An army guard yesterday told the court that Major Noor and Captain Bazlul Huda shot dead Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman with their sten guns, reports UNB.
Mohammad Quddus Sikder, a retired Havildar, who was a guard at Bangabandhu's house on the fateful night of August 15, 1975, made his deposition as fourth prosecution witness in the Bangabandhu murder case at the Dhaka District and Sessions Judge's Court.
He said Major Noor and Captain Huda from the stairs fired on Bangabandhu after "saying something in English" to Major Mohiuddin who with his force was bringing Bangabandhu downstairs.
Major Mohiuddin and his force stood aside before Bangabandhu was shot by the two officers, Quddus said. "Bangabandhu fell dead on the stairs."The witness said he was standing behind Major Noor and Captain Huda when they shot the country's founding father.
He further told the Court that Major Aziz Pasha and Risaldar Moslemuddin fired on Begum Mujib, Sheikh Jamal, wife of Sheikh Kamal and wife of Sheikh Jamal inside the bedroom with their sten guns.
The witness said after the killing, Major Farooque (accused retired Lt Col Syed Farooque Rahman) instantly promoted Captain Bazlul Huda and Subedar Major Abdul Wahab Joardar to Major and Lieutenant ranks by decorating them with rank pips on shoulders at the Bangabandhu house premises.
Pointing his finger to Col (retd) Farooque on the dock, the PW-4 said Major Farooque called Major Mohiuddin, Captain Bazlul Huda and Subedar Major Abdul Wahab Joarder to him at the gate.
He (Farooque) then took off the "stars" from Captain Huda's shoulder and handed it over to Joardar; then taking the "shapla" from Joardar's shoulder, he pinned it to Huda's shoulder and called him "Major Huda", said the witness.
Thereafter, said Quddus, Major Farooque pinned up a "star" on Joardar's shoulder and mentioned him as "Lieutenant".
At the beginning of his deposition before the court, Quddus Sikder said he came to Bangabandhu's residence at about 5 am on August 15, 1975, from the guards quarter at road no 31.
As he was hoisting flag at the President's house to the tune of bugle before taking over charge from Havilder Abdul Gani, firing began from the southern side of Bangabandhu's residence, he said. Then he along with his jawans took 'like position' alongside the southern boundary wall of the house.
He said he looked for guard commander Abdul Gani for ammunition as firing started. Soon, a group of soldiers in black and khaki uniforms stormed in shouting "hands up".
Replying to a question from a prosecution lawyer, the witness said among the soldiers, he recognised Captain Bazlul Huda, Major Noor and Major Mohiuddin of lancer.
Captain Bazlul Huda and Major Noor, he said, then came near the verandah and Captain Huda fired his sten gun on Sheikh Kamal, who was standing there.
Sheikh Kamal being hit by bullets skidded off to nearby reception room, he said, adding Captain Huda once again shot and killed Sheikh Kamal.
Captain Bazlul Huda and Major Noor then ordered the policemen and others to line up near the gate.
Major Mohiuddin of lancer along with his force went upstairs of the house firing guns and afterwards Captain Huda and Major Noor went to the first floor of the house through the verandah, ordering them (Quddus and his force) to follow, the witness stated.
Following Huda and Noor, he said, both the officers were going up stairs when Major Mohiuddin along with his force were bringing Bangabandhu downstairs.
Major Noor then said something in English to Major Mohiuddin, who along his force stood aside, Quddus said.
Bangabandhu asked them, "what do you want?" Soon Captain Bazlul Huda and Major Noor shot Bangabandhu with their sten guns, he said.
Clad in a lungi and punjabi, Bangabandhu was holding a pipe in one hand and a matchbox in other.
Then Major Mohiuddin, Major Noor and Captain Bazlul Huda came down the road near the main gate and moved southward.
After some time, Quddus said, Major Aziz Pasha, Risaldar Moslemuddin, lancer and two field artillerymen came near the gate.
Major Pasha with his force went to the first floor of the house. Said Quddus: "I also followed them and saw Subedar Major Abdul Wahab Joardar on the first floor."Major Pasha and his force went near Bangabandhu's bedroom and asked to open the door.
Begum Mujib opened the door when they (Major Pasha and his force) fired on the door. Quddus said Begum Mujib entreated them not to kill anyone.
"But some soldiers got hold of her by her hand and brought out Sheikh Russel, Sheikh Naser and a servant," he said.
Begum Mujib burst into tears seeing the body of Bangabandhu on the stairs. They then took her back into the bedroom when Sheikh Russel, Sheikh Naser and the servant were taken down.
Narrating the tragedy, Quddus said Major Noor and Risaldar Moslemuddin shot Begum Mujib, Sheikh Jamal, wife of Sheikh Kamal and wife of Sheikh Jamal inside the bedroom.
He (Major Noor) then came downstairs and "I followed him," the witness said, adding "I found the bullet-ridden body of Sheikh Naser in the bathroom of the reception room."Quddus said he also saw the body of a plainclothes policeman near the gate.
