With the directives of Abdul Alim, the Pakistani army and the collaborators killed 370 Hindus in villages of Joypurhat in one single day during the Liberation War, the prosecution told the International Crimes Tribunal-2 yesterday.
Driven by “religious malevolence”, the Pakistani army and the collaborators in a planned way on April 26 carried out an all-out attack on the Hindu dominated areas of Karai, Kadipur, Chakpara, Sonarpara, Jogipara and Palpara of Joypurhat, said Prosecutor Rana Dasgupta reading out formal charges against former minister and BNP lawmaker Alim.
“They looted the houses before setting those alight,” he said. “Male and female villagers were lined up in two rows before they were killed.”
A total of 370 people were killed in different villages on that day, he said, adding that the prosecution managed to identify 38 of the victims.
The assault on that day inflicted fear among villagers who later fled the country, added the prosecutor.
In another incident, 26 freedom fighters were rounded up in Paharpur and taken to Joypurhat Government College in late June, 1971. Alim had his photograph taken with the 26 men and a Pakistani army officer and the collaborators later killed the 26 freedom fighters under his directives.
Alim was also involved in at least seven other incidents of genocide where members of political and minority groups were killed during the Liberation War of 1971, according to the prosecutor's reading out of charges yesterday.
During the hearing on charge framing at Tribunal-2 yesterday, the prosecutor, for the second consecutive day, was reading out the charges of crimes against humanity allegedly committed by Alim.
Among 28 incidents of atrocities allegedly committed by Alim, Rana has so far read out 17 of them before the tribunal. The prosecutor read out two incidents before the court on Tuesday. Alim was being accused of 74 counts of crimes against humanity in the 28 incidents.
The prosecution also mentioned three other incidents where the accused delivered speeches instigated anti-liberation forces to commit crimes like looting, arson, rape and other crimes against humanity.
When the tribunal started yesterday's proceeding, defence counsel Tajul Islam appealed to the tribunal to adjourn the case proceeding as they could not prepare their defence.
The tribunal said it might consider their appeal after the prosecution completed reading out the formal charge when they have already started on Tuesday.
Rana then took to the dais and read out the formal charges until 3:30pm with one-hour lunch brake.
Rana mentioned 17 bullet points in the charge each about one incident of crimes against humanity committed by Alim, the chairman of the Peace Committee (a collaborator force) of Joypurhat.
The bullet points were: Genocide in the area of Karai Kadipur; Pahunda Genocide; Genocide, looting, arson in Koktara, Ghorapa, Bagjana, Kutahara village; Killing of 67 Hindus in South Khas Pahunda; Confinement of 10 people including Samir Uddin Mandol and murder of nine people; Killing of six people, attack and arson in Dogachi and surrounding villages; Provoking speech of the accused in Jamalganj; Abduction, confinement and killing of four people including Iliasuddin of Nawda village; Genocide, looting, arson in Khetlal after provoking speech of the accused; Provoking speech of the accused in Akkelpur; Attack, looting, and arson in the house of Mayen Talukdar; Genocide in West Amatra; Killing, confinement and rape in the camp of Mission School; Genocide in Joypurhat Government College; Killing of 26 ox-cart drivers and their relatives; Rape of Women; and Attack on Khash Pahunda and surrounding villages.
During yesterday's proceedings, the prosecution mentioned some of the dates according to the Bangla calendar and some following the English calendar.
The tribunal asked the prosecution to follow one calendar.
The tribunal, the second of two set up to deal with war crimes committed during the Liberation War, adjourned the hearing until today.
The International Crimes Tribunal-1 had taken the charges brought against Alim into cognisance on March 27 after the prosecution submitted formal charges against him on March 15. On April 16, Tribunal-1 transferred three cases, including Alim's, to Tribunal-2 for quick disposal.