10.8 AGARTALA CONSPIRACY TRIAL
Public Record Office
REF: FCO 37/466
BRITISH HIGH COMMISSION,
Lynton Jones, Esq.,
South Asia Department,
Agartala Conspiracy Trial
The hearing of Mr. Williams' writ petition challenging the validity of the Trial is to be heard on 10 December by a Special Bench of the Dacca High Court.
2. Meanwhile, the Trial itself is continuing. The
daily proceedings are still reported in the newspapers and though they continue
to occupy front-page positions in the Pakistan Observer the
3. I believe that you were sent a copy of Flack's letter to Stratton No. 1 /2 of 13 August giving a round up of views expressed by Williams in conversations with the High Commission. I cannot however be certain of this from an inspection of the file, so attach a copy for your records.
4. From conversations I have had with Pakistanis the opinion seems fairly widespread that the Government made a serious tactical error in adopting this ponderous procedure which has given the Awami League so much publicity. They made a second mistake in appointing a West Pakistani (Manzur Qadir) as prosecuting counsel. These criticisms apart (and they are important) even a man like M.A. Qasuri was prepared to say that the judges were men of integrity and that he would accept
any verdict handed down by them since he was confident that their judgements would be in accordance with the evidence submitted in court.
5. The Government for its part is said to be disillusioned about the course of the Trial so far. Some prosecution witnesses have recanted and statements have been made by approvers alleging the use of force to induce them to produce false evidence; newspaper accounts of the proceedings with the attendant repetition of the Opposition platform, are crystalising the dissatisfaction that many Bengalis feel with their lot. It seems probable therefore that, assuming the Special Bench decision favours the Government, the latter will drag out the Trial for a long time (perhaps two or three years) interspersed with calculated adjournments in the hope that public interest will be stifled through sheer boredom.
Source: The British
Papers – Secret and Confidential India.Pakistan.Bangladesh