked and several members of his family have been killed. The laundryman of Rokeya Hall named Bashudev and his family members have been killed. The soldiers have entered Rokeya Hall. Late journalist Shahadat Chowdhury has informed from Hatkhola that the Daily Ittefaq Office had been set on fire, and many people have died from the frequent flying bullets in front of the office. We have seen a famous picture that a Passenger and a Rickshaw puller are dying over the same rickshaw; it is the incident of that time. Journalist Shohidullah Kaisar has sent the news that the Daily Sangbad Office was set on fire and the writer-journalist Shohid Saber has been burnt and died on spot. Like this we have got the news of several incidents of fire, and killings at several places. Our relative was there at Abdus Sattar Jute Mills of Narayongonj; killings have also taken place there. We got to know at a time that same sorts of incidents are also going on over in Chittagong, Khulna, Jessore, Rajshahi and other places.
Police Officer Mamun Mahmud was there at Rajshahi and also been killed and the high Bengali officials have been killed in several districts. On 25th March, 1971 we have seen that Machine Gun was being set up over the rooftop of Dhanmondi Girl’s High School which was located near the Dhanmondi Lake and the Pakistan soldiers were taking their position with the machine. That means they were taking preparation from the evening of 25th March, 1971. On 27th March, 1971 when I was walking on the Dhanmondi- 32 no road, I have watched that Pakistani soldiers were loading the trucks by the materials of the house of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. From the BBC and other radio service we got to knew that- a movement of killing named Operation Searchlight has been started which amounted to genocide and millions of people have left their houses and rushing here and there to save their lives and trying to cross the border to take shelter at India. On my view it was the violation of human rights at its most basic form.
We have also got the news that- the liberation of Bangladesh has already been declared and we were getting those from the Bangladesh Betar (Radio). Some our friends were also giving us the news of the formation the groups of freedom fighters at several places and they were joining at those groups and continuing the communication with us. By this way we have got the chance to join the liberation war. The communication of the freedom fighters was being coordinated by my mother. Me and my sister have also taken active part on those movement. By this way we were sharing the information to the people who were involved with the liberation war. We have become so busy with these activities.
Some of the religious groups collaborating with the Pakistan Armies have started their activities against the freedom fighters. The newspapers were circulating these sorts of news in an emphatic form. So we have got to knew the names of the people who were involved with these activities; among them the names of Jamaat-e-Islami, PDP, Muslim League were being highlighted and the name of Gholam Azam was coming in the front line in a frequent manner who had met Tikka Khan and other leaders of Pakistan Armies several times. How could they save Pakistan that was the headings of their meeting and they used to give speech on that. It was also coming out from their meetings that- Pakistan means Islam and to save Pakistan means to save Islam. They meant that to go against Pakistan meant to go against Islam. According to their view freedom fighters were the main perpetrator and ought to have been destroyed and for this reason the citizens ought to have been made aware. And they have desired to make this duty. By continuation of this they have operated some organizational movement in the name of Peace Committee and by either forcing or pressurizing on the sensitive point of religion they have forced people to join them.
After that on May the Razakar group has been formed. As far as I can remember the Razakarshas been formed at Khulna at first. We have also got to know that they have created some killer force and the Al-Badar, Razakar, Al-Shams forces have been formed to fulfill this aim. They have started their secret movement. We have learnt that the these team has been formed by the young students and members of Jamate Islami and always Gholam Azam’s name had been uttered as the top leader. He has been appreciated by Tikka Khan and the Pakistan Armies as well to save the Pakistan from being distorted. Then Gholam Azam has visited Pakistan and spoke against the freedom fighters and liberation war and always expressed that he is working to save Pakistan’s sovereignty.
