Monday, November 3, 2014

Relief, as it was just rumour- Tamanna Khan

Sumi Khan
Sumi Khan   Even minutes before the court started proceedings yesterday, rumours hanged thick in the air about the possibility of lesser punishment for war criminal Mir Quasem Ali who had allegedly spent millions of US dollars to lobby against the International Crimes Tribunal.
This worried Sumi Khan, daughter of Saifuddin Khan, a freedom fighter who was abducted, confined and tortured in 1971 by the Chittagong unit of Al-Badr which was led by Quasem.
"Had my father been alive and testified as a witness, Quasem would definitely be hanged," she said. Tears trickled down her cheeks as she expressed her worry.
Saifuddin Khan was abducted from Aziz colony and confined at a torture cell of Dalim Hotel in Andarkilla of Chittagong by Al-Badr men where he along with others was savagely beaten and tortured under Quasem's leadership, according to the fourth charge against Quasem.
Although Saifuddin had been spared his life, the horrific memories of torture haunted him throughout his life.
Sumi recalled the horrific accounts she had heard from her father. "They did not even give us any water for 10 long days. Instead, they gave us urine to drink," she quoted her father as saying.
A special correspondent at the Bangla daily Dainik Janakantha, Sumi maintained professional composure throughout the proceedings, even when Quasem was sentenced to seven years of imprisonment for abduction, confinement and torture of her father under the fourth charge.Tears however returned to Sumi's eyes when the tribunal chairman announced death penalty for Quasem under the 11th charge.
But this time she wept tears of peace and relief.
"My father always believed that someday these people who opposed the liberation of our country, and tortured and killed the freedom fighters, would be brought to justice," she said.
Her father's belief was shaken after Bangabandhu Shiekh Mujibur Rahman was assassinated in 1975 because he feared that the war criminals and collaborators would make a comeback to independent Bangladesh, said Sumi.
Saifuddin Khan who was a leader of a left-leaning political party and an organiser of the liberation war, used to shelter freedom fighters at his house in the port city.
Nur Jahan Khan, Sumi's mother, said Saifuddin along with other freedom fighters was picked up from their house at Aziz Colony by Al-Badr men.
"About 10-12 Al-Badr men came to our house. All were wearing monkey caps. They said they did not mean any harm but were looking for 'miscreants' trying to break Pakistan's unity," she told The Daily Star over the phone while describing how her husband had been abducted.
From Dalim Hotel, Khan was sent to the Chittagong Central jail on November 3 and was released from there after the independence.
"Father told me how Quasem and his men beat them [the freedom fighters] to make them utter the slogan 'Pakistan Jindabad'. But they spat at them instead," she said.
Saifuddin breathed his last on June 28, 2007.
"My father is no more but wherever he is, I am sure his soul can now rest in peace," Sumi said after the verdict yesterday.
"I want to thank Bangabandhu's daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for keeping her commitment in conducting the war criminals' trial," she said expressing her gratitude.
Published: 12:01 am Monday, November 03, 2014

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