Sayedee handed 3 sisters to Pak troops
A prosecution witness yesterday told the International Crimes Tribunal that Jamaat-e-Islami leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee along with other collaborators handed his three sisters to the Pakistani occupation force in 1971.
"They picked up three of my sisters and handed them over to a Pakistani soldiers' camp in Pirojpur," said the witness in his late sixties in an emotion-choked voice.
"They were raped at the camp... and sent back home after three days…" uttered the witness before breaking into tears.
He mentioned the names of his sisters but the tribunal requested the media not to reveal those. The Daily Star has also kept from publishing the name of the witness in compliance with its editorial policy.
A few days after his sisters returned, the collaborators led by Sayedee forced him and his family members to convert to Islam, he alleged.
"They forced me, my parents and siblings to convert to Islam and made us say prayers at the mosque," he said.
The three-member tribunal led by its Chairman Justice Nizamul Huq finished recording the deposition and the cross-examination of the prosecution witness.
He is the thirteenth prosecution witness in a case against Sayedee regarding crimes against humanity committed during the Liberation War.
Sayedee was present at the dock during the proceedings. He is among six Jamaat and two BNP leaders who are facing charges of crimes against humanity at the court.
According to the witness, before his sisters were taken, Sayedee along with some other collaborators came to their house and looted it.
After they were forced to convert to Islam, all his family members went to India except for him, he said.
Apart from his family, the collaborators led by Sayedee converted some 100 to 150 Hindus including Narayan Saha, Nikhil Paul, Sunil Paul and Haran Bhowmik, the witness alleged.
"After being converted, they named me Abdul Gani," said the witness, adding that the collaborators used to give him a tupi (cap) and a tasbih (used to keep track of repetitive utterances) whenever he was taken to the mosque.
After the Liberation War, he returned to his original religion, the witness added.
The witness said Sayedee was his neighbour living in a rented house in Parerhaat during the War.
After the prosecution witness finished his testimony, Sayedee's defence started cross-examining him.
Defence counsel Mizanul Islam asked the witness whether he had submitted the list of valuables the collaborators had looted from his house during the war to the investigation officer of the tribunal.
"They looted everything, even the brooms. What should I write on the list!" was his response.
Islam later asked the witness whether he had atoned for converting to Islam after he retained his original religion.
The witness responded: "I became Muslim to save my life. So, atonement was not required."
At one point of the cross-examination, Islam told the witness that his national identity card puts his date of birth on July 8, 1963.
The witness replied: "Either I had said it wrong or they wrote it wrong."
The answer prompted a discussion in the court with the defence saying if the date of birth on the ID card is true, the witness was seven during the Liberation War instead of 27 as he claimed.
At this, the court said it is also observing the issue, while the prosecution said they would clarify it during their argument.
Islam also asked the witness whether he had requested the authorities concerned to correct the mistake. The witness said he did not.
Islam also told the witness that his three sisters were very young during the War.
But the witness denied it.
The tribunal is scheduled to record the deposition of fourteenth prosecution witness Abdul Halim Babul today.