Monday, May 21, 2007

Death of Youth in Rab Action: Torture marks found on victim's body, protests go on

http://www.thedailystar.net/2007/05/21/d7052101107.htm

Death of Youth in Rab Action
Torture marks found on victim's body, protests go on

Thousands of locals brought out a procession at the Rajshahi city suburb of Chhotobongram Purbopara yesterday as the body of Quamrul Islam Majnu, who was allegedly tortured to death by Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) personnel, was handed over to his family 36 hours after his death.

Meanwhile, the Court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate yesterday sent three people who were arrested in connection with the Majnu murder case filed on Saturday night with Boalia Police Station to jail custody.

Investigation officer (IO) of the case Sub-inspector Manjurul Haque Akkhand arrested Zahrul Islam, Baser Ali and Ali Hossain of Chapainawabganj and produced them before the court.

A magistrate-led probe body prepared Manju's inquest report noting that his body had innumerable marks of torture.

The body of Majnu was taken to his home around 2:15pm yesterday after an autopsy by a three-member medical board. His loved ones burst into tears and locals, who gathered at his home since morning, became angry when the body reached there.

Minutes later a huge procession paraded the 2km under-construction bypass with his body chanting slogans against Rab and the caretaker government. They demanded immediate actions against those responsible for Majnu's death.

As people were demonstrating, police on loudspeakers were repeatedly requesting them to maintain peace and order and not to defy the state of emergency rules. But the procession continued.

In the afternoon, Majnu's namaz-e-janaza was held at Purbopara Mosque and his body was laid to rest at his family graveyard.

Twenty-five-year-old Majnu was allegedly beaten to death as he was guarding his lichee orchard Friday night.

"Handing over of Majnu's body was delayed due to an executive probe led by a magistrate to prepare the inquest report. It was important for a murder case," said Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Rajshahi Metropolitan Police (RMP) Mahbubur Rahman.

During the probe around 10:00am yesterday, first class magistrate Jonendranath Sarkar in presence of the victim's family members noted innumerable marks of torture on the body, sources said.

Mahbubur Rahman said, "There is nothing new in the case against Rab as there are ample examples of senior members of law enforcement agencies facing legal actions."

While talking to The Daily Star last evening, Rajshahi Rab Commanding Officer Colonel Shamsuzzaman Khan said a probe body is interrogating four Rab personnel of Rajshahi Railway Colony Camp at Rab-5 headquarters in Rajshahi in connection with the death of Majnu.

The committee was formed following government directives to investigate the alleged killing of Quamrul Islam Majnu in Rab torture on Friday night.

The committee chief and Rab Intelligence Director Lt Col Asif Ansari and Rab Intelligence Deputy Director Major Abdul Hamid reached Rajshahi from Dhaka yesterday afternoon.

The probe team also includes a Rajshahi metropolitan magistrate and Rajshahi Rab second-in-command Major Kabir.

"We are interrogating them as they were primarily identified to be involved in the operation, they were not closed or suspended," Shamsuzzaman said.

He, however, declined to name the four saying the matter is still under investigation.

Police, however, recorded a murder case against Rab personnel and others involved on Saturday night and started its own investigation.

Piarul Islam Manjur, victim's brother, lodged the case alleging that Zahrul Islam, Baser Ali and Ali Hossain of Chapainawabganj had Majnu killed by the Rab personnel.

Piarul, also a college teacher, told newsmen that a Rab official requested him to settle the matter through compromise at Boalia Police Station compound Saturday night as he went there to file the case.

"We were looking for kidnapper Kuddus Ali Mondol, your brother died accidentally. We are sorry, please make a compromise," Piarul quoted the Rab official as saying.

As Piarul refused to settle the matter and told him that he wanted justice as per the law of the land, the Rab official became angry and threatened him with dire consequences.

"I read in newspapers about the killings by Bangla Bhai's [Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh kingpin Siddiqul Islam who was recently executed] people in Bagmara in 2004 ... now I am trying to contemplate whether there are any difference between the actions of Bangla Bhai and Rab," Piarul commented before journalists in front of RMCH morgue yesterday.

Boalia police also recorded a kidnapping case filed by Zahurul Islam Saturday night.

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