Salahuddin Kader Chowdhury (SAKA)
Salahuddin Kader Chowdhury popularly known as Saka Chowdhury, son of Late Fazlul Kader Chowdhury (Foka Chowdhury), hails from the village Gohira under Raozan police station of Chittagong district. A member of the parliament, Salahuddin is the advisor for parliamentary affairs to the Prime Minister Mrs. Khaleda Zia and the master mind behind the communal activities in Bangladesh since 1971.
During our liberation war Saka led an extensive campaign against the liberation of Bangladesh and offered absolute collaboration to the Pakistan occupation army. The focus of all his heinous activities was his own district, Chittagong. Under the guidance of his worthy father Foka Cowdhury and supported by his brother Giasuddin Kader Chowdhury (who is an Ex-MP and failed to take people’s mandate during 2001 parliamentary election from Raozan due to continued persecution on minority people and anti-social activities) and many fellow collaborators carried out anti-liberation war activities from his Good’s Hill residence in Chittagong.
In an article in the 8th January, 1972 issue of The Dainik Bangla the following was reported on the anti-liberation activities of Saka Chowdhury: ‘ Salahuddin Kader Chowdhury and his father Fazlul Kader Chowdhury used to pick up and bring hundreds of young men to their Good’s Hill bungalow in Chittagong and torture them brutally. Among those unfortunate people was late Dr. Sanaullah’s son. On 17 July 1971 Salahuddin picked up student leader Farooque and killed him with the help of the Pakistani soldiers. From 26 March 1971 till before the day of surrender a platoon of Pakistani soldiers was stationed to guard his bungalow. After liberation, on 18 December 1971 the freedom fighters caught Fazlul Kader Chowdhury along with his family members when they were fleeing Chittagong carrying more than 120 pounds of looted gold ornaments ‘.
On page 69 of his book The History of Bangalee’s War of Liberation, Mahbub-ul-Anwar wrote, Nizamuddin was released from the Chittagong Jail on 18 November. And he relates… “I was picked up on 5 July. Then I was taken to Fazlul Kader Chowdhury. There, Fazlul Kader’s son Salahuddin along with their accomplices Khoka, Khalil and Yusuf tied my hands behind and then started beating me up with thick batons and canes. They continued this for about five hours when I finally lost consciousness. In the night of 6 July at 11 O’clock they dispatched me to the stadium. Till then I was not given anything to eat, not even a drop of water. Whenever I asked for water they replied, “You have turned Hindu, even water cannot be given to you’. On 13th July I was sent to jail. During this period they used to regularly beat me hanging me by my legs. The only food for the day was two pieces of hand rolled bread and water. They used to kick me on any pretext. In such a situation, being a Muslim, in my Namaz I prayed to Allah for solace. Even in my Namaz they used to kick me from behind, shouting, ‘You have turned Hindu, Namaz is not for you”.
Mentioned in the book was another incident- ” On 13 April, principal Natun Chandra Sinha was killed. Setting up a machine gun on the roof Gohira High School the military started firing all around from the morning. Many of the bullets hit the Kundeswari Building. Earlier, the venerable principal, pre-empting such a situation, had moved away the occupants of the building. But he himself stayed back holding on to the temple of the Kundeswari Building. Expecting the military paying a visit he had laid out chairs and tables in the courtyard to greet them. The military did come, in two jeeps. In one of the jeeps was riding Salahuddin Kader Chowdhury, son of Fazlul Kader Chowdhury. Behind them were four tanks on the Kundeswari Road, ready to attack. The principal greeted and entertained the military personnel. He explained to them his welfare works and his intension to continue that. Being satisfied the military left. However, Salahuddin brought them back again, because his father had instructed him not to leave this infidel alive. What made the day memorable was not the prowess of a band of armed heroes but the sheer courage of an unarmed seventy-year-old man who stood for peace and love of his people. He stood still in front of the temple ready to embrace martyrdom. They fired thrice at him. One bullet hit him just below one of his eyes. One hit his hand and the third into his chest. Crying out for his mother he fell to the ground. For him lamented the Hindus, for him cried the Muslims. To the mourning Muslims said Salahuddin sarcastically “Why should you be upset? It’s only a malaun that died! ”
13th April will also be remembered for yet another tragic death. A band of rogues led by Salahuddin entered the house of Chittaranjan Biswas, a respected resident of Gohira at half past ten in the morning, picked up Biswas’s son Doyal Hori Biswas, a student leader, and brutally killed him.
