SUST VC recalls torture at the hands of SQ Chowdhury

M Saleh Uddin, Vice-Chancellor of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST), who was brutally persecuted during the 1971 Liberation War at ‘Goods Hill’, the paternal house of accused Salauddin Quader Chowdhury in port city Chittagong, made his deposition as prosecution witness-8 before the International Crimes Tribunal-1 on Monday.

PW Saleh told the tribunal that in 1971 he was a resident student of Chittagong University and in mid-March he left the Alaol Hall after suspension of class examinations and took refuge at the house of Raza Khan Chowdhury at village Mohra under Chandgaon police station as he had been a lodging teacher at the house during his school life.

Recalling the day he was picked up, Saleh told the tribunal that one morning in the later part of July, Shamsuddin Miah, chairman of Burishchar Union Parisad who belonged to Convention Muslim League and was loyal to its leader Fazlul Quader Chowdhury, had knocked at his door along with 3/4 persons.

“I became frightened as I saw Shamsuddin holding firearms putting his hand into the pocket of his Punjabi. He asked me to go outside with him for a while without any change of dress,” said Saleh, adding that at that time he was wearing casual dress- white shirt and lungi.

“As I moved with them for about 200 yards, I found a military jeep waiting and when I came nearer to it, two Pakistani soldiers caught my hands and lifted me into the jeep. They searched my body,” said the PW.

The PW said as the jeep reached at ‘Goods Hill’, he saw Fazlul Quader Chowdhury flanked by his elder son Salauddin Quader Chowdhury seated in front of a tea table.

“After confirming my identity, Fazlul Quader Chowdhury asked his men saying, “Okey takta Dao.”(beat him up).

“Then I was beaten up mercilessly in phases by the two Pakistan soldiers, Al Shams commanders Hamidul Kabir Khoka and Gena Sekender and Salauddin Quader Chowdhury,” Saleh recalled. “They had left me on the floor of a garage before torturing me upstairs and I also found another boy in the garage who had faced the same music.”

The PW said he was released from captivity after persuasion as the local people had identified him as a “good boy”.

The jeep that had carried him to ‘Goods Hill’ brought him back to Mohra in the evening, said Saleh, adding that at last he left Mohra after recovering from the horrifying experience he had gone through.

Before closing his deposition, the PW-8 identified the detained accused, BNP stalwart Salauddin Quader Chowdhury in the dock.

The defence counsel will cross-examine M Saleh Uddin tomorrow (Tuesday).

Meanwhile, the cross-examination of the investigation officer ASP M Helal Uddin continued for the 35th day by the defence counsel for detained war crimes accused Jamaat-e-Islami nayeb-e-ameer Delwar Hossain Sayedee.

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