Me and my sister Syeda Kamal who has her freedom fighter certification number- 1835 has crossed the border to reach Agortola. Because of an incident of June we have been rushed towards India. Squadron Leader Hamidullah Khan was living in front of our house; he has got the news that the Bangali air force officers who have been called have not returned afterwards. At that time he has been ordered to report at the headquarter and he has been directed to go to an operation at a Hindu community of Rayerbazar. Then he has come to my mother and asked for help to overcome this situation. Then my mother instructed him to join liberation war. Then we have assisted him to join the liberation war. Very sadly his young servant has been caught by the Pakistan soldiers.
Then we have assisted the family of Hamidullah Khan to move towards another place. Then suddenly there arose a anxiety that as the servant has been caught he might have said everything to the Pakistan Army, after their torture, about the involvement of our family with Hamidullah Khan’s family, then the information about our communication with the freedom fighters might have been revealed; so that me and my sister have been advised to cross the border. Then on 16 June we have moved at first by Road, then by boat and after reaching Chandina of Kumilla we have reched Sonamura by Rickshaw. There was a Doctor at Sonamura who was previously known to us and who has worked at Army. He was running a medication centre at Sonamura bungalow. His wife was also there. Both of them were our friend. We have visited them and joined with their work. That medication centre was under Sector- 2. Major Khaled Mosharrof was the then Sector Commander. He has given us the permission to work and we have been enlisted as the freedom fighter. When we were there a plan for a big Hospital has been taken which was known as Bangladesh Field Hospital. We have established the Hospital at Bishramgonj which was 60 miles away from Agortola. Dr. Jaforullah Chowdhury, Dr. Mobin, Dr. Kamrujjaman and others were there with us who were very famous and were freedom fighters. Captain Sitara has joined us on October who has been awarded as Bir Protik afterwards. Captain Akhtar Ahmed was the one who has given us the chance at first to work and he has also been awarded as the Bir Protik afterwards. After our joining some other girls who were maintaining the communication from Bangladesh have joined with us at the work for Hospital. Professor Jakia Khatun, Asma, Reshma, Nilima, Minu, Onupoma, Dr. Dalia Shamsuddin we have worked altogether.
By several means we were receiving the information about the internal part of the country. We were also getting news by BBC, Akashbani, Shadhin Bangla Betar Kendro. We have another way to get news that was- my mother’s letter in code language to our brother who was living at America and who was forwarding the letters to us. And we were getting the information of the country from the Guerilla fighters who were going inside and the country and returning afterwards. We were getting the information about the people who were against the liberation war movement that means who were the members of Peace Committee, Razakar, Al-Badar, Al-Shams by the freedom fighters who were under Sector-2 and going frequently to the country for several operations. We have also got the news of Bomb attack on Hotel Sheraton and the news of geurilla attacks of the team of Rumi, Alam, Bodi, Badal, Samad, Alvi, Chunnu when we were at the service of that Hospital.
We have got the information that Razakar, Al Badar, Al-Shams, Peace Committee were distributing information about what was going on inside the the country to the Pakistan Armies. Especially they were giving the information about the family members of the supporters of liberation war to the Pakistan soliders. We have also got the news that- they were capturing women of different ages and sending them to the Camp and the bunkers of the Pakistan Armies. After the frequent sexual abuse and rape many of the women have lost their mental balance and many of them have committed suicide. We were hearing the name of GHolam Azam as the leader of Jamaat-e-Islam, Al Badar, Razakar, Al-Shams and we have heard some other names with his name as follows- Motiur Rahman Nizami, Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid, Abbas Ali Khan and others. As Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was the icon of liberation war; like this Gholam Azam was the icon of the opposition of liberation war.
At that time we have got to know about Hindu-Buddhist and Christian that- they have moved from each place to another place in the country to save themselves, they have to move towards India, they have only been killed for the reason of religion, by leaving all the properties here in this country they have moved towards India. They have been killed at the Church also, they have been forced to convert religion, and the Hindu Temples have been destroyed also. Only for the religious purpose they have faced these sorts of humiliation.
Chairman: Okay, the Tribunal is adjourned till 2 P.M.