On 25 April 1991, the local Awami League leader Abdullah Al-Harun filed an election case with the Election Commission against Salahuddin Kader Chowdhury and his accomplices. Salahuddin Kader Chowdhury was number one in the list of the seven defendants in the case. Relating the misdeeds of Salahuddin, Abdullah Al-Harun mentioned, the number one defendant believes in using force, brutality and terrorism. He never cares about law. He never had any respect toward the election rules and norms. Neither does he believe in people’s mandate. In 1971, while supporting the then Pakistani forces the Number 1 defendant played a most deplorable and heinous role against the war of liberation. He had been involved in many incidents of killing and looting. On 13.4.1972 a case under the Collaborator’s Act, bearing number 17 was filed against him with the Hathazari Police Station in Chittagong. Cases bearing numbers 41 (1) 72 and 43 (1) 72 were filed with the Rauzan Police Station against the defendant for the murder of philanthropist Nutan Chandra Sinha. Such was his position that after the liberation of Bangladesh the Number 1 defendant fled the country to save his life. With his habitual tactics and connivance this defendant even became a member of the cabinet of Ershad (military dictator).
The hearing of the case of Nutan Chandra Sinha’s murder was held in 1972. There were 12 witnesses including Nutan Chandra Sinha’s son Sattya Ranjan Sinha. The FIR number of the case is U/S302/120(13)/298 under Bangladesh Penal Code. The hearing began on 29th January, 1972. Saka Chowdhury and five other defendants were absconding. On the other hand, rest of the defendants including his father Fazlul Kader Chowdhury was in the jail custody. In the charge sheet of the case it was mentioned that the complaints against Salahuddin Kader Chowdhury and other defendants were proven true.
Sheikh Mohammad Jahangir, son of another martyr of Chittagong, informed the People’s Investigation Commission that on 17 April 1971 with the help of the Pakistan Army Saka Chowdhury and his accomplices picked up his father Shaheed Sheikh Muzaffar Ahmed and his brother Shaheed Sheikh Alamgeer from a road in Hathazari and took them to the nearby Pakistan Army camp. And later on they were killed in that camp.
After liberation, complainant Sheikh Mohammad Jahangir also filed a case against Saka Chowdhury and his accomplices. Harun-ur-Rashid Khan, is a leader of Jatya Party in Chittagong. During the liberation war in 1971 he was a liaison officer of the liberation army (he was appointed to that post by the commander of Sector 1, Major Rafiqul Islam). As part of his duty Harun-ur-Rashid formed a publicity cell and with the help of informers he collected information on Salahuddin and the killings, lootings and other activities carried out by him. Compiling the information he used to send reports to the commander of Sector 1, Major Rafiqul Islam and the political leaders engaged in the war. While doing this job he came to know how Saka, his dad Foka and their notorious crew used to pick up and bring hundreds of freedom fighters and people supporting Bangladesh cause to their Good’s Hill residence and brutally tortured them to death.
The Saka/Foka gang also picked up women and handed them to the military for their carnal pleasure. Just before independence, Salahuddin fled the country. The freedom fighters missed him narrowly while chasing him. However, it is believed that of the bullets fired at him one had hit him in the leg. Having returned to Bangladesh, even after 32 years of independence, Saka Chowdhury is still engaged in extortion, lootings, terrorism and murder in Chittagong district, particularly in Rauzan. This can be substantiated by reports from the Detective Department of the government.
Presently, Saka Chowdhury has three cases hanging around his neck in Chittagong: his QC shipping house gold smuggling during early 90’s is known to Chittagong Custom and Excise, his close aide-de-camp is believed to be engaged in arms smuggling used to terrorize and cleanse the religious minorities, rig votes during parliamentary election and assassin leaders and supporters of opposition political, especially of social democrat and leftwing, parties.
Killers and Collaborators of 1971: An Account of Their Whereabouts, compiled and published by the Center for the Development of the Spirit of the Liberation War
Commission on War Criminals of Bangladesh
Saiduzzaman Raushan: Speeches and Statements of Killers & Collaborators of 1971