Sunday, May 20, 2007

Death of youth in Rab action sparks protests

Death of youth in Rab action sparks protests
Rab says he was killed during clashes with kidnappers

Plainclothes Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) personnel allegedly beat a youth dead and injured his family members and neighbours triggering protests at Chhoto Bongram Purbopara in Rajshahi city suburbs yesterday.

Police sources said the dead was identified as Quamrul Islam Majnu, 25, and there were no criminal records against him.

Protesting Rab's actions, angry locals brought out processions several times during the day and a large procession in the evening. They chanted slogans against Rab and the caretaker government.

They demanded actions taken against those responsible. A large number of police were deployed in the area to prevent any untoward incidents.

Majnu's body was not handed over to his family members as of filing of this story, as doctors of Rajshahi Medical College Hospital (RMCH) declined to perform autopsy on his body after police mentioned in the inquest report that he had no torture marks.

Journalists were also not allowed to take photos of Majnu's body as the RMCH authorities deployed additional police forces who prevented newsmen from entering the hospital.

Doctors requesting anonymity said Majnu's body was carrying innumerable marks of torture and his entire body was smeared with blood.

Hospital sources said Rab personnel of Railway Colony camp took Majnu's body to RMCH where doctors on duty declared him dead on arrival at 1:15am, said hospital sources.

Eyewitnesses claimed that Rab personnel mercilessly beat Majnu up with bamboo sticks while he was guarding his lichee orchard at Chhoto Bongram Purbopara around midnight yesterday. The elite force later dragged him 60-70 yards through cultivated lands and threw him into their vehicle.

As his mother Taslima Begum, brother, teacher Piarul Islam and neighbours Alea and Jahangir tried to save him from the onslaught, they were also assaulted.

"They hit me on the shoulder, hit my legs and later kicked me in the chest, I only wanted my son back," said 50-years-old Taslima wailing at her house.

Deputy Commissioner of Rajshahi Metropolitan Police said, "The incident was inhumane and the victim had no criminal records with any Rajshahi city police stations. I talked to locals and they said he was a good person."

Police sources said pools of blood were seen at the spot. They cordoned the place off in the morning and collected bloodstained soil, sandals and parts of bamboo-sticks that broke during the alleged beating.

However, Rab in a press release last evening claimed that they reached the lichee orchard tracking down a group of kidnappers.

They claimed Majnu was fatally injured during clashes between Rab and the kidnappers and the group of villagers who took sides of the kidnappers.

Rab claimed they rescued kidnapped Basirul Islam of Chapainawabganj from the lichee orchard and arrested Tofizul from the scene. They also held Rojib near a mosque and Shahidul Islam, a hotel owner, at his house in connection with the kidnapping.

Two cases were filed with Boalia Police Station in this regard.

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