Major Noor then came out into the road and talked over wireless and Major Pasha also came near the gate.
Quddus said Sheikh Russel, who was in the line near the gate, was crying for going to her mother. Major Pasha then ordered one havilder of lancer to take Russel to his mother.
The havilder took Russel to the first floor and after some time, Quddus said, he heard the sound of firing and groaning. The Havilder then came down and told Aziz Pasha: "Sir, finished.""A tank rolled up to the gate and Major Farooque came out of the tank and talked to Major Aziz Pasha, Major Noor, Major Mohiuddin and Captain Bazlul Huda. He (Farooque) then left the scene with his tank," said the witness.
The body of Col Jamil was then brought into the house in a red-coloured car, Quddus said, when he also heard sound of breaking.
He said he then went to Bangabandhu's bedroom on the first floor of the house through the north-side staircase and saw the bodies of Begum Mujib and Sheikh Kamal. Quddus said he also found Sheikh Kamal and Sheikh Jamal's wives lying in a pool of blood.
"In that room, I saw the body of Sheikh Russel with brain and eyes spattered beside him," he said.
The witness said he found some soldiers ransacking the room and stuffing valuables in their bags. He said Subedar Major Abdul Wahab Joardar was seen taking out some foreign currency notes and ornaments from an almirah and keeping those in a briefcase.
All soldiers were seen coming out of the room along with a briefcase, a radio and a television set and keeping those in a jeep on the road. Quddus said after a while Major Farooque and Major Shariful Huq Dalim came near the gate where Major Noor, Major Aziz Pasha, Major Mohiuddin, Captain Bazlul Huda and Subedar Major Abdul Wahab Joardar were present.
Major Farooque, the witness said, called Major Mohiuddin, Captain Bazlul Huda and Subedar Major Abdul Wahab Joardar to him at the gate and 'promoted' Captain Bazlul Huda and Subedar Major Abdul Wahab Joardar to Major and Lieutenant.
All the officers then quit the house, he said, adding Major Bazlul Huda left giving him the responsibility to look after the bodies and valuables.
Quddus said he along with seven others carried out their duty at that house. He said he saw his commander Captain Abul Bashar in front of the gate just before the Jumma prayers that day (Friday). On that night (August 15), Quddus said, Major Huda came to Bangabandhu's residence and took him to a saw mill at Sher Shah road at Mohammadpur, where the officer ordered the shopkeeper to make 10 wooden coffins and take those to Bangabandhu's residence.
He said Major Huda then dropped him (Quddus) to road no 32 and left.
In the early hours the following day, the shopkeeper came to Bangabandhu's residence with the wooden coffins in a pushcart.
After 'Fazr Azan,' Major Bazlul Huda came to Bangabandhu's residence along with a force and a transport of the army. Keeping Bangabandhu's body, Quddus said, Major Huda took away all other bodies by that vehicle.
At about 9 or 10 am on August 16, Major Huda again came to the house with a pickup and took Bangabandhu's body to the airport, Quddus said.
Shortly afterwards, the witness said, a JCO and 8-10 jawans came to Bangabandhu's residence and left it after locking all doors and windows.
Quddus said he and his other guards handing over the charge to another shifting guard left for Bangabandhu at about 10 am on August 17.
On August 18 night, Quddus said, he along with his guards under the command of Captain Abul Bashar went to one Field Artillery Regiment in Comilla.
Replying to a prosecution question, he said, besides the body of Bangabandhu, other nine bodies were of Col Jamil, Sheikh Naser, Sheikh Kamal, Sheikh Jamal, Sheikh Russel, Sultana, wife of Kamal, Rosy, wife of Jamal, Bangabandhu's wife Begum Mujib and of a policeman.
He said he was in army's artillery corps and Subedar Major Abdul Wahab Joardar (identifying him on the dock), was his officer.
Before making his deposition, Mohammad Quddus Sikder said he joined the Pakistan Army in 1960 and was posted at an artillery regiment in Quetta in Pakistan.
Quddus, who was in Pakistan during the Liberation War in 1971, came back to Bangladesh in 1973 and joined in one Field Artillery Regiment in Comilla, where his Commanding Officer was Lt Col Syed Ali Ansar and second-in-command Major Shariful Huq Dalim. Other officers of his regiment were Major ABM Ilyas, Captain Bazlul Huda, Captain Abul Bashar and Subedar Major Abdul Wahab Joardar.
He said Major Dalim was relieved of his job in early 1975 on disciplinary ground.
The witness told the court that in the last week of July, 1975, a company of One Field Artillery under the command of Captain Abul Bashar came to Dhaka and was placed at Ganobhaban and President Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's house.
Captain Bashar set their duties and he (Quddus) along with 24 others, including Naik Subedar Abdul Motaleb, Havilder Abdul Gani, Naik Abdul Jalil, were sent to Bangabandhu's residence at road no 32 for duty.
He said their accommodation was made at a house at road no 31 and they used to guard the President House by